A federal jury of six men and three women on Tuesday afternoon found in favor of Sgt. Dan Nash, a Missouri State Highway Patrol detective who was the lead investigator in a 2009 murder case against Brad Jennings of Buffalo.
The jurors gave their verdict Feb. 25 after a six-day trial.
Jennings was convicted in 2009 based in large part on the testimony of Nash. But that conviction was overturned in February 2018 because Nash did not reveal to prosecutors or defense attorneys that he had ordered a test on Jennings’ bathrobe — the test result indicated it was not likely Jennings had fired a gun that night.
Convicted By Blood: Read all of the News-Leader’s coverage of the Jennings case
Lisa Jennings died of a gunshot wound to the head in the early hours of Christmas Day 2006. Local police and the local coroner originally ruled the death of suicide.
But one of Lisa Jennings’ sisters thought Lisa was murdered by her husband of 18 years and went to the Missouri State Highway Patrol with her concerns. She met with Nash.
Nash took over the investigation of the case — with the permission of the Dallas County sheriff at the time — and used bloodstain analysis and photos of the crime scene as evidence in Jennings’s trial.
The conviction was overturned because the results of the gunshot residue test on Jennings’ bathrobe were never disclosed. But that ruling was made without the judge having to conclude Nash had not disclosed the evidence deliberately or in “bad faith.”
It’s a criminal violation whether the non-disclosure was accidental or deliberate.
The civil lawsuit filed against Nash by Jennings’ attorneys alleged that Nash buried the evidence in an act of bad faith.
Jennings’ attorneys presented evidence that actual damages were over a million dollars in lost wages for the 8½ years Jennings, a car salesman, was incarcerated in state prison, as well as over $900,000 in legal expenses and other losses.
Had jurors found that Nash deliberately deprived Jennings of his constitutional right to a fair trial, they also could have awarded punitive damages.
By ruling in favor of Nash, no damages were awarded.
The News-Leader has covered the entire civil trial and will have more on the case in coming days.
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