ATLANTA - Lawyers for an accused killer want a judge to bar the death penalty or dismiss his case outright and disqualify the Fulton County district Attorney’s office from prosecuting.
The reason: attorneys claim Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard's office was involved in prosecutorial misconduct.
Howard's office is seeking the death penalty against Stephen Heller, who is accused of gunning down two young men in their car in an upscale Roswell neighborhood.
But the case was turned upside down when the defense team learned that Howard’s own victim witness advocate, Wesley Vann, sent sexually suggestive texts and Facebook messages to Heller’s ex-girlfriend – Carla Aucoin. Ms. Aucoin is a key witness in the case.
During a hearing late last week, Ms. Aucoin and two other women from two other criminal cases testified that Wesley Vann made inappropriate sexual contact with them: ranging from flirting, sexually charged phone calls, to late night visits, and sexual social media messages. The earliest victim complained back in 2012.
After testimony from Wesley Vann’s boss saying she wanted him fired for years, Vicki Reeves testified as to why she thought Wesley Vann kept his job.
Reeves, a crime victim who says Vann sexually harassed her, testified, Vann told her he wasn’t worried about being fired because he had “s---” on Paul Howard.
Howard was asked if that was true and he testified: “I don’t know, that’s the first time I ever heard that.”
Howard also testified he always disciplined Wesley Vann and was only trying to help rehabilitate an employee.
Howard fired Vann last September when another woman, the fiancée of a murder victim, complained to his office about late night contact from the victim witness advocate.