Attorneys in Adams case using DNA

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 19, 2011



EDGARD – The attorney for the man accused in the Dec. 5 murder of 15-year-old LaPlace resident Taylor Adams has asked for the help of a DNA expert to monitor the state’s testing of evidence from the crime scene.

St. John the Baptist Parish attorneys prosecuting the case against Earnest Joseph III have filed motions to obtain DNA evidence from items collected at the home where Joseph allegedly beat Adams to death. Before the state can test that evidence, they must allow time for the defense to enlist the help of a forensic expert.

Attorney David Belfield, who is representing Joseph, has asked District Court Judge Madeline Jasmine for a 60-day window to track down a DNA expert and determine whether Joseph’s family can afford the help.

Jasmine on Wednesday granted Belfield the time to seek an expert but stipulated that if one cannot be obtained within 60 days, the state would be allowed to test evidence at will. Prosecutors would not say what kind of evidence they have to test.

Joseph, 27, was indicted Jan. 4 on second-degree murder charges in connection with Adam’s death. Joseph is accused of beating the Riverside Academy student to death inside her own home in the 2500 block of Yorktowne Drive in the early morning hours of Dec. 5.

Adams’ mother Gaylyn discovered her daughter’s body after returning from work at about 6:30 a.m. that morning. Gaylyn Adams told detectives she had not seen or spoken to her daughter since about 9 p.m. Dec. 4. The mother had worked as a security guard in LaPlace and often worked a 12-hour shift overnight.

An autopsy report indicated the victim sustained blunt force trauma to the head but did not specify a murder weapon. Detectives suspect the incident took place sometime after 1 a.m. Dec. 5 based on Adams’ Facebook activity that evening. Three days learning of the crime, authorities named Joseph a suspect. He was arrested by U.S. Marshals near Gulfport, Miss., later that day.

Joseph remains incarcerated at the Sherman Walker Correctional Facility in LaPlace. His next scheduled court date is April 13 in Edgard.

If convicted of second-degree murder, Joseph will face a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole or probation.