Testimony in Harlem teen's murder trial will continue Wednesday

Officers detail scene of teenage girl's death

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 8:53 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012 12:28 AM
  • Follow Crime & courts

Alana Calahan was posting pictures to her Facebook page when she was shot in the back of the head, investigators testified in the second day of her Lacy Aaron Schmidt’s murder trial.

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Lacy Aaron Schmidt, 15, confers with defense attorney Penelope Donkar at his trial Tuesday.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
Lacy Aaron Schmidt, 15, confers with defense attorney Penelope Donkar at his trial Tuesday.

The facts of the 14-year-old’s death and the ensuing investigation were the bulk of Tuesday’s testimony. Schmidt, 15, is charged with murder, theft by taking and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in the Jan. 31, 2011, shooting.

Columbia County Sheriff’s Office crime scene investigator Ken Summers testified that Alana was uploading photos when she was shot from behind, and he described for jurors the path of the bullet as it passed through her skull, struck her jawbone and landed on the desk by the computer mouse.

The bullet was recovered from the crime scene, and a shell casing was found in the dining room of the home, Summers said. A Georgia Bureau of Investigation firearms analyst testified that the bullet fragments and shell matched the gun found in the woods behind the Calahan home 12 hours later, partly buried under leaves.

Members of the jury saw a video and photos of the crime scene, which included images of Alana’s bloody body sprawled along the muddy path behind her home. The Harlem Middle School eighth-grader had been dragged out the back door of her house, across the porch and backyard to a trail in the woods.

Schmidt told a dispatcher at the time that he saw a man dressed in black leaving and chased him. After changing his story numerous times, he told police he was fumbling with the gun when he accidentally shot Alana. Schmidt has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“It looked like someone actually tried to cover up the gun,” sheriff’s Deputy Scott Zimmerman said Tuesday. Zimmerman and his canine partner, Boz, found the firearm.

James Edmunds, the first sheriff’s investigator on the scene, said he found Schmidt crying on the front steps of the Calahan home and saw strange behavior. While interviewing Schmidt, Edmunds said the teen was calm and sometimes sobbed tearlessly.

While searching Schmidt’s home, they found the gun case and ammunition under his bathroom sink, the gun manual in his dresser and several MP3 players and a digital camera belonging to the Calahans in his room.

Schmidt’s cousin, Thomas Pittman, 15, told authorities days after the shooting that he worried when he heard about Alana’s death, fearing that Schmidt was involved.

“He’s mischievous,” he said. “He likes to plunder, and I know the Calahans have guns.”

Schmidt’s cousin also told investigators that Schmidt loved the Calahans and wouldn’t have hurt them.

Dianne Chitty, Schmidt’s sister and legal guardian, said he had a troubled childhood and had been living with her since he was 5. She said Schmidt was sexually abused as a young child.

The trial is expected to resume at 9 a.m. today. Prosecutors and defense attorneys expect testimony and closing arguments to continue into Thursday.

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David Parker
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David Parker 02/08/12 - 12:42 pm
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What is the procecution

What is the procecution saying about a motive? I can't find anything related to one in the write-ups or tweets from courtroom reporters?

thanks

whyme
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whyme 02/08/12 - 01:51 pm
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Yes, it appears information

Yes, it appears information is very limited. Not that there is any excuse for killing someone but Pops' very "meaningful" input is so typical of the people posting on these boards, it's not even funny. Guess intellectual discussions are reserved for other venues.

whyme
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whyme 02/08/12 - 01:53 pm
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I hope people won't be

I hope people won't be discouraged from opening their homes and hearts to troubled youth because of this case.

David Parker
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David Parker 02/08/12 - 02:06 pm
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I agree that crime should be

I agree that crime should be punished. I was asking about a motive though. It is one of 2-3 imperatives that are required in a murder conviction.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/08/12 - 03:10 pm
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Motive is very helpful to a

Motive is very helpful to a prosecutor's case, but I have been told it is not absolutely required for a jury to convict. If you have slam-dunk evidence you do not need a describable motive.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 02/08/12 - 03:19 pm
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very true LL. This case is

very true LL. This case is pretty slam dunk on who the shooter was. But I've read nothing so far that explains the "why". I do see where the kid said it was an accident. The fact that his story changed so many times is bad but a child of 14 can't be expected to retain any composure or good-judgement under those circumstances. I can't side with murder until I have a motive on this case, but I can side with accidental homicide if one is not presented by the prosecution, so again, what are they saying the motive is?

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 02/08/12 - 04:04 pm
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David, I would say he felt

David, I would say he felt rejected or betrayed by her or someone close to her. All very sad.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 02/08/12 - 05:20 pm
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That is a potential motive.

That is a potential motive. But if the Prosecutor waits until the closing arguements, which appears they will have to, then it's not evidence.

Then think about the Casey Anthony trial, how the defense primarily just used the opening and closing arguements as a means to present her defense without using hard evidence to support their claim. It works for the defense in this respect, but I'm not so sure it will in the other direction here in this trial.

I have deep sympathy for the families as the grief they are going through is impossible for me to even fathom.

Asitisinaug
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Asitisinaug 02/08/12 - 07:14 pm
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He is a cold blooded killer

He is a cold blooded killer and needs to receive the death penatly. We don't need to waste tax dollars any more on violent offenders, murderers, rapists, armed robbers, etc. - they should lose their right to ever be a part of a law abiding society.

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