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Defense in Officer Caesar Goodson trial presents first day of testimony

Motion to acquit Officer Goodson denied
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Posted at 6:26 AM, Jun 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-16 17:56:49-04

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Defense attorneys for Baltimore Police Officer Caesar Goodson began presenting their case Thursday, after a judge rejected a motion to acquit Goodson. 

Goodson faces second-degree murder charges for the death of Freddie Gray, who was fatally injured while riding in the back of a police van last April. His death sparked days of riots in Baltimore last spring. 

Donta Allen, the prisoner who was riding in the back of the van with Gray, was called as a defense witness late Thursday afternoon. But he testified that he remembered nothing about that day. 

Attorneys then began to play a taped statement from Allen, in which he tells police he saw Gray trying to knock himself out. Judge Barry Williams then abruptly called a recess. 

Allen was the third defense witness to take the stand Thursday, following an expert in police patrol policy and a detective who testified that the assistant medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Gray initially thought his death could have been accidental. 

Det. Dawnyell Taylor testified she met with Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Carol Allan, who first said Gray's death "was like a freakish accident." 

That testimony, allowed by Williams Wednesday, contradicts Allan's earlier testimony that she never said Gray's death could have been an accident. 

Lawyers for the state suffered a setback earlier in the trial, when a judge found they had violated discovery rules because they didn't turn over notes from Taylor.

During a tense cross examination of Taylor by Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow, the detective said she had a problem with Deputy State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe's integrity. 
 
Taylor said when she handed Bledsoe the notes of Allan saying Gray's death could have been accidental, Bledsoe pushed the notes back and stormed out in a tantrum.

 

Complete Freddie Gray coverage

 

RELATED: State rests on Day 5 of Officer Caesar Goodson's trial

 

ABC2 News staff contributed to this story.

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