Former Dodge City policeman Christopher Tahah will not get a new trial in the death of his ex-girlfriend, District Judge Leigh Hood ruled on Wednesday.

    Tahah was convicted last month of killing Erin Jones on May 5, 2007, at her home in Dodge City. He claimed during his trial that he had not been at her house the morning she was killed.


    Former Dodge City policeman Christopher Tahah will not get a new trial in the death of his ex-girlfriend, District Judge Leigh Hood ruled on Wednesday.
    Tahah was convicted last month of killing Erin Jones on May 5, 2007, at her home in Dodge City. He claimed during his trial that he had not been at her house the morning she was killed.
    Wichita attorney Peter Orsi argued Wednesday that Tahah deserved a new trial, in part because District Judge Leigh Hood mistakenly excluded certain evidence during the first trial. That evidence consisted of a series of text messages that Jones had exchanged with someone identified as "E" on May 4, 2007.
    Orsi said during the original trial that he believed "E" was Dodge City Legend player Elvin Mims, whom Jones had planned to see the night she was killed.
    Orsi contended Wednesday that those messages, which included a statement that "E" would not hurt Jones, indicated that she was afraid of him.
    Orsi also sought a new trial on the grounds that the state's evidence did not support a guilty verdict.
    "The prosecution's entire case can be boiled down to the statement that Mr. Tahah gave in the county jail in Colorado," Orsi said. "But there was no scientific evidence to corroborate that statement."
    Orsi referred to a May 11, 2007, interview between Tahah and a KBI agent at the county jail in Hugo, Colo., where Tahah was being held on charge stemming from a high-speed chase. During that interview, Tahah acknowledged being in Jones' back yard the morning she died and firing a shot through her bedroom window.
    Assistant Ford County Attorney Natalie Randall asked the court to deny the request for a new trial, saying the evidence supported the jury's verdict.
    "I think in this case, it's overwhelmingly evident that a reasonable jury could reach a verdict of guilty," she said.
    After hearing the arguments, Hood said his decision to exclude the text messages between Jones and "E" from the original trial would stand.
    "I have heard nothing in the defense motions that would change the court's mind," he said.
    Hood also said he agreed with Orsi that the bulk of the state's case — but not all of it — relied on Tahah's interview with the KBI agent. But he said a reasonable jury could still have found Tahah guilty.

Reach Eric Swanson at (620) 408-9917 or e-mail him at eric.swanson@dodgeglobe.com.