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."
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