Fight to keep confiscated, bloody evidence out of Allen manslaughter trial
Geneseo, N.Y. (WHAM) - Fifty five items - some of them covered in blood - have been confiscated in a Livingston County manslaughter case. A hearing underway Tuesday will determine whether they are allowed to be admitted at trial.
13WHAM News obtained search warrants at the center of the case against Danielle Allen. She is accused of fatally stabbing her boyfriend Marcus Postell last November. Her attorneys want those confiscated items excluded from trial and they also want the full details shielded from public view.
13WHAM News fought to obtain the warrant documents. Yet there are many others included in motion papers that attorneys don't want made public before trial.
Postell was stabbed to death with a kitchen knife. That knife was one of many items confiscated and bagged on November 21 - the day of the alleged crime. Defense attorneys said the items should not be allowed at trial because the warrant signed by the judge was too broad. It allowed for the collection of random items such as a cat toy, dish towel, and kitchen trash.
Attorney Joel Daniels argued it gave police "carte blanche" to go inside and take anything they wanted, which is against the rules. Instead, Daniels argued, the judge who signed the order should have allowed only for specific items.
Yet prosecutors say the 750-square-foot apartment was covered in blood: the living room, kitchen, hallway, and bathroom. Livingston County D.A. Greg McCaffrey argued 90 percent of the items collected were blood-stained and obvious evidence.
Allen allegedly told police the two of them were watching a scary movie and downing shots of Jack Daniels when an argument ensued. In previous court appearances, Allen's attorneys say she testified before the grand jury - apparently admitting her guilt - but called it self defense.
In court Tuesday, 13WHAM News Executive Producer Sean Carroll argued the motion papers with details of that testimony are public documents, much akin to the warrant documents that have already been released.
Yet defense attorneys say releasing them before the trial could make it difficult to get an impartial jury.
13 WHAM News is fighting for these documents to keep the proceedings transparent. Allen is the daughter of Major Rick Allen of the New York State Police. He is not involved in the investigation but at the first court appearance reporters were barred from the courtroom. The presiding judge later resigned.
Judge Robert Wiggins now has the case. He has consistently opened the court to television cameras. He will rule on the document requests at a later date.