Attorneys argue over key shoeprint evidence in 2010 Beauregard Town killing

Aramis Jackson
Aramis Jackson

Attorneys for accused killer Aramis Jackson want prosecutors to “blindly turn over” key shoeprint evidence allegedly linking Jackson to a fatal home invasion in Beauregard Town nearly 3½ years ago, a prosecutor complained to a judge Thursday.

But Mario Guadamud, one of Jackson’s court-appointed attorneys, said the defense simply wants its own expert to have the same access to a bloody shoeprint found at the murder scene — and shoes later found in Jackson’s possession — that a prosecution expert had to the evidence.

Prosecutor Darwin Miller described the evidence as key to the state’s case and argued steps must be taken to preserve it.

“The state is being asked to blindly turn over a piece of evidence,” he told state District Judge Tony Marabella during a status hearing in the capital murder case.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Marabella gave the defense until March 14 to devise a protocol for examining the evidence that remains in law enforcement custody.

He also gave a subtle nudge to both sides.

“I would certainly encourage both sides to try to reach an agreement,” the judge said.

The Sept. 24, 2010, home invasion left Alexandra Engler, 42, dead and her then-9-year-old daughter, Ariana, seriously wounded. Both were shot.

Jackson, 24, of Baton Rouge, is charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty if Jackson is convicted. A trial date has not been set.

William Bodziak, a forensic consultant who specializes in footwear impressions, testified at a hearing in December that a bloody shoeprint found in the kitchen of the Engler home on Beauregard Street was left by one of Jackson’s shoes. Bodziak was hired by the prosecution.

Jackson’s attorneys, Baton Rouge Capital Conflict Office Director David Price and fellow BRCCO attorney Guadamud, are trying to have the shoeprint evidence declared inadmissible. Another hearing on the evidence is set for April 4.

“We basically want the same access their expert had,” Guadamud said after court.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III has said previously that the shoeprint matched shoes found in Jackson’s possession. He would not say if Jackson was wearing the shoes when he was arrested.

Police have said witnesses identified Jackson as the person they saw in the area shortly after the crime carrying a gun and a large flat-screen television believed stolen from the Engler home.