Kozak’s attorney files motion for new trial


The Gazette

Alexander Kozak talks with defense attorney Alfredo Parrish after the prosecution's opening statement in in Kozak's trial at the Story County Courthouse in Nevada on Thursday, April 14, 2016. Alexander Kozak is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the 2015 shooting death of Andrea Farrington at the Coral Ridge Mall. (Pool photo by Liz Martin/The Gazette)

By Bill Cooney

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The attorney for the man who shot and killed Andrea Farrington filed a motion for a new trial on May 6, claiming misconduct on the side of the prosecution during the original trial.

Alfredo Parrish submitted a motion for a new trial for his client, Alexander Kozak, fewer than two weeks after Kozak was found guilty of first-degree murder. Parrish listed a number of examples of what he called prosecutorial misconduct in the trial in his brief attached to the motion.

The first, he said, occurred during the state’s questioning of Andrew High, a University of Iowa assistant professor of communication studies, regarding the text-message relationship between Farrington and Kozak.

“The state intentionally asked Dr. Andrew High, a communication expert called by the defense, about whether he had an opinion as to Kozak’s actions being deliberate, intentional, or premeditated,” Parrish wrote. “This was in violation of the court’s order excluding expert testimony on this issue.”

On April 11, the defense filed a motion in limine, which excluded any expert opinion on whether Kozak had the specific intent to kill Farrington. Instead, the defense chose to focus on whether Kozak had the capacity for forming the intent to kill, Parrish said.

“No cautionary instruction is sufficient to clean up the damage from such a heinous question,” he wrote.

Parrish said another act of misconduct occurred when Kozak was referenced during the state’s closing arguments as “sitting here,” which he said “constitutes a comment on Kozak having exercised his right not to testify.”

The inclusion of recorded statements made by Kozak after his arrest while in the back of a State Patrol cruiser should also not have been allowed, Parrish said.

“Although Kozak made some statements initially, it was law enforcement who mined them near the close of Kozak’s interview, leading him in an effort to obtain responses which should have been prohibited,” Parrish wrote. “Regardless of whether these statements were voluntarily made, these statements should have been excluded.

Parrish said he believes Kozak’s right to a fair trial was violated because of prejudice created by the alleged misconduct on the part of the prosecution, and for this reason, he deserves a new trial.

The state has until May 18 to submit any resistance to the motion for a new trial. The motion will be considered by the court at Kozak’s sentencing hearing on June 6 at the Johnson County Courthouse.

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