Blogging from Phoenix- Lawyers appointed to represent the 8-year-old St. Johns Arizona boy accused of killing his father and another man last month have asked the judge to throw out the boy’s confession, along with evidence gathered at the crime scene. In motions filed this week by attorneys Benjamin Brewer and Ronald Wood, It is argued the incriminating statements made by the child to detectives and a Child Protective Services worker, should be suppressed because the suspect was not given a Miranda warning.
Prior to a gag order it had been revealed the boy had been beaten nearly a thousand times in the previous couple years, The boy was questioned Nov. 6 by two armed, uniformed officers in a 10-by-10 room. Defense attorneys allege the investigators had already determined the boy might be a suspect, before they interviewed him.
The interrogation or interview depending on your prospective occurred the day after the slayings despite objections from family members; detectives questioned the boy without informing him of his rights or allowing an adult advocate or attorney in the room. The motion contends officerâ€™s exerted improper influence on the boy to obtain statements.
Detectives in the case continue to claim they simply considered the boy a witness to the crime at the time of the interview. Defense attorneys contend police already suspected the child of lying in an earlier interview, and discussed his possible guilt according to witness statements. They also note police lied to the child in pursuit of incriminating statements.
A separate defense motion says fingerprints, shell casings, blood and other evidence from the crime scene should be suppressed because a warrant issued for the search was signed by town Magistrate Butch Gunnells, a friend of the boy’s father. The third-grader, who turns 9 on Monday, is accused in Apache County juvenile court of shooting his 29-year-old father and a friend, Tim Romans, 39, who rented a room at the family residence.
Prosecutors are considering adult charges, but the boy’s ability to participate in his own defense has emerged as a key legal consideration. Motions filed by the defense this week say that at least one psychological examiner concluded the boy is not competent to stand trial. The boy’s attorneys also applied to hire one of the nation’s preeminent experts on false confessions, Prof. Richard Ofshe, as an expert witness in the case