COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The state in the Lisa Graham murder-for-hire case is fighting to get jailhouse notes admitted as evidence in the case at the Russell County Courthouse.
Both sides argued their points on the alleged bribe during a motion hearing Wednesday, an hour before jury selection resumed.
Lee County Judge Jacob Walker III listened to the arguments as defense attorney Margaret Brown explained the state gave notice of their intent to introduce the jailhouse notes into evidence on Feb. 11, less than a week from trial.
The case got underway Tuesday following President's Day on Monday.
Brown claims there are a total of four witnesses in which the state wants to bring forward to testify, however, they don't know where the four people are located.
At the time, they were all serving time at the Russell County Jail with both Graham and Walton - who took a plea deal after admitting to shooting and killing Lisa Graham's daughter, Stephanie Shae Graham in 2007.
Walton claimed Lisa Graham hired him to kill her daughter for an unspecified amount of money. The four witnesses, the state believes, passed the jailhouse notes from inmate to inmate until it reached Walton. The handwritten notes reportedly offered Walton $10,000 to not testify against her.
Brown argued the defense does not see where the notes can be admissible under Rule 404B, which addresses "the admissibility of evidence of crimes other than the one for which the defendant is on trial is unique among character issues."
Furthermore, Brown added she would move for a continuance in the case, "We are unprepared to go forward, we need writing samples and a handwriting expert - four people had the notes in their possession," stated Brown. Russell County District Attorney, Ken Davis, responded by saying the notice given by the state is reasonable. Ms. Brown has been aware of these charges since 2010. The case was set for trial, but Judge Green said we would not have the case."
Judge Walker stated, a request for a continuance to get a handwriting expert would be denied.
"There's no surprise in knowing about it - I am not going to prohibit the state from attempting to present it." Judge Walker did not make a decision. Davis said he feels certain they can find all four witnesses," Walker said.
Stay tuned for more on this story.