Attorneys for truck driver convicted in deadly accident make case for new trial

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Benjamin Brewer appears in court for his trial. He was not in court Monday while his attorneys argued for a new one. (Image: WTVC)

The truck driver convicted of killing six people on Interstate 75 in Ooltewah back in the summer of 2015 wants a new trial.

Back in January, Benjamin Brewer was found guilty and sentenced to more than five decades in prison for the crash that killed six people.

Attorneys for Brewer met in court Monday morning to ask the judge to grant their request.

Brewer's attorneys are questioning his blood test. They say during the trial, a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) agent testified the bureau admitted to accidentally contaminating his blood sample with Naphthalene, a chemical that is often found in diesel fuel.

Public defender Jay Underwood says he filed a motion for specific discovery. In it, he's asking the court to gather all communication between the Hamilton County District Attorney's office and the TBI regarding Brewer's blood sample.

Underwood says he's also requesting any conversation between the two agencies about potential contamination. According to the Underwood, defense attorneys first assumed Naphthalene was present in Brewer's blood sample because of his potential exposure to fuel while working as a truck driver. The defense argues they should've known the TBI was responsible for adding the substance before the trial began.

During Monday's hearing, he told Judge Don Poole that if the prosecution intentionally withheld information before Brewer's trial, then that should be grounds for a re-trial.

"The state also withheld the fact that they authorized Mr. Brewer's blood sample to be sent to a second federal lab, they withheld the fact that it was being tested again at a different lab, they withheld the fact the results of that second test were half the results of TBI's test," Underwood argued.

At an earlier hearing, Prosecutor Neal Pinkston says the defense hasn't proven the materials sought are relevant. TBI spokeswoman Leslie Earhart said the chemical didn't affect test results.

Judge Poole say he will take a few weeks to look over documents before he makes a ruling. They plan to meet again in Court on October 1st.

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