Defense questions DNA evidence in ongoing Cortez Sims trial

Defense questions DNA evidence in ongoing Cortez Sims trial

April 6th, 2017 by Zack Peterson in Breaking News

Cortez Sims walks into Judge Barry Steeleman's courtroom at the start of his trial on Tuesday.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

This is a developing story. Please check back later for more updates.

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Defense attorneys pushed back this morning in a 2015 murder trial, saying no DNA evidence connects their 19-year-old client to the crime scene. 

"There was no science relating Cortez Sims to anything you received, is that correct?" defense attorney Clancy Covert asked Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent Charly Castelbuono.

"That's correct," Castelbuono said. 

Police say Sims opened fire inside a College Hill Courts apartment on Jan. 7, 2015, and killed one, injured two, and paralyzed a toddler from the waist down. 

Police sent DNA swabs from victims Bianca Horton and her child, Zoey Duncan, to the TBI. None of their samples returned a hit on the DNA swab they also collected from Sims, Castelbuono said. 

Prosecutors already played police body camera footage that shows one of the victims pinning the shooting on Sims, then 17, for jurors. 

Today they also called Shelly Betts, a TBI agent who examines firearms. 

Betts confirmed none of the 9mm bullets or casings on scene at 733 Main Street came from a firearm that police collected days later from one of Sims' relatives. 

Defense attorneys emphasized the gun was never connected to the alleged Sims shooting Wednesday when prosecutors introduced it to jurors. 

This is the second day of trial. If convicted, Sims faces life in prison but no capital punishment. 


Stay with the Times Free Press as more information becomes available.