Darren Mack's new defense team says there's evidence that could help clear their client. They say it's buried in the Lockwood Landfill and his previous attorneys failed to try to find it. These allegations come from those motions that were expected to be filed last Friday.
You'll recall as of the late Friday deadline those motions still hadn't been filed though we're told faxed courtesy copies had been sent. Hard copies still hadn't arrived by late Monday morning.
When they do, they will be filed, possibly Wednesday. We can now finally tell you what they contain.
His family and his new defense team say when Darren Mack stood in front of Judge Doug Herndon last month, and agreed to change his plea to guilty in the murder of his wife, he was doing so because his attorneys had told him he stood to lose the case. Mack, they said, felt pleading guilty was the only way to maintain his credibility without the one piece of evidence that could clear him.
According to his defense team that evidence lies in the Lockwood Landfill. Somewhere in a mountain of trash lies a gun, knife and bloody clothing attorneys say could prove Mack’s innocence.
His former attorneys, David Chesnoff and Scott Freeman, had contended at the beginning of his trial that Mack killed his wife Charla in self-defense. That account is told again, in more detail, in declarations contained in one of the new motions. That she had pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger. That it misfired. And as she tried to pull the trigger again, they struggled and Mack stabbed her.
According to the motion, Mack discarded the gun, knife and his bloody clothing that morning in a commercial dumpster. If so, they would have ended up at the Lockwood Landfill.
Family members say Chesnoff and Freeman rejected the idea of searching for the weapons. An investigator for the new defense team says she's been told the operators of the landfill might be able to narrow a search for the items...even now...to an area 200 by 150 and 45 feet deep.
The declarations also reveal a family confident until very late that Mack would be freed, surprised when told the jury would likely say guilty and upset with the plea agreement negotiated on his behalf. They say Chesnoff threatened to ask for permission to withdraw from the case or to do the minimum work unless he and Freeman received more money.
Family members also say as the two attorneys tried to convince them they had negotiated a favorable deal, and told them with their political and personal connections to the governor and his family, a pardon or a commutation of his sentence was possible during the governor's 2nd term.
Chesnoff and Freeman have had no comment and were unavailable, but we're likely going to hear their version of those conversations. They're going to be called by the prosecution during the hearing on the change of plea motion. The judge has waived the attorney client privilege although one of the other motions being sent by the defense seeks to have the legal issues surrounding that waiver fully examined.
Four motions have been filed. Of the other two, one contends Chesnoff and Freeman haven't turned over all the files in the case and seeks an order forcing them to. Freeman has contended in a letter that he has done so.
The remaining motion seeks to set aside the date for sentencing, which is scheduled to follow the change of plea motion next month. Part of that process is a recommendation from the Department of Parole and Probation. They contend Mack can't be interviewed by the Department with the change of plea still a possibility without violating his Fifth Amendment rights concerning self-incrimination.