Defense rests in Melendez trial, jury preps for trip

Even though the defense has rested, the jury won't decide a verdict until at least next week.

- The defense rests in the trial of William Melendez, the former Inkster cop charged in the bloody beating of Floyd Dent in January.

Melendez was in and out of court throughout the day with his family and attorney but did not take the stand in his own defense. It's not in the jury's hands yet. Instead, the jury will be traveling next week to the scene of the arrest, with closing argument set for Wednesday.

Melendez is charged with assault, misconduct, and strangulation for the beating of Dent, who was unarmed, during the January traffic stop. The topic Thursday: Dent's cocaine tests that night. His urine screen testing positive at the hospital, but his blood testing negative just hours later. Wayne County Chief Medical Examiner Carl Schmidt took the stand and said that Dent did not have cocaine in his system.

"There is a difference between finding cocaine in the urine and finding cocaine in the blood," Schmidt said. "If the blood concentration of cocaine and its metabolites was negative at whatever hours after the incident, he hadn't used it hours or days before the incident occurred. Period."

But the defense argues cocaine was found in Dent's car and that too much time had gone by before his blood test. Schmidt said he was ignoring the presumptive positive test for cocaine.

Also on the stand was State Police Lieutenant Twana Powell. She read Dent's record of arrests over the last 10 years, which included an arrest for drug possession.

"Whats in his official criminal history report, when he's arrested and fingerprinted, I have seven times," Powell said.

The defense claims the video shows Dent rolling through stop signs and swerving on Michigan Avenue. So Judge Vonda Evans wants the jurors to see the area for themselves. On Tuesday, they're going on a trip to teh scene of the arrest.

The jury is scheduled to visit the area on Tuesday and closing arguments are tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, if Evans allows one more witness to be called on the behalf of the prosecution.


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