The trial has consumed nearly three weeks in Superior Court Judge Mary Staley’s courtroom.
The courtroom was crowded as witnesses, including Loretta “Lottie” Spencer Blatz as well as relatives of Daker’s, sat in for the closings. Nick Smith, the son of murder victim Karmen Smith, was not in the courtroom.
Daker is charged in the Oct. 23, 1995 murder of Karmen Smith in her east Cobb home and the repeated but nonfatal stabbings of Nick, who was just 5 at the time. Daker previously spent a decade in prison for stalking Spencer Blatz, who lived upstairs from the Smiths.
Prosecutors allege Karmen Smith was killed before 11:30 that Monday morning, and Nick was stabbed just after 3 p.m., both attacked inside their apartment.
Prosecutors and Daker, who is representing himself, were each given two hours to make their closings.
Lead prosecutor Jesse Evans briefly went through the standards for each of the 11 counts in the indictment, then let Daker give his closing before Evans went last. Jason Saliba is also prosecuting the case.
Daker asked jurors to take notes during his final arguments.
“This case went wrong on Oct. 25, 1995 when I gave over an hourlong interview to police,” he said. “Police seized 100 hairs from me. Somewhere between 1995 and 2009 those hairs were mishandled. I don’t know what went wrong, but something went wrong. If those hairs weren’t in possession of the police, there would not be this DNA evidence today.”
He believes the hair was transferred there.
“I can’t explain (the hair),” he said. “The problem is, neither can they because there’s so many things that went wrong. … I’ve never been to 1580 Old Hunter’s Trace, but I spent a lot of time with Lottie before she moved there.”
Daker also accused prosecutors of waging a “trash Waseem” case for bringing up bondage photos and how-to-kill books, among other items found in his possession.
“All these issues don’t prove anything. They just make me look bad in your eyes. … Have any of you ever tied up a partner in the bedroom?” he asked jurors. “According to the state, that makes you guilty of murder.”
He also again pointed out that he had no injuries when questioned by police hours after the murder, despite testimony that Karmen Smith was an athletic girl who would put up a fight.
“The defendant was never injured because the defendant had never been in Karmen Smith’s home,” he said.
As for Spencer Blatz, he said none of her allegations of threats were made until after the murder. Daker has contended he and Spencer Blatz were in a romantic relationship.
“I did some stupid things in 1995. Yes, I called her when I shouldn’t have. Yes, we had screaming matches. I have never in my life put my hands on her or any other woman, including Karmen,” said Daker, pointing to his elderly father and crediting his father with teaching him that lesson.
Waseem Daker’s father, Anas, and a younger brother, Wasaam, both testified earlier on Thursday.
Daker also told jurors that the “most interesting” witness — Spencer Blatz’s dog, Niko — couldn’t testify.
“Remember she told you her dog didn’t like me? That dog is probably the most important witness in this case because that dog is the only one in the upstairs apartment while whatever was going on downstairs.”
Daker also said his behavior after his release from prison was evidence of his innocence.
“In 2006, my mom went to Syria for medical treatment. I went to get her and I came home to America,” he said. “A guilty person would have got the heck gone. I didn’t have anything to hide.”
The first thing prosecutor Jesse Evans took issue with when he again spoke to jurors was Daker’s “allegation that the state is intending to smear the defendant.
“When Waseem Daker chose to take Karmen Smith’s life and stab that boy, he earned it. There’s no man more deserving of getting a little bit smeared than that killer over there,” he said.
Regardless of credibility and other issues with witness Spencer Blatz, Evans clung to his gold-star evidence: the hair found underneath Karmen Smith’s sweater on her lifeless body that was matched to Daker.
“DNA is proof behind a reasonable doubt, beyond any doubt, that that man is a cold-blooded killer,” Evans said.
Of Spencer Blatz, Evans said: “You don’t have to like Lottie. But she did pretty good on the stand, confronting that stalker who tormented her for so long.”
Evans also reminded jurors that Karmen Smith had told family members in the days before her killing that ‘Lottie’s stalker is calling me.’
“Karmen, like a voice from the grave, told us those calls were being made to her,” he said.
Then he recounted the events of Oct. 23, 1995.
“You’ve got an obsessed maniac. 1580 Old Hunter’s Trace, Marietta, Ga., and Daker, with his history of parking near clubhouses. He’s in the neighborhood by 6:45 a.m. … Nick and Christina went to school; Lottie goes off to work, and Karmen Smith is now all alone. Except for Waseem Daker. Except for her murderer. Silently he enters the home.
“She had on a robe before the kids went to school. She probably had just gotten out of the shower when Waseem Daker came up behind her, used an ice pick to hold her. Take those handcuffs you learned about to subdue her. Is there evidence she was a fighter? Yeah, but she didn’t stand a chance against Waseem Daker with his weapons of choice,” Evans said before describing graphically how Karmen was strangled with a rope.
In 1995, ivestigators found a piece of paper in Daker’s bedroom with the address and phone number of the east Cobb home.
Evans then read lines from three letters Daker wrote while in therapy and that were found in his home.
“If I do think about ‘Lottie,’ it makes me want to plot revenge.”
“I need to work on obsession.”
“I can’t believe what the f—- she did. I will never forgive her for that. … My plans are complete and they are perfect. While some things may go wrong, I am ready for no matte what goes wrong, she will pay for what she’s done.”
Daker argued those letters were part of writing therapy, and he asked jurors to look at the letters in a different order than prosecutors introduced them.
Evans finished by urging jurors to bring justice to Karmen Smith and her family.
“Your verdict means more than holding Waseem Daker accountable for his choices,” Evans said. “It says ‘may you rest in peace.’”