Beach judge refuses lie-detector evidence in Decker murder case
A Virginia Beach judge said the state’s rules for evidence are clear: No lie-detector evidence in court. But he said, this might be the case that challenges that.
Judge Stephen Mahan turned down a request from lawyers for murder defendant Raymond Lewis Perry to use the polygraph evidence at trial. They say Perry took and passed a lie-detector test over the summer, clearing him of robbing and murdering off-duty Norfolk officer Victor Decker. They asked the judge to either overlook the state’s ban, or to order a hearing on the accuracy of polygraph sciences. The judge did neither, turning aside the motion.
He said it is possible that a case will one-day overturn the state’s refusal to consider lie detectors in trials, but he said his court wasn’t the right one to take up that issue. That, he said, would most likely be taken up in an appeals court where Perry’s lawyers said they would go next. They pointed out that the reliability of fingerprints and DNA were once questioned, too, and now those kinds of forensic evidence are considered ironclad.
Perry is facing the death penalty, charged with robbing and murdering Decker in Oct. 2010. The case was unsolved for nearly two years when police charged Perry based on testimony from as many as five jailhouse informants. Perry has said he had no role in the killing and that the felons are making up stories to please prosecutors to get time trimmed from their sentences. Court testimony shows there are no eyewitnesses to the murder, and no DNA, fingerprints or gun evidence that ties Perry to the murder scene.
The case was scheduled for opening statements in Febrary, but the judge said there are so many issues still to be decided that he would have to postpone the trial. Attorneys for both sides have a week to tell the judge what the new date should be.