OGDEN — A then-16-year-old suspect in an Ogden murder case was detained and likely held for over 10 hours, declining food offers from police, according to testimony and interview footage played in court Wednesday.
Prosecutors and counsel for Daniel G. Garcia, 17, were in court Wednesday afternoon to argue the admissibility of evidence against the teen. He's facing a first-degree felony murder charge along with other felonies.
Garcia's attorney, Emily Swenson, filed a motion in July to suppress evidence obtained by police, alleging police acted illegally to obtain the passcode to Garcia's phone and obtained a "non-voluntary statement" after "several grueling hours of interrogation by a team of officers," according to the court filing.
During the Wednesday hearing, members of law enforcement testified as to what happened after Garcia was taken to the Ogden Police Department the day after 47-year-old Ogden woman Maria Sanchez was shot and killed in her home while she slept.
Then-detective Mark Ramsey, who has since retired from the Ogden Police, testified that he detained Garcia after staking out his Ogden home on Aug. 14, 2017. Ramsey took Garcia's phone and asked for the passcode so police could search it, Garcia complied and gave the passcode to access the phone. Garcia was said to be a suspect in the shooting when he was detained by Ramsey.
Swenson's suppression motion alleged that Ramsey told Garcia if he did not give the phone's passcode, Garcia would be charged with obstruction of justice. Ramsey denied the allegation when pressed by prosecutor Teral Tree.
Swenson later questioned Ramsey, who said that he did not have a search warrant at the time he acquired the passcode.
Later, a detective from the OPD's Real Time Crime Center described what it would take to unlock the iPhone without a password. OPD Detective Elijah Swensen said police normally use a tech service called Cellebrite to unlock phones, which costs over a $1,000 for each phone and does not guarantee how quickly the phone will be unlocked.
Another Ogden detective, Reed Mackley, took the stand. He questioned Garcia minutes after he arrived at the Ogden police station.
Swenson's motion alleged that Garcia was held without food for hours, and was later promised a lunch if he went with investigators to search for the murder weapon. Mackley testified that he offered Garcia food multiple times, but he declined the offers. Mackley denied the allegation that he bribed Garcia with lunch if he agreed to held police search for the gun.
After police and Garcia could not locate the murder weapon, Garcia was placed in a different examination room with two granola bars and a cold bag of fast food left in the room from earlier in the day.
The hearing was cut off when the clock struck 5 p.m., and Judge Jennifer Valencia continued the hearing to Dec. 20. Mackley, Swensen and Ramsey were not dismissed, meaning they can be called on later to continue their testimony.
Valencia did not rule Wednesday whether or not evidence from the phone and Garcia's post-Miranda confession could be used in court. Those decisions will likely be ruled upon at the December hearing.