“It takes a whole, whole lot to reverse a murder conviction, but if anything will do it, it’s a primary principal witness saying she lied about pretty much every important part of her testimony,” said Marietta attorney Jason Treadaway.
Spencer Blatz filed two affidavits, one on March 4 and another on March 27, recanting a majority of what she testified to under oath at two trials. The first trial, in 1996, ended in the conviction of Daker for aggravated stalking against Spencer Blatz. The second conviction of Daker came in late 2012 for the Oct. 23, 1995, killing of Spencer Blatz’s then-housemate Karmen Smith.
Daker was sentenced to life in prison plus 47-and-a-half years. He was accused of stabbing Smith twice in the back and then strangling her with a rope.
“Waseem Daker never assaulted me or threatened me with a handgun, nor did he ever put a gun to my head on July 25, 1995, or July 26, 1995, or any other date or occasion,” Spencer Blatz confesses in one of the affidavits.
The piece of her filed affidavit that could result in a new trial for Daker is her admission that a blanket reportedly found in the home with his hair follicle was one that he and Spencer Blatz once snuggled in days before Smith’s death.
“She’s saying that she fabricated evidence and testimony that directly relates to the DNA evidence,” Treadaway said. “That goes to the critical core to the theory of the case by the state.”
DNA evidence on the blanket led to Daker’s arrest in 2009. He is imprisoned in the Jackson State Prison.
“A convicted criminal rarely gets to get a new trial based on a perjured testimony,” Treadaway said. “He has this trump card … it’s quite an ace to have up your sleeve, too.”
Treadaway said Daker is aware of the affidavits and learned about it from Spencer Blatz herself in a letter.
“I don’t think he’s shocked,” he said. “(Daker) knew (her testimony) was a lie when he heard it. He’s the least surprised of anybody. He’s been anticipating this because he always claimed that it was inaccurate.”
Daker has filed a motion for a new trial.
“It’s difficult to say when this could come to fruition,” Treadaway said. “I think it would be wise for him to wait and to see how much more she will say.”
He said he’s not sure why Spencer Blatz has decided now to take back her statements, but he had heard that her conscience may have been bothering her.
“Apparently now it’s just the time to come forward,” he said.
She called Treadaway shortly after the trial questioning her own testimony, Treadaway said.
Spencer Blatz states in the March 4 affidavit that she was also under the influence of “numerous” medications during the incidents involving her from 1996, including painkillers, muscle relaxers, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills.
“(These) also adversely affected my perception, judgment and memory,” according to her affidavit.
D.A.’s office responds
Cobb Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans, who prosecuted the case, said he is disappointed with this turn of events, but he is unaware of any legal reason to believe the conviction of Daker is in jeopardy.
He said Daker is not entitled to a new trial because a witness is recanting statements and that his office stands by Daker’s conviction and the “overwhelming” evidence of guilt.
“This case was not about Ms. Spencer,” Evans said. “She was but the backdrop to explain why the defendant would perpetrate the murder of Karmen Smith and the brutal assault on Nick Smith, persons who would otherwise be strangers to him.”
Nick Smith is Karmen Smith’s son, who was 5 years old at the time and survived 18 stab wounds.
Evans tried to meet with Spencer Blatz to talk about her concerns but has not been successful to date.
“Of note, Ms. Spencer has admitted that she has become unstable since the trial,” Evans said. “We have encouraged her to seek professional psychiatric help and offered to assist her, as we would with any crime victim.”
He said Spencer Blatz also admitted to his office that she has been having suicidal thoughts and that she is not taking medications recommended by her mental-health counselor.
“Perhaps most troubling, we have also learned she has been communicating with the defendant in prison,” Evans said. “This matter is under investigation, but we have talked with the jurors in this case. They have assured us that their verdict was not based solely on the veracity of Ms. Spencer’s testimony.”