The Ledger (Lakeland, FL), METRO; Pg. B1
BYLINE: By SUZIE SCHOTTELKOTTE
Lake Wales, FL
Lake Wales police say they cannot find lineup pictures used to identify defendant Leon Davis.
BARTOW - Authorities may have lost the photos used in a lineup that led to murder defendant Leon Davis' arrest, and his lawyers now are asking a judge to exclude that eyewitness identification during Davis' upcoming murder trial.
In a motion filed Friday, defense lawyer Bob Norgard said prosecutors haven't produced the photo pack in which Brandon Greisman identified Davis as the assailant in a December 2007 attack that left two Lake Wales women dead.
Davis, 32, faces five counts of first-degree murder in the worst series of killings in Polk County history. He is charged in the death of the two women in Lake Wales, the death of the premature son born to one of those women and the slaying of two convenience store clerks in Lake Alfred a week earlier.
Absent the photo pack, Norgard argued, his client would be denied the right to due process and to confront witnesses against him.
Lake Wales police detectives conducted the photo lineup, and Chief Herb Gillis acknowledged Friday that the photo pack is missing.
"We are searching every corner of the evidence room and going through every report in this case to find that photo pack," he said. "We are, however, confident in Greisman's identification of Davis."
A two-day hearing on Norgard's motion is scheduled to begin June 7.
Greisman, who said he was shot in the nose when he confronted Davis in the street within minutes of the attack, has testified that he identified Davis from the photo pack while in the hospital undergoing treatment for his injuries. He said he hadn't known Davis before that, and hadn't yet seen photos of him in the media.
Davis, 32, is scheduled to stand trial in July on three counts of first-degree murder for the Lake Wales attack.
Authorities allege he intended to rob the Headley Nationwide Insurance office in Lake Wales, where he had his auto policy, and when clerks Juanita Luciano and Yvonne Bustamante said they had no money, Davis doused them in gasoline and set them on fire.
Luciano was six months pregnant, and doctors were forced to deliver her son that night. He died three days later, and the two women died within two weeks of the Dec. 13 attack.
The state is seeking the death penalty if Davis is convicted.
Davis faces two additional first-degree murder charges for an unrelated shooting at a BP convenience store a week earlier. That trial is scheduled for February.
Earlier this week, Norgard filed a motion seeking to suppress the statements Luciano and Bustamante made at the scene when they identified Davis, whom they knew, as their assailant. Norgard argued that the statements are hearsay evidence unless the women knew they were going to die at the time they made them.
A two-day hearing on those motions is scheduled to begin Thursday.
[ Suzie Schottelkotte can be reached at
or 863-533-9070. ]
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