Ex Parte Mills
Alabama Supreme Court
62 So. 3d 574 (2010)
Jamie Mills (defendant) was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of James Floyd Hill and Vera Hill. Officer Bryan McCraw opened a duffel bag that was inside Mill’s car trunk and found Floyd’s wallet, Hill’s purse, bloodstained clothing, a bloody machete, a bloody ball-peen hammer, and a tire iron. McCraw inventoried the bag’s contents, placed the evidence in brown paper bags labelled with descriptions, and transported the bagged evidence to the Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) lab. At the DFS office, McCraw gave the paper bags to an unidentified DFS employee who logged the evidence and handed McCraw an evidence receipt. At trial nearly two years later, McCraw identified items that he took from the duffel bag and gave to DFS. Robert Bass, a DNA analyst at DFS, testified that blood on the clothing and weapons matched James’s and Vera’s DNA profiles. Mills appealed from his conviction, arguing in relevant part that the trial court had erred by admitting the duffel bag’s contents as evidence. Mills contended that there were missing links in the chain of custody for the duffel-bag evidence because there was no evidence about its receipt, handling, or disposition for the almost two years that it was stored at DFS.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)
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