Judge rules on list of evidence to be shown to Roger Burdette jury
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - One day before his jury trial is set to begin, the man accused of murder in the death of a Louisville Metro police detective nearly three years ago was back in court.
During a pre-trial hearing in the case of Roger Burdette, 63, both sides discussed the various accusations against him which could be used during the trial.
In court, the defense made multiple arguments over a handful of alleged evidence the prosecution plans to present to the jury. Most of the arguments had to deal with the types of evidence the jury would physically see from the day of the December 24, 2018 crash.
Burdette’s attorneys argued against:
- Showing footage of his field sobriety test because the full video isn’t available
- Using his text messages, which the prosecution says allegedly show communication about drug purchases
- Internet searches made by Burdette and what he was viewing
- The bringing the vehicles involved in the crash to the courthouse
One of the prosecution’s main burdens of proof involves the text messages. The defense argued they have nothing to do with the time of the crash because the messages are from two years and two weeks before the crash. Burdette’s attorneys also say too much hearsay was involved with the person on the receiving end of the messages.
“Evidence of prior drug use or purchases as evidence someone is under the influence is inadmissible in court,” said Amy Hannah, one of Burdette’s attorneys.
“I do think that fact that he did not have a prescription and he obtained the drugs through elicit means is direct evidence of his knowledge of the risk of operating a tanker truck,” prosecutor Kristi Gray said. “While he’s taking two drugs for which he is not prescribed in combination with one he is prescribed. Certainly, is direct evidence of his conscious decision to disregard a known risk.”
Jefferson Circuit Court Judge McKay Chauvin decided to allow as evidence the field sobriety test and the text messages with more review. Chauvin also said he will allow the prosecution to mention that Burdette was searching for porn because it shows it was a video that requires attention, but will not allow the exact name of the video to be used.
The prosecution may also bring in the actual vehicles and truck involved in the crash for jurors to see. This would be with strict stipulations including security for jurors, blocked off streets and if the viewing causes any distraction the judge says the case will have to start over.
The prosecution asked that a video Det. Deidre Mengedoht sent to her son while she may have been driving not be shown. They said it may be used to show “wrong” behavior.
Chauvin said he’ll decide on that when it comes up during the trial.
Mengedoht’s police car was struck by a MSD tanker truck being driven by Burdette while she was making at traffic stop on Interstate 64 East under the Belvedere. Mengedoht died after being trapped inside the vehicle which caught fire following the crash.
In addition to murder of a police officer, Burdette is also charged with four counts of wanton endangerment, operating a vehicle under the influence and failure to give the right of way to an emergency vehicle.
Jury selection for Burdette’s trial is expected to start tomorrow morning.
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