LIMA — The attorney for a Lima man facing involuntary manslaughter charges argued in court Friday that a photo lineup used by Lima police to identify his client was rigged.
Zach Maisch said that in the photo spread that featured six African-American males, only one — his client, Brandon Thompson — could be described as “dark-skinned.” The five remaining persons whose pictures were presented to a witness, Maisch claimed, all had similar body types, hair styles and facial hair. Both the other males, the attorney maintained in a written motion to the court, “all had a medium to light skin tone complexion.”
Thompson was identified by the witness based on the photo lineup, which Maisch said was suggestive in nature and was biased against his client. He asked Judge Jeffrey Reed to suppress the identification for purposes of trial.
The 30-year-old Thompson was indicted in January by an Allen County grand jury on a charge of involuntary manslaughter charge, a first-degree felony, for allegedly causing the death of Cordero Baines on or about Christmas Eve 2016 during a drug transaction in the 1700 block of Rice Avenue in Lima.
The grand jury also indicted Thompson on a fifth-degree felony charge of trafficking in cocaine. It is alleged that Thompson sold or offered to sell “a controlled substance or controlled substance analog and the drug involved in the violation is cocaine … in an amount less than five grams.”
Lima Police Department detectives Todd Jennings and Jesse Harrod were called to testify at Friday’s hearing, and it was noted that the witness who identified Thompson was asked to view the photo lineup a second time after failing to pick any of the six men as the alleged perpetrator on her first viewing. Even after a second look at the lineup photos, prosecutors said the witness had only a 40% degree of certainty that it was Thompson whom she had seen at the Rice Avenue location.
Jennings testified that the Ohio Revised Code outlines procedures for photo lineups and that those rules were followed in Thompson’s case. The detective said a computer is used to generate photos used in lineups “based on several different factors.”
Upon questioning by Maisch, Jennings said skin tone is not one of those factors.
Reed took the defense motion to suppress the witness’ identification of Thompson under advisement.