[T]he problem in this case is that the State did not show that the size and shape of the victim's gun was similar to the size and shape of the .38 revolver shown to the jury. The State could show only that the victim's gun was "shiny looking" and had a light or pearl handle. This vague, cosmetic description of the victim's gun is insufficient to establish the size and shape of the gun. Without evidence of the size and shape of the victim's gun, there is no way to determine whether the .38 revolver used by the State fairly represented the victim's gun and the impossibility of the victim carrying and drawing the gun in the manner described by the witnesses.
Consequently, the State's closing argument demonstration was necessarily speculative and carried with it the distinct possibility of misleading the jury. The State would not have been able to admit the .38 revolver evidence as evidence at trial. Therefore, the State should not have been able to bypass normal evidentiary limitations by first showing the revolver to the jury in closing argument to rebut Brown's self-defense argument.As the justices conclude, the error was "not harmless."
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.