Adrial gets a second chance

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Adrial gets a second chance

RACINE - Nearly three years ago, The Journal Times was dominated by coverage of Adrial White, the man who shot at three people, killing one of them, after he caught them trying to steal a speaker from his fiancee's car.

To some he was a hero, taking a stand against crimes that many complained the police did not take seriously. Others thought his brand of vigilante justice went too far, and that no one deserved a death sentence for trying to take a speaker.

White was sentenced to life in prison in January 2007 after a jury convicted him of first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide for killing Christopher "Eric" Carbajal and wounding Enrico Serra Jr. The third victim, Phillip Jardina, had bullets pass through his clothes, and one may have grazed his side.

Now, White gets another chance to bring his case before a jury.

White's successful appeal was chosen by reporters at The Journal Times as one of the top 10 stories of 2008.

At the trial, White argued that he shot in self-defense. The state's key witness, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy, said Christopher "Eric" Carbajal was shot in the back while he was lying face down on the ground.

White's attorney, Robert D'Arruda, dramatically argued his client's case. He acted things out, collapsed on the floor and faked cell phone calls from victims.

But, except for White, D'Arruda didn't call anyone to contradict that testimony.

After White's conviction, his family hired new attorneys. Mark Richards and Christy Hall conducted their own investigation into the crime - and into D'Arruda's work as White's attorney. They found example after example of how D'Arruda had allegedly failed and appealed the conviction.

On Dec. 2, Judge Charles Constantine found D'Arruda constitutionally ineffective and ordered White a new trial.

White will again have a chance to tell his story to jurors. But, he will have new evidence, discovered by Richards and Hall - who have not yet been retained as his trial counsel.

They brought the autopsy findings to an independent forensic pathologist, a man who recently retired as Milwaukee County's medical examiner. Dr. Jeffrey Jentzen has presented an opinion that differs from the state's expert's opinion in one critical respect: Jentzen said while Carbajal was shot in the back, he was not lying down when he was shot.

The state has asked the Wisconsin Office of the Attorney General to look into the possibility of appealing Constantine's decision to grant the new trial.

In the meantime, the two sides are proceeding as if the trial will happen. They are expected to decide on a trial date by early February.

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