Man convicted of murder after paralyzed victim identified shooter by blinking

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Man Convicted Of Murder After Paralyzed Victim Identified Shooter By Blinking

On Wednesday a jury found Jermaine Hailes guilty of first-degree felony murder of Melvin Pate.

Hailes shot Pate four years ago in a gang related robbery and left him paralyzed from the chest down. But by blinking Pate was able to identify the man who shot him.

"He was able to make an identification of Mr. Hales by blinking during a photo lineup that police showed him while he was in the hospital," a spokesman for the Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office said.

Prosecutors fought with Hailes' attorneys over whether the footage of Pate's blinking to identify Hailes could be used as evidence.

"They told the victim to blink once hard if he recognized someone in the photos he was shown. So, it wasn't the involuntary blink that we all do. It was truly a closing of his eyes and opening them and you could see the tears coming from the side of his eyes as he identified the man who was his killer," prosecutor Christine Murphy said.

Pate, 29, died in 2012 of injuries from the shooting, making this the first time in Maryland history that a homicide victim's identification of their attacker has been admissible in court.

"I'm just glad it's over with. My son can rest in peace now," Felicia Pate the victim's mother told WRC. "My son had no chance at all. They can go see their son. I can't see mine. Mine is at home in a box."

Murder rates soar in major US cities:

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Man convicted of murder after paralyzed victim identified shooter by blinking
In this July 30, 2015 picture, a member of the Baltimore Police Department removes crime scene tape from a corner where a victim of a shooting was discovered in Baltimore. Murders are spiking again in Baltimore, three months after Freddie Gray's death in police custody sparked riots. This year's monthly bloodshed has twice reached levels unseen in a quarter-century. In May, Baltimore set a 25-year high of 42 recorded killings. After a brief dip in June, the homicide is soaring again. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
In this July 30, 2015 picture, balloons and candles mark a spot where a man was shot earlier in the week, in Baltimore. Murders are spiking again in Baltimore, three months after Freddie Gray's death in police custody sparked riots. This year's monthly bloodshed has twice reached levels unseen in a quarter-century. In May, Baltimore set a 25-year high of 42 recorded killings. After a brief dip in June, the homicide is soaring again. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Police patrol a downtown street Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, in St. Louis. With the city facing an increase in violent crime, including homicides, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson has asked the Missouri State Highway Patrol to assist policing downtown, a patrol official said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A Baltimore Police officer follows a man, who screamed "Let me in! I'm going in!" before crossing the yellow tape and walking into the crime scene on the 100 block of Upmanor Road, in Baltimore, where a young boy and a 31-year-old woman were shot and killed, Thursday, May 28, 2015. In the month since Freddie Gray died and the city erupted in civil unrest, Baltimore has seen its murder rate skyrocket. There have been 36 murders in May alone. (AP Photo/Juliet Linderman)
This July 30, 2015 picture shows a blighted home in west Baltimore. Murders are spiking again in Baltimore, three months after Freddie Gray's death in police custody sparked riots. This year's monthly bloodshed has twice reached levels unseen in a quarter-century. In May, Baltimore set a 25-year high of 42 recorded killings. After a brief dip in June, the homicide is soaring again. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Investigators look over a New Orleans Police department vehicle in which one officer was shot and killed while transporting a prisoner in New Orleans, Saturday, June 20, 2015. The New Orleans Police Department said Officer Daryle Holloway was shot while transporting Travis Boys, who managed to get his handcuffed hands from behind his back to the front, grab a firearm and shoot the officer. A manhunt was underway for the 33-year-old Boys, according to Police Chief Michael Harrison. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Police and K-9 search the area where a New Orleans Police officer was shot and killed in his vehicle while transporting a prisoner in New Orleans, Saturday, June 20, 2015. The prisoner remains at large. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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