EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSSNIPER CASE
from Eyewitness News Online
Key Pieces Of Evidence Disappeared Early In Sniper Investigation
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Aug. 15, 2012 7:52 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The sniper case may be closed but Eyewitness News is continuing to learn new information including a shocking discovery that evidence in the case disappeared, key pieces of evidence.
Two surveillance videos, both from gas stations, went missing. One was from the Speedway the night Jeanie Patton was murdered. Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants says the other shows Shawn Lester getting into a dark colored Ford Bronco the morning after the shootings. Plants says the clerk would have testified that when he questioned Lester about parking the Bronco there overnight, Lester said he was busy out shooting people.
The engine block -- which was filled with meth and police say was the motive for the murder after it was stolen -- also went missing from the evidence room.
"At some point, it was given back once it was deemed not relevant evidence, and in hindsight it was very relevant," Plants says.
Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants says the investigation initially went in another direction and the investigators may not have realized the significance of what they had.
Plants says he doesn't believe there was any criminal action or malicious intent
"In every case there's a chain of custody that has to be established," Plants says. "However, in this case you have 9 or 10 different law enforcement agencies, all of which are collecting evidence, all of which are keeping the chain of evidence and the logs which correspond with that evidence in different location and they're all doing it 9 years ago."
Plants says there is no investigation into the disappearance of the evidence. He says it happened early on, before he got involved, and he's not sure which agency is responsible.
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