OGDEN -- The taped confession authorities have talked about for almost five years is finally getting its public airing in the ongoing prosecution of Box Elder County's 26-year-old murder case.
The tape could be a seminar in police interrogation or, as the defense claims, a textbook example of a coerced confession.
Bradley Newell Perry was bludgeoned and stabbed to death May 26, 1984, in the gas station where he worked on U.S. 89, south of Brigham City.
The case went unsolved until 2005, when DNA linked a bloody dollar bill from the crime scene to Glenn Howard Griffin, currently serving life without parole in Utah State Prison after a jury convicted him of Perry's murder.
Wade Maughan, a Griffin pal in the 1980s, was arrested later in 2005 as a co-defendant, based on his admissions to police. His case, slowed by pretrial motions, has finally gone to trial.
The prosecution and the defense agreed to move the trial to 2nd District Court in Ogden and a Weber County jury because of the many years of pretrial publicity.
Maughan's Nov. 3, 2005, video- and audiotaped confession was played in court Wednesday. It was the first public airing of the confession, as it was inadmissible at Griffin's trial under rules of evidence regarding co- defendant testimony.
Maughan is seen on the tape made at the police department in Spokane, Wash., the city where he lived at the time, as he is questioned by two Box Elder County sheriff's detectives, Scott Cosgrove and Scott Lewis.
During Wednesday morning's trial session, Maughan on the tape immediately tells the officers he's never seen Griffin do anything violent. Griffin was already charged in the murder, and Maughan knew why the detectives wanted to talk to him.
But the officers draw him out, beginning to pressure Maughan with the bluff that 150 fingerprints from the crime scene are being examined.
Five minutes into the interview, Maughan admits he had been to the convenience store where Perry was killed with Griffin during the early 1980s.
The officers begin to show Maughan bloody crime scene photos while stressing they expect Griffin, facing the death penalty, to start naming accomplices.
"Glenn says we need to talk to you," Lewis tells Maughan, another bluff.
"If I was with him that night, I was probably drunk," Maughan says.
Then he recalls Griffin coming to his home in Logan that night, shaking, saying he'd gotten into a fight with "a store guy," stabbing him with a screwdriver after an argument over correct change. "Glenn said he didn't know if he was still alive."
Maughan also offers: "If he (Griffin) says I was with him, I may have been with him ... If I was there, I probably didn't get out of the truck."
The officers suddenly change gears, getting Maughan to talk about who he knew in the Brigham City area back then, and even begin to act as though the interview is over, thanking Maughan for talking to them.
Then they begin to apply pressure again.
The officers, about 40 minutes into the hourlong tape, directly accuse Maughan of being in the Texaco station, now a Sinclair, with Griffin when Perry was killed.
"You can get this off your chest," Lewis tells Maughan. "Have you ever had a sliver? ... They hurt. It's time to get it out."
Maughan responds, "I'm still trying to find it."
Maughan's court-appointed defense team, Rich Mauro and Scott Williams, well-known Salt Lake City defense attorneys, have previously tried to have the tape thrown out as an inadmissible coerced confession.
First District Judge Ben Hadfield has denied those efforts.
Mauro and Williams have said those denials will be issues on appeal if Maughan is convicted.
At one point on the tape, Maughan tells the detectives, "It's probably better if you tell me what I did."
Cosgrove had just told Maughan that once they "went to court" in Griffin's case, they couldn't make Maughan any deals for his testimony, another bluff.
Lewis went so far as to tell Maughan he'd just gotten off a cell phone with a prosecutor and Maughan needed to come clean immediately.
"If we come back up here, it's with a death penalty warrant for you."
The threat was one of the lynchpins in the defense suppression efforts.
Maughan eventually tells the officers Griffin threatened to kill him if he didn't help him restrain Perry when he was killed.
The trial runs through Friday, then reconvenes next week from Wednesday through Friday.