August 1, 2017
MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Heather Keaton, the woman sentenced to death for murdering the two children of her common law husband, may go back to trial.
Simply put, certain pieces of evidence and documents are missing from the case file. And without those, the defense cannot file an appeal of the death sentence.
Those documents include questionnaires filled out by the jurors that have their personal information listed including their names, addresses, and phone numbers.
Today in court, we were told by testimony of the clerk of court that the questionnaires were placed in a box to be mailed to the court of criminal appeals in Montgomery. However, the label came off the box and the box has gone missing with all that sensitive information.
Also missing are pieces of evidence from both defense and prosecution, as well as documentation of ex parte motions that are kept under seal and not meant for the public.
We heard the judge say today this capital murder case has not been handled like any other capital case in the past.
Normally, documents are scanned into the case file and then discarded. In this case, there may have been documents that were discarded before they were scanned. The clerk has been tasked to take a week to index all documents from the trial and give the information to the defense and the prosecution.
If there are still items missing, the defense could ask for a reversal and go back to trial.
We will keep you updated on this story.