Judge suppresses statements from 15-year-old accused of killing his two brothers
Thursday , November 21, 2013 - 2:17 PM
FARMINGTON — Statements made by a 15-year-old boy accused of killing his two younger brothers to Davis County Sheriff’s detectives have been suppressed.
Aza Vidinhar, 15 and of West Point, charged with two counts of felony murder, appeared before Judge Janice Frost on Thursday in 2nd District Juvenile Court. He was dressed a tan shirt and brown pants.
Another hearing is set for Feb. 27
Frost ruled the statements were inadmissible following a motion filed by attorneys on both sides stipulating that Vidinhar’s statements he made at the Davis County Sheriff’s Office on May 23 following the discovery of his brothers’ bodies in his home violated his rights under Miranda.
Frost asked Vidinhar at the end of the hearing if he was “doing OK” at Farmington Bay Youth Center, where he is being held.
He said, “Yup.”
Vidinhar’s attorney Todd Utzinger, filed a motion to suppress the statements in October. Frost sealed that motion.
Utzinger said the detectives violated the boy’s Constitutional rights of due process by ignoring Vidinhar’s desire not to speak after being read his Miranda rights twice.
“They continued to press forward,” Utzinger said after the hearing.
Utzinger said at least one of the four detectives present during the interrogation on May 23 of should have stopped the interview once it was clear Vidinhar did not want to speak to them.
“It is puzzling how this happened with four detectives present,” Utzinger said.
Utzinger said the teenager told detectives he wanted to sleep. And, in fact, the teen did fall asleep twice during the interview, he said. The officers woke him up to continue the interview.
Utzinger said, “I hope law enforcement learned a lesson with this case.”
Both sides agreed in the court document that if Vidinhar “were to provide testimony or statements about the deaths of Alex Vidinhar or Benjamin Vidinhar that contradicts the description of their deaths that Aza provided to investigators,” then the statements he had given will be admissible “at any hearing or trial for purposes of impeachment.”
Davis County Sheriff Todd Richardson said he had not been briefed on the case Thursday and was unaware of the motion to suppress the statements.
Richardson did say his officers “receive extensive training” concerning interrogations and “they believed they had done the interview within the Constitutional rights of the individual.”
Deputy Davis County Attorney Ryan Perkins said he could not comment on the suppression motion because “of the seriousness of the case.”
Vidinhar is accused of stabbing to death his two younger brothers, Alex, 10, and Benjie, 4. The younger boys were found May 22 with multiple stab wounds, after their mother returned to their home. The boys’ bodies were found in the main parts of their home in West Point.
Vidinhar was found several hours later by Layton police as he walked down a street. He was taken into custody and booked in Farmington Youth Center on May 23.
The Davis County Attorney’s Office filed formal charges July 1, along with a motion asking the judge to certify the teenager as an adult.
The certification hearing has not taken place. Attorneys on both sides will have experts evaluate Vidinhar before the certification hearing takes place.
Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE.
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