Today proved to be a very long day in the pre-trial hearing for Judge Wade Naramore in the hot car death of his son, Thomas. Naramore is charged with negligent homicide after the death was ruled the result of heat exposure in July last year.
Four people took the stand today, three from the Hot Springs Police Department and one from the State Crime Lab. The hearing, which was requested by the defense team, was to discuss evidence that was allegedly lost.
A detective reportedly went to the court house where he obtained the video showing Naramore showing up for work, going into court and returning to his car about 3 hours later without noticing that his son was in the back seat. The detective reportedly put the video on a USB drive which also contained 1000’s of other things from different crimes that he was investigating. When the detectives went back to retrieve it months later, in May, the video was no longer there. Both the City of Hot Springs IT Department and the State Crime Lab attempted to retrieve the video but were only able to obtain about a minute of what they think is footage from the same day, although they are not sure that the footage is indeed from that day.
Defense attorneys argued that the video should not be allowed into evidence. Defense says that they requested the footage in March and then again, officially, in May, but have not received the video. Defense Attorney, Erin Cassinelli, stated that “they can’t have the benefit of testifying to a video that they sort of watched…this just benefits the state.”
Speculation surrounds that the detective allegedly destroyed the evidence, possibly on purpose.
The Prosecution says that “today was all smoke and mirrors” and that they anticipate that “they won’t mention the video but they will see what the judge rules and how they move forward.” The Prosecution says that the video is “simply a time line”.
The judge ruled today that he will make a ruling on the video evidence when this goes to trial August 15th. A jury has not yet been selected.