Defense speaks out after Huntsville capital murder charges dropped

The official order of dismissal, dropping a capital murder charge against Demorris Lauderdale, was handed down Monday morning.

Posted: Apr 29, 2019 6:49 PM
Updated: Apr 29, 2019 7:47 PM

WAAY 31 heard from Demorris Lauderdale's attorney, Greg Varner, after his client spent a month behind bars for a murder he was wrongly accused of. 

The official order of dismissal, dropping a capital murder charge against Lauderdale, was handed down Monday morning. Lauderdale was arrested in early April in connection to a deadly shooting at the Brixworth at Bridge Street apartments in Huntsville. The order of dismissal states the court did not find probable cause in the case of Lauderdale.

Demorris Lauderdale

Lauderdale was in jail for 20 days before his attorney submitted evidence, surveillance photos and a gas station receipt showing he was hundreds of miles away in Georgia, just before the shooting. 

Varner says if that evidence wasn't present, this case could be completely different.

"If the shooting happened maybe at midnight, where somebody could feasibly travel from Georgia back to Huntsville, we wouldn't be looking at a dismissal," Varner said. "Demorris would be looking at a potential death penalty in this situation."

Varner cited a proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences research article that states eyewitness mis-identification plays a role in more than 70% of overturned convictions through DNA testing. Court documents say a witness pointed Lauderdale out in photo line-ups. It was just one of other pieces of evidence Huntsville police say they had that led them to believe there was probable cause. 

Lauderdale can technically still be brought back into the case if police find more evidence that leads back to him. 

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