A Greenbrier man accused of killing his 3-month-old stepson is asking a circuit judge not allow witness statements be used as evidence against him during trial.
Zachary Atwood, 30, was arrested June 2, 2016, on suspicion of manslaughter in Mitchell Goss' death. Atwood was formally charged in July 2016 with first-degree murder, a Class Y felony.
A motion hearing is set to begin at 9 a.m. Friday as he and his attorney, Danny Rasmussen, prepare for his upcoming three-day trial.
Rasmussen filed a motion in limine last month, asking that statements by two witnesses not be used as evidence during Atwood's trial, which is set to begin Feb. 28.
The two witnesses have told authorities they have observed Atwood "shot-gunning," or blowing marijuana smoke "in the face of the deceased."
Rasmussen argued these statements would mislead the jury because, according to the medical examiner's report, toxicology tests during the infant's autopsy did not detect any drugs in the 3-month-old boy's system.
The defense has also asked Circuit Judge Charles "Ed" Clawson Jr. to prohibit prosecutors from showing jurors photos provided as evidence by the Faulkner County Coroner's Office that show "the condition of the home as well as photos of the deceased."
"The photographs of the condition of the home should be excluded because the probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues or misleading the jury," the motion reads. "The photographs of the deceased, Mitchell Atwood, should also be excluded for the same theory as outline[d] above and that they would only serve the purpose to inflame the jury."
Atwood is currently being held in the county jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond. He was arrested after he admitted in a June 2, 2016, interview to putting Mitchell in an infant bed after sitting on him, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Following an autopsy, the medical examiner said it was "unlikely" the infant's injuries were sustained from someone sitting on his head.
Autopsy reports showed the infant "suffered fatal bilateral skull fractures and bleeding on the brain into the scalp and around the brain."
The report also stated the infant would have been "inconsolable until he became unconscious" given the extent of his injuries.
Atwood is set to stand trial Feb. 28 through March 2.