Coerced and therefore unrealiable / Defense tries to dismiss confession of second defendant in Perry murder

Sep 5 2009 - 11:30pm

BRIGHAM CITY -- The defense is calling coerced and therefore unreliable the alleged confession of the second defendant in the 1984 murder of Bradley Newell Perry.

Prosecution of the case, solved 21 years after the fact by DNA taken from a bloody dollar bill at the crime scene, is now in its fifth year.

Progress has been slowed by the many motions a death penalty case draws, even though prosecutors have dropped the death penalty from Maughan's case.

In the statement the defense wants thrown out, Maughan says Glenn Howard Griffin bludgeoned and stabbed Perry to death in the early morning hours as Perry worked at a gas station at Brigham City's south end.

In the statement, read at Maughan and Griffin's preliminary hearings, Maughan told police an argument over correct change turned violent as Griffin attacked Perry and told Maughan he'd kill him too if he didn't help restrain Perry.

Maughan took the stand at Griffin's trial, but refused to testify. Rules of evidence at trial don't allow reading of a statement into the record.

For that refusal, Maughan has been charged with obstruction of justice. Trial on those charges will follow his murder trial, yet to be set.

Griffin was convicted last fall without Maughan's testimony. A jury rejected execution and he is now serving life without parole in the Utah State Prison.

In the motion to suppress the Nov. 3, 2005, statement Maughan gave to police, defense attorneys Rich Mauro and Scott Williams say the tactics of police that day violated Maughan's constitutional rights in their "techniques, methodology and manner." Detectives used "ploys and tactics that courts and experts in the field have long condemned," reads the motion filed in July.

A hearing on the motion before 1st District Judge Ben Hadfield is set for Dec. 1-2.

"We're in the process of preparing a response is about the only appropriate comment I could make," Box Elder County Attorney Steve Hadfield said. "We'll argue it in December."

Problems cited in the motion to throw out the confession include claims that Maughan was not read his Miranda rights until after he confessed, two hours into the interrogation.

The tactics of Box Elder County Sheriff's detectives Scott Cosgrove and Scott Lewis included at first suggesting theories by which Maughan was involved in the murder, then talking about how it's understandable Maughan would "block out" memory of the murder, according to the suit.

The officers then said they understood why Maughan would be afraid of Griffin and that "a good guy like Wade would never do this intentionally."

The tactics then change as Maughan is accused of lying, and is threatened with a "death warrant," meaning execution, according to the suit. They leave the interview room, returning to say they'd called the county attorney about the warrant, suggesting admission to the crime would look better to the prosecutor. They also tell Maughan that Griffin will pin the murder on him.

"The officers suggested scenarios which Mr. Maughan adopted as his own," the suit reads.

The motion quotes a 1964 U.S. Supreme Court decision in saying, "We have learned the lesson of history, ancient and modern, that a system of criminal law enforcement which comes to depend on the 'confession' will, in the long run, be less reliable and more subject to abuse than a system which depends on extrinsic evidence independently secured through skillful investigation."

The interview now in question took place in Spokane, Wash., where Maughan lived at the time. Cosgrove and Lewis were assisted by Spokane police.

Maughan was arrested and charged shortly after the interview.

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