DECATUR — An attorney defending a Decatur father accused of shaking his own baby to death is hoping to hire an independent forensic expert to review critical medical evidence.
Karen Root, who is representing Duan L. Lewis, 24, told Macon County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Griffith that she had found an expert willing to review the case. Her problem now, she said in a pretrial hearing Tuesday, is coming up with the money to pay the expert’s fees.
Questioned by Griffith, Root said she had applied for a grant that would cover the costs, if it comes through.
“Well, the grant has been submitted and we’re waiting to find out whether it’s approved,” she added. “But she (the independent expert) has agreed to look at it (the evidence) regardless; she may not go any further until she gets paid, but she’s looking at it pro bono at this point.”
Lewis is charged with causing the injuries that led to the death of 5-month-old Daniya Lewis who died March 28 after suffering severe head trauma. Lewis, who has pleaded not guilty, is being held in the Macon County Jail.
Griffith wondered out loud how far he should put the trial date back while the defense waits to see if its expert will get paid.
Assistant Macon County State’s Attorney Lindsey Shelton preferred putting the date back far enough to ensure the issue is settled one way or the other. She said she did not want to risk setting a trial date she would have to later cancel because the prosecution also has a big list of medical witnesses who are pressed for time.
“We do expect a lot of doctors will have to be subpoenaed in this case, so we don’t want to schedule it before we’re ready,” Shelton said.
Griffith agreed to schedule a pretrial hearing for Jan. 23 when the court will assess where the case stands.