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Judge Finds Defendant Photos Not Enough For New Trial
SNOW HILL -- Before an Ocean City man was sentenced last week on manslaughter and assault charges for the death of a West Ocean City bar owner, it was revealed pictures of the injured defendant were taken in the hours after the tragic incident and only came to light after his trial in July.
In July, Cyle Walker, 27, of Ocean City, was found guilty by Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Richard Bloxom of manslaughter and second-degree assault in the death of 707 Sports Bar and Grill owner Carey Flynn last October. Walker and Flynn got into a verbal argument outside the West Ocean City establishment that escalated into a physical altercation.
After Walker threw a punch at Flynn with a bar employee in between the two, the three men fell to the ground with Flynn on top of Walker. Walker got to his feet, stood over Flynn and continued to taunt the elderly man who was struggling to breathe. Flynn later died at AGH and testimony at Walker’s trial in July revealed an internal tear of an existing injury in Flynn’s abdomen caused the massive bleeding that ultimately caused his heart to fail.
Throughout the trial in July, witness testimony and physical evidence clearly painted Walker as the initial aggressor in the fight that caused Flynn’s death. Walker was back in Worcester County Circuit Court last week for sentencing. Before the judge proceeded with the sentencing hearing, however, he entertained a motion for a new trial based on the post-trial discovery of nine photographs of Walker taken by law enforcement the morning following the incident.
Defense attorney David Moore told the court Walker had been photographed at the time of his post-incident interrogation at the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) offices. The interview and the photos were taken just hours after the incident and hours after Walker had taken his last drink while the suspect was “still very foggy,” according to Moore.
The pictures, which revealed scratches to Walker’s face and chest area, were later saved on a WCBI computer, and their existence only came to light after Walker mentioned their possibility to Moore just three days after the trial. In his motion for a new trial last Friday, Moore told the court the pictures of Walker and his scratches suggest a mutual dispute between Flynn and Walker and attempted to discount the notion Walker was the primary and only aggressor.
“The pictures describe a mutual affray,” he said. “The witness described Cyle Walker as the only aggressor on a defenseless victim and never mentioned Mr. Walker could have been attacked. If a mutual affray is shown by the pictures, it was never testified to in court. Can a homicide come out of a mutual affray? I don’t think so.”
Moore said the pictures of Walker could have influenced the grand jury’s decision to indict Walker on manslaughter charges. He did not suggest the prosecution knew of their existence before the trial, but did suggest the outcome might have been different if they had come to light.
“These photos are critical in this case in my opinion,” he said. “Any grand juror would have been interested in seeing these pictures.”
Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby took exception to the notion the pictures were somehow kept from the grand jury and denied knowing of their existence until Moore brought them up after the trial. Oglesby further suggested Walker certainly must have known they were taken and should have brought them to his attorney’s attention prior to the trial.
“This is not newly discovered evidence,” he said. “Mr. Walker knew the pictures were taken. Having nine pictures taken is something you wouldn’t forget. That’s on Mr. Walker. If the intent is to impeach the testimony, the court clearly found Mr. Walker was the initial aggressor. The pictures don’t change the basic issue of who threw the first punch.”However, Moore continued to push the issue.
“In the interest of justice, this requires a new trial,” he said. “The evidence we’re talking about was within the control of the state. These are not mug shots, these are photos taken to record Cyle Walker’s injuries.”However, Bloxom was not persuaded.
“The ‘oh, by the way,’ defense doesn’t hold up,” he said. “These pictures were not provided to the state as they should have been. However, the defendant knew or should have known they were taken. The girlfriend and the father would have known he had those scratches. It wasn’t newly discovered evidence. It was evidence known to the defendant that could have been presented.”
Bloxom said had the pictures been presented as evidence, it wouldn’t have changed his opinion based on the facts of the case.
“The only evidence the court heard was the defendant standing up and berating the decedent,” he said. “Without a doubt, given the evidence the court heard, these photos would have no effect on the outcome in this trial.”