At approximately 11:30 p.m., a student was shot to death. Four days later, detectives investigating the homicide were informed that an individual, arrested on an unrelated robbery, claimed to have information about the gun crime.
The individual told the detectives that he had overheard a conversation in a local candy store indicating that a man was responsible for the homicide. The criminal informant added that the said man had two good friends.
After recognizing the names, detectives secured photographs of the man’s two friends, who were suspected in prior robberies in the building where the criminal homicide occurred. Both were believed to be wanted on pending robbery complaints.
One of the said friends had been arrested twice before robbery and had one criminal case still pending. The other, however, was apparently being sought on an open, unrelated robbery charge, and was then on probation.
Afterward, detectives went to search for the man and his two friends. At first, their efforts were unsuccessful, but when they returned to the area at approximately 7:00 p.m., the detective spotted one of the man’s friends standing with his father and a security guard.
The detectives approached and immediately took the man’s friend into custody. When the father asked the reason for the arrest, one of the detectives told him that his son was suspected in a robbery and would have to stand in a lineup. The father responded that his son had an attorney and that he would notify her.
The detective brought the arrested individual into the security office and placed him in a holding cell. The detective then received a radio transmission that police had located the man’s automobile.
Detectives kept the vehicle under surveillance until four young men approached it. The police stopped them and quickly determined the two suspects from the group.
The man was examined and when he could not produce papers for the car, he was handcuffed and placed in a police vehicle. The man’s other friend was also taken into custody. The two other young men were briefly detained and released.
One of the detectives returned to the security office to retrieve the first arrested individual. As they were walking him to a police vehicle to take him to the precinct, his father approached and repeated that his son had an attorney. He said that he had called her and would do so again. The detective responded by giving him the precinct’s telephone number and telling him to ask for the detective who was in charge of the case.
At the precinct, the three criminal offenders were taken to separate areas. They were released from being handcuffed and offered food and drink. Each was told that the police were seeking information regarding the homicide. Each claimed to have no knowledge of the crime.
Sometime after midnight, another detective entered the room in which the man’s friend was seated with another detective. The detective began talking with the offender, asking him about his family and his job. He told the detective that he worked as a baggage handler at the airport. He also revealed that he was on probation, and he expressed concern that his predicament might affect his probationary status and his participation in a community service program.
The conversation then turned to the homicide, and the detective advised the offender of his constitutional rights. When the offender said that he had heard about the incident, the detective asked him whether he had been in the building at the time of the crime. The offender then stated that he did, and then gave the detective an account of what he had seen, first orally and then in writing.
He said that he had been standing in the lobby of the building with the two offenders and a young woman. Then, they saw a light skinned Asian guy carrying a bag with pockets waiting in front of the elevator in the building. The man and the other one told him to chill and then followed the Asian into the elevator. A few minutes later, they came running down the stairs. The man was tucking a gun into his waistband and said that, as he had been trying to open the door of the stairs and he shot the guy. They all ran out of the building and he saw the other friend discarded a wallet.
The other criminal friend explained that he had gotten the Asian’s wallet but the man believed that the Asian man had more. When the man tried to search him, the Asian began fighting. With that, the man shot the Asian and ran down the stairs.
At approximately 2:15 a.m., the detective entered the room in which the other offender was seated. Without naming the source of her information, the detective told him what she knew about the circumstances of the homicide. The criminal offender then agreed to speak with her about the incident.
The detective first advised him of his Miranda rights, reading from a printed form. He expressed his understanding of the rights and his willingness to speak to the detective, and he put his initials and signed the Miranda form.
He stated that after he and the man entered the elevator with the Asian, the man tried to rob the Asian and then shot him. He expressed regret over the shooting but claimed to have had no prior knowledge of the gun or of the man’s intention to commit the robbery.
Later, at approximately 4:00 a.m., the detective began speaking with the man. In the presence of another detective, he advised him of his constitutional rights, reading from a printed form and recording his answers. The man expressed his understanding of the rights and agreed to speak with the detective. He put his initials and signed the Miranda form.
The man gave the detective an oral statement, saying that he and his friends followed the Asian into the elevator and tried to rob him in the fourth-floor hallway. The Asian resisted, however, and assumed a fighting stance. When the Asian threw a karate kick, the man’s gun accidently went off and the Asian was shot. The man repeatedly said that he had not meant to shoot the man.
In the presence of both detectives, the man reduced his statement to writing. He then signed it, as did the two detectives. The man also agreed to give a videotaped statement.
Later that morning, the assistant district attorney arrived at the precinct. At 8:05 a.m., she notarized the written statement of the first offender who swore to its truth. Thereafter, she took videotaped statements from two offenders, each of them was again advised of, and waived, their Miranda rights. Consequently, two offenders move to suppress their statements.
The first offender contends first that his father’s statements to the police were sufficient to invoke the right to counsel and marked the entry of a criminal attorney into the case. He argues that, as a result, his Miranda waivers were ineffective because they were given in the absence of his attorney, and therefore all of his statements must be suppressed.
For that reason, the offender’s motion is granted in part and denied in part. Also, the man’s motion is also denied in all respects.
Whenever you are involved in a crime and arrested for the offense you didn’t know, you can seek legal assistance from the Queens County Criminal Attorney. But if you require an immediate legal assistance, simply call Stephen Bilkis and Associates office and ask for the Queens County Possession of a Weapon Lawyer.