Lexington KY double murder trial set to start next week

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A Lexington murder trial set to begin next week will remain on schedule despite efforts from prosecutors to delay the case and efforts from the defense team to have the indictment thrown out entirely.

Prosecutors and attorneys for Antonio Gaskin, a man facing two murder charges, met in court Wednesday to discuss a number of motions brought up by both sides, including a motion by the prosecution to delay the case. The trial for the case is supposed to begin next week, and Judge Thomas Travis denied the prosecution’s request, citing the number of continuances the case has already gone through.

“There’s no reason why we cannot try this case on Monday as I see it considering the number of delays and given the resolution to the issues that we discussed here today,” Travis said.

Gaskin is facing two charges of murder among other charges in the deaths of 24-year-old Marquis Harris and 25-year-old Sharmaine Carter in October 2019. Harris and Carter were found dead inside an apartment on Alexandria Drive near Versailles Road after investigators received an anonymous tip reporting a relative had been shot, according to police.

Defense wanted indictment thrown out, judge overruled

Gaskin was indicted in February 2020 on two charges of murder. Gaskin’s attorney filed a motion for the indictment to be thrown out, citing a number of due process violations in the case.

Gaskin’s defense team alleged in court documents that they had not been able to review data evidence from cell phones related to the case because the phones remain locked. The defense alleged that law enforcement attempted to access the locked data by using the face and thumb print of one of the victims.

The defense also alleged that the prosecution lied about the use of ballistic evidence in the case. According to court documents, the prosecution said bullets pulled from the deceased during an autopsy were too damaged for testing, but Kentucky State Police told the defense that’s not accurate.

The defense also accused the prosecution of bad faith practices in an effort to win the case.

“The prosecutor is obligated to uphold justice and not just the opportunity to win one of these cases,” said Sarah Langer, Gaskin’s attorney.

But Travis said mistakes like that happen occasionally in a case this complex and time demanding, and overruled the defense’s request.

“While it’s not excusable, it’s certainly understandable,” Travis said.

However, the defense continued to push for the indictment to be thrown out.

“It is the duty of the prosecution to serve justice in this case, and justice is not being done,” Langer said tearfully.

Langer said in court Wednesday that the prosecutor, Kathryn Webster, previously told the defense team to seek a change in Gaskin’s bond and that Webster wouldn’t oppose the request. Langer said the conversation happened in a pretrial conference. Langer added that she believed Webster would say Gaskin is innocent if she was sworn in.

But Webster strongly objected to Langer’s accusation.

“It is egregious that someone would accuse me, on the record in a courtroom, of prosecuting someone of murder when I believe they didn’t do it,” Webster said.

Webster said Langer violated the oath as an attorney when she discussed pretrial conference matters on the record in a courtroom.

Gaskin’s trial is set to start Monday and is expected to last four days, according to court records.

Chris Leach is a breaking news reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. He joined the newspaper in September 2021 after previously working with the Anderson News and the Cats Pause. Chris graduated from UK in December 2018.
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