Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Confession Suppressed In Rape Murder Case

From KNOX News:

ATHENS, Tenn. - A state appellate court has ruled that a McMinn County man was not allowed counsel and may have been coerced into giving a confession that he raped and murdered his 14-month-old daughter.

The Court of Criminal Appeals ruling released Thursday upholds a trial court's ruling to throw out the confession of Mitchell Delashmitt in the attacks on Angel Delashmitt.
Sheriff's deputies were called to the Delashmitt McMinn County home on June 19, 2003, after he reported finding his daughter's body floating in a pond.

I know enough about confessions to understand why this ruling was made. One issue is related to this man being questioned without his attorney. The other issue is the validity of this confession.

It's troubling that the man responded to questions with simple yes or no responses and then the deputies composed the confession and had the man sign it. There is no evidence in this scenario that the man fully understood what he was agreeing with and what he was signing.

Since this confession is listed as the main evidence in this case that raises additional questions about the thoroughness of the investigation.

Investigators who aggressively attempt to get confessions from suspects are likely to use the same techniques to get recantations from those they don't believe to be real rape victims. Cases do get closed faster, but faster is bad when the result leads to an incorrect or unreliable result or when the result leads to valid evidence being thrown out.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:12 AM   2 comments links to this post


At August 13, 2008 7:19 AM, Anonymous Cara said...

Exactly. And what if this guy is guilty? It means that the investigators who compelled this confession certainly didn't help the prosecution but actually hurt it.

At August 13, 2008 2:32 PM, Blogger Kaethe said...

Or hey, what if Angel's mother has been told that her baby was raped and murdered because of the coerced confession and an autopsy report? And then we discover that the former Bradley County medical examiner was either incompetent or deceitful, and the state's chief medical examiner says the toddler died by drowning and there was no evidence that she was abused at all?

What a mess. The idea that they've been vigorously pursuing a non-existent crime, torturing not just the poor bastard but also the mother of the toddler. The whole mess is sickening.


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