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Attorneys ask for more time in death penalty case

Defense attorney's have filed two more motions on behalf of Dannie Lee Samuels, accused in the March 2004 strangulation death of Barbara Hefner in McDuffie County.

One of the latest motions deals with asking the court for a continuation of any argument or hearing regarding Mr. Samuel's challenge to Georgia's lethal injection procedures, according to records filed in the McDuffie County Superior Court Clerk's Office.

That particular motion along with another one were filed a little more than a week ago, by defense attorneys Michael C. Garrett, of Augusta and William McGuire, of Atlanta.

The motions came on the heels of a hearing involving other motions that have been filed in the case. The hearing was held before Toombs Judicial Circuit Chief Superior Court Judge Roger W. Dunaway Jr.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Woody Davis represented the prosecution during that hearing. Mr. Davis, as well as District Attorney Dennis C. Sanders are expected to prosecute Mr. Samuels. Already, the defendant has been served notice that the state plans to seek the death penalty against him, if a jury convicts him of malice murder, felony murder and numerous other criminal charges, including rape.

Mr. McGuire of the Georgia Capital Defender's Office has requested that officials with the Georgia Department of Corrections send him a copy of the state's new protocols, which reportedly were amended prior to the execution of condemned killer John Washington Hightower on June 26. Mr. Hightower was convicted of murdering his wife and his two step-daughters.

"In developing a challenge to the lethal injection procedures that are currently in place, counsel will need to consult with experts to review the protocols and who may be called to testify," defense attorneys contend in their motion. "In order for counsel to effectively defend Daniel Samuels in this case, counsel will need to conduct a thorough investigation and examination of the new protocols."

Defense attorneys maintain that Mr. Samuels, a Thomson resident, be granted an evidentiary hearing on this motion and that the court grant other such relief to the defendant with regards to this motion.

In the other motion, filed on behalf of Mr. Samuels, defense attorneys are requesting the court prohibit the state from calling defense experts as witnesses at his trial. Also, defense attorneys seek to prohibit the state from arguing to the jury that the failure of the defense to call any retained expert at trial "implies that the expert had nothing positive to state for the defense or that the expert must agree with the state's position."



Web posted on Thursday, July 19, 2007













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