Attorneys prepare New London murder case for trial

The attorney for accused killer Evan J. Holmes is seeking forensic testing of several items of evidence as he prepares the case for trial in September in New London Superior Court.

Holmes, 21, of New London is accused of forcing his way into an apartment at 252 Montauk Ave. in New London on Nov. 12, 2011, and fatally shooting 25-year-old Jorge "Loco" Rosa in his bed.

The case of Holmes' alleged accomplice, 20-year-old Davion Smith, is pending in the same court, and both men remain in prison.

Holmes is accused of confronting Rosa in his bed and killing him just nine days after he had finished a prison sentence for shooting another man in the foot. In April, he rejected an offer from prosecutor Paul J. Narducci to plead guilty in exchange for a lengthy prison sentence and opted for a trial.

Judge Susan B. Handy, the judicial district's presiding judge for criminal cases, said jury selection would begin Sept. 4 and that she plans to assign a judge to the case next month.

On Tuesday, Handy granted motions for disclosure of evidence filed by defense attorney William T. Koch, including testing of a white powder substance contained in plastic baggies found in a sneaker in Rosa's bedroom and on the ground across the street from the crime scene. Koch also requested fingerprint and DNA testing of any material obtained from the baggies, saying Holmes' defense would include a claim that Rosa was robbed and killed by two other men who knew him as a drug dealer.

Koch also requested the results of gunshot residue, ballistics, DNA and blood tests on items seized from the crime scene and from key witnesses, along with phone records, including text messages, sent between Holmes and Shanice Sebastian, who was with Holmes when Holmes was arrested in Old Saybrook several hours after the shooting. Narducci said the state laboratory, which has a backlog of cases, does not perform the testing until it is notified that the case is going to trial.

The judge deferred action on a defense request for counseling records of Holmes' ex-girlfriend, Gabriela Gonzalez, who was with Rosa when he was shot, saying that if appropriate at a later date, she would review the records privately before deciding whether to disclose them.

Koch also requested the identity of a witness who was described only as "CW," or cooperating witness in court documents. Narducci said he would disclose the person's identity to Koch if he decides to call that person to testify at the trial.

k.florin@theday.com

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