Two years after death, James Anderson murder trial begins

Attorneys for the defense and prosecution began the James Anderson murder trial with a laundry list of motions where cellphones were of particular interest.

On behalf of 21-year-old Dujuan Garris, defense attorney Jeffrey Stein made an argument in favor of suppressing his client’s phone number.

According to Stein, Garris’ phone number was obtained during a line of questioning that was intended to incriminate Garris. Detective Paris White was put on the stand and said that through routine booking procedures he asked for Garris’ cell phone number, make, model and passcode – which Garris refused to disclose.

Stein said this line of questioning was a ruse in order to use Garris’ cellphone to connect him to the location of the January 2015 fatal shooting of Anderson, 27.

Judge Milton Lee denied the motion to suppress and said the inquiry about Garris’ number was routine and strictly procedural.

Among other motions, defense attorney Heather Pinckney was introduced to the court speaking on behalf of her client who was unable to attend court.

According to the prosecution, they plan to call Pinkney’s client to the stand as his phone placed him at the scene of the murder.

Pinckney argued for immunity in exchange for her client’s testimony. However, the prosecution recalled a previous grand jury trial in which her client waived his fifth amendment rights. Pinckney rebutted on the grounds that her client, who is a minor, was unaware of the weight of his actions.

Ultimately, Judge Lee ruled in favor of Pinckney and immunity was secured for her client.

Another detective, Damien Johnson, who worked the Anderson case was brought to the stand to testify about a missing DVD, which is said to contain the interview of a witness who was allegedly in the apartment directly above the shooting.

According to Johnson, he was unsure whether or not the interview was recorded and burned on a DVD. The defense attempted to ask a line of questions that would bring to light where the DVD is.

In the end, it was still unclear if the DVD exists. By the end of the questioning Judge Lee said, “I can’t say there’s bad faith here.”

The case is set to continue Tuesday morning.

Garris is being held without bond as he faces first-degree murder charges.

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