Two men entered a gas station in Long Island on February 18, 1976. With a gun, one of them forced the 16-year old gas attendant to give him all the cash in the till. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the man ordered the boy to kneel down and to face away from them. He then shot the boy who died later.
At the start of the police investigation into the robbery with homicide, the police had no idea as to the identity of the robbers. They received a tip from a woman who was in the same house as the two men. She remembers that on the same night of the murder of the 16 year old boy at the gas station, the two men suddenly left the house because they had a job to do. They came back highly excited and told the woman that they had to shoot someone. This tip was put in the records of the investigation.
One month after the shooting of the 16-year old, the police chased a suspect in a car theft incident. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said two men were involved in the car theft but only one suspect was caught. The police saw the suspect they were chasing: he slowed down the car and threw something out. A week after the car chase, a little girl turned in a loaded gun she found in the place where the chase took place. The police checked the gun and it turned out that it was the same gun that was used to kill the 16-year old gas attendant at the gas station in Long Island.
The police then interrogated the suspect in the car theft who gave chase. He gave the name of his accomplice in the car theft. When the suspect named his accomplice, the police were immediately reminded of the lead they had obtained in the gas station robbery where a 16-year old boy was killed.
The police asked the police in the next county to locate the accomplice and bring him in for questioning. A Nassau County Sex Crimes Lawyer said police officers went to the residence of the accomplice. His mother answered the door. She informed the police that her son was playing basketball at a park nearby. The police asked the accomplice’s younger brother to accompany them to the park to find his brother. The brother and the mother accompanied them to the park where they picked up his brother and took them to the police headquarters.
The mother stayed near the front desk of the police headquarters while her two boys were taken into the squad room. The police told her that she would be notified when the police officers from Nassau County arrived to question her sons.
The officers from Nassau County arrived and asked the brothers if they were willing to go to Nassau County to talk about an investigation they were conducting. The brothers agreed and they were taken to Nassau County in the officer’s car. They exited the headquarters through a back entrance. A Queens Sex Crimes Lawyer said their mother was not informed that they had been taken to Nassau County.
The mother asked the officer at the front desk about her sons a half hour later and found out that they had been taken elsewhere. The mother proceeded to Nassau County with other family members to find them but she was unable to find them. Her sons had been taken to Mineola. She went to Mineola and asked for her sons. When the police heard that one of the relatives who were with the mother at Mineola was one of the names indicated by the informant, they also invited that other relative of the brothers for questioning.
The relative of the two brothers confessed to the crime of robbing the gas station in Long Island and of shooting the gas attendant.
The confession of the relative became the basis for the charge of manslaughter and robbery. He requested a hearing on his motion to suppress the confession he made. The motion to suppress was denied. He pleaded guilty. He was sentenced. And the only issue for review is whether or not his confession should have been suppressed.
The Court held that since the accused were minors, the presence of their mother was necessary so she could take care of their interests. The police should not have interfered with the communication between the suspects and their mother.
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