crimesider

Key witness in Ga. slaying that sent Waseem Daker to prison for life, recants testimony

Waseem Daker
Cobb County Sheriff's Office
(CBS/AP) MARIETTA, Ga. - A key witness in a Cobb County, Ga. murder trial has recanted her testimony after the man accused in the slaying was sentenced to life plus 47 1/2 years in prison.

Loretta Spencer Blatz says she was suffering from depression and was under the influence of painkillers and other substances when she testified last September against Waseem Daker. Dakar  was convicted in the 1995 death of Delta flight attendant Karmen Smith.

Daker was also convicted of repeatedly stabbing Smith's son Nick, who was 5 at the time and miraculously survived the attack.

Smith and Blatz were roommates at the time of the murder and when Blatz testified against him, Daker had already served 10 years in prison for stalking her. 

In recently filed affidavits, Blatz now claims Daker never assaulted her or threatened her with a firearm, as she had previously claimed, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Daker, who maintained his innocence while representing himself in his murder trial, is now asking for a new trial, the paper says.

Blatz's affidavit also reportedly challenges a key piece of evidence used to link Daker to Smith's murder. Blatz now claims a blanket was discovered at the crime scene containing the accused killer's hairs because Daker had slept under that blanket when the two spent the night together before she moved in with Smith.

Cobb Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans says he believes Blatz is unstable and the conviction will stand. He also says Blatz has been in communication with Daker in prison, according to the paper.

"Of note, Ms. Spencer (Blatz) has admitted that she had 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. Ms. Spencer (Blatz) has also admitted to us that she has been having suicidal thoughts and that she is not taking medications recommended by her mental health counselor."

Blatz claimed at trial that Daker became obsessed with her after they met playing paintball in 1994. Daker has said the two were in an on-again, off-again relationship.

Throughout Daker's murder trial, prosecutors argued that he committed the crime because Smith interfered with his attempts to harass Blatz.

"I did not kill Karmen Smith. I did not stab Nick Smith," Daker told Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley prior to his sentencing last year. "I hope that one day the truth comes out, because this is not it."

  • Stephanie Slifer

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