It is harder to recant court testimony than convicted felon Brian Prichard of Springfield Township had hoped. Prichard, found guilty in connection with the 1994 shooting death of Larry Kincer, has been denied his request for a new trial by Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Dinkelacker.
Prichard's lawyer, Brenda Popplewell, had argued for a new trial based on what she called prosecutorial misconduct and newly found evidence in the form of sworn statements from three witnesses, Jeremy Woebkenberg, Brian Watts and Matthew May — the man who shot Kincer.
Prichard, who was 21 at the time of the murder, was found guilty of complicity to murder, aggravated burglary and felonious assault and is serving a 20-year-to-life sentence in the Lebanon Correctional Institution.
In his written decision, Dinkelacker said there was no evidence to support the accusation of prosecutorial misconduct.
Dinkelacker also said in his statement that the witnesses' affidavits did not meet the legal criteria for granting a new trial because no new evidence was revealed and that there was not a strong probability that a new trial would have a different outcome.
The three witnesses had submitted sworn statements to Popplewell stating that Prichard was not the instigator the night of the murder as they had testified at his trial.
In his written decision, Dinkelacker noted that none of the three witnesses came forward to give new statements on their own, but instead did so only after being contacted by Popplewell.
Dinkelacker said both Woebkenberg's and Watts' statements were full of "legal mish mash" intended to protect them from prosecution for perjury, and that May's affidavit contradicted his trial testimony "without question."
May, who shot and killed Kincer, had said in his affidavit that he wanted to tell the truth because he had become a Muslim in prison and could not fully embrace his faith without admitting that he lied at Prichard's trial.
He said in his affidavit that he had lied to get revenge for Prichard's statement against him to police.
But Dinkelacker questioned May's credibility.
"The religious conversion basis for Mr. May's 'new' testimony is certainly suspect," the judge said in his written statement. A reasonable person would conclude that if the said religious conversion was so moving as to compel truthfulness by Mr. May, Mr. May would have been the movant and would have contacted someone immediately. He did nothing."
"There is no question in this court's view that Mr. May's character, integrity and veracity are of minimal to no value," Dinkelacker's statement read. ©