Judge Tosses Murder Suspect's Statements To PolicePosted: Updated:
Since Tyler Johnson was shot to death in his town of Pamelia home in May 2017, the Jefferson County District Attorney has scored murder convictions for Sammy Brown and Jamaal Carr. Devin Davis took a deal - pleading guilty to robbery in exchange for his testimony against the other suspects. Now, the case against Taylor Beckstead may have hit a snag.
Beckstead is charged with second-degree murder. If her case goes to trial, the prosecution won't be able to use statements she made to investigators last year against her.
According to court documents, Beckstead spoke with investigators on both May 18th, 2017, the day of the murder, and on July 18, 2017 in Virginia, where both Beckstead and Davis were found by police.
Jefferson County Court Judge Kim Martusewicz writes that when Beckstead was questioned on May 18 at the state police barracks in Watertown, she asked to leave several times and at one point investigators told her, "We can keep you here until we actually start to feel you're telling the truth."
The judge writes a "reasonable innocent person in the defendant's position would have thought they were in custody" and therefore she should have been read her Miranda rights and her statements on May 18 should be suppressed.
As for the statements Beckstead made when she was interviewed on July 18 in Virginia, the court found that Beckstead's statement was coerced by her assigned extradition attorney and therefore was involuntary and will be suppressed in a trial.
The judge further writes, the attorney said to Beckstead, "Taylor, you need to take a great big-handful-of-grow-the-f***-up-pills and this is big boy time. You need to come to the table with the truth. If you lie again, they are done with you," and then "at that point the defendant made various admissions of guilt about the planning and her participation in the robbery."
Also in the decision, the court will not be able to use anything found in a search of Beckstead's car, but that evidence obtained through a search warrant of Beckstead's GPS on her car will be able to be used.
7 News reached out to the DA and the assigned extradition attorney for comment, but we haven't heard back.