A District man was found guilty in the fatal 2004 shooting of a cab driver Tuesday, a year after his first conviction was overturned by an appeals court.
After a week-long trial, the jury found Eric R. Gardner, 28, guilty of five charges including felony murder while armed in the the fatal shooting of cab driver Andrew B. Kamara, 50, outside a motel in Northwest Washington.
It was the second trial for Gardner. Last summer, the D.C. Court of Appeals overturned Gardner’s previous conviction after ruling that the previous judge who overheard the case, then-Superior Court Judge James Boasberg, erred in allowing DNA evidence because Gardner’s defense attorneys were not allowed to question the DNA expert about the findings. Admitting the DNA expert was a violation of Gardner’s Sixth Amendment rights, the court ruled.
In Gardner’s first trial, prosecutors charged him with six counts — including first-degree murder — in Kamara’s slaying.
In the new trial before Judge Robert Richter last week, prosecutors Michelle Jackson and Reagan Taylor made their DNA expert available for cross-examination during the trial. The expert linked a small bloodstain on Gardner’s jacket to Kamara. Gardner testified and told the jury another person robbed and shot the driver while he was a passenger in the taxi.
Gardner, who remained in D.C. jail as he awaited his new trial, was sentenced to 40 years in prison, the same sentence he received the first time.