Defense: Charlottesville police violated homicide suspect's rights - The Daily Progress: Crime

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Defense: Charlottesville police violated homicide suspect's rights

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Posted: Monday, September 9, 2013 10:44 pm | Updated: 11:00 am, Mon Nov 25, 2013.

Wanda Turner’s defense team argued Monday that Charlottesville police violated her Miranda rights when they interviewed her in March 2012, after arresting her and charging her with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Robert “Eddie” Snead, 51.

Turner, 48, stabbed Snead multiple times in a fight at his Fairway Avenue home, and then took a Greyhound to Norfolk to avoid capture, authorities said.

She also faces robbery, credit card fraud and four counts of credit card forgery stemming from the incident.

Turner’s defense asked that two transcripts of the interview, and physical evidence police found in a dumpster as a result of the interview, be suppressed in her upcoming trial.

Defense attorney Dean Lhospital argued that Charlottesville detectives James Mooney and William A. Newberry ignored Turner invoking her right to remain silent twice during the course of a more than two-hour interview on March 5, 2012, hours after her arrest.

He also argued that Turner did not adequately understand that a document she signed acknowledging that she understood her rights and agreeing to speak to police constituted a waiver of her right to remain silent.

Police told Turner at the beginning of the interview that she could stop talking to them at any point, a video of the interview showed.

A short while into the interview, Turner told Newberry “I ain’t got nothing else to say, man. I ain’t got nothing to say,” a transcript read in court showed.

She then expressed disbelief that her then-partner Karen Nash gave police a detailed, damning description of her behavior around the time of Snead’s murder, the transcript read.

Newberry continued talking to Turner after her she mentioned Nash, documents showed.

Lhospital argued Newberry should have stopped questioning Turner when she said she didn’t want to talk any more.

Charlottesville Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Elizabeth Killeen argued that the statement about Nash was Turner continuing the conversation, negating her previous statement that she did not want to talk.

“She follows up, she follows up, she did not cut the conversation,” Killeen told the court.

Lhospital argued that Turner’s statement about Nash was a separate thought; an expression of disbelief not connected to her desire to stop speaking to police.

Turner said she didn’t want to keep talking again later in the interview, but police did not immediately hear it.

An hour into the interview, Turner was crying and had her head on her arms and said she didn’t want to keep talking, but police said her words just sounded like crying.

Mooney originally thought he heard her say she did not want to keep talking, but convinced himself he was mistaken after Newberry continued questioning Turner, he testified.

Later, Mooney had an independent court reporter transcribe the interview from an enhanced tape, which edited out background noise and raised the volume of voices on the tape. In the enhanced tape, Turner said “I don’t want to talk no more.”

Judge Paul Peatross told the court he would read both transcripts again and watch the taped interview before making a decision. He did not set a date for the decision.

Turner’s trial in Charlottesville Circuit Court is scheduled to begin in November, records showed.

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