Portion of Jason Dalton’s statements to police to be allowed at trial

A mug shot of Kalamazoo County shooting suspect Jason Dalton. (Michigan Dept. of Corrections)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Only some statements accused Kalamazoo mass shooting suspect Jason Dalton made to police will be allowed as evidence at his trial.

According to our media partners at Mlive.com, Kalamazoo County Circuit Court Judge Alexander C. Lipsey handed down the ruling Thursday, April 20. Lipsey ruled that the entirety of an interview Dalton had with a Michigan State Police detective will be allowed at trial, but only portions of an interview he had in the early morning of Feb. 21, 2016 with Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety detectives will be allowed.

Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting said he is happy with the ruling and will not appeal.

“In regard to the statement to the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Judge Lipsey has held that some, but not all of the portions of his statement are admissible during the course of the trial, specifically those portions of the questions related to other persons that may have been injured or in an emergency situation,” Getting said.

Getting said he wasn’t ethically allowed to identify the content of the interviews or the statements that will not be allowed at trial.

Lipsey heard arguments and testimony about the motion April 13 after a request by Dalton’s defense attorney, Eusebio Solis, to have two interviews police conducted with Dalton following the Feb. 20, 2016 shootings suppressed.

Dalton, 46, of Cooper Township, is accused of going on a shooting rampage that left six people dead and two seriously injured the night of Feb. 20 at three locations in Kalamazoo County. He faces six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder and eight felony firearm counts. He was found competent to stand trial in April and was ordered to stand trial in May. Solis has filed a notice to use the insanity defense.

Six people died in the mass shootings: Judy Brown, Barbara Hawthorne, Mary Jo Nye, Mary Lou Nye and Rich and Tyler Smith. Two people, Tiana Carruthers and Abigail Kopf, were injured and continue to recuperate.

Solis argued Kalamazoo Public Safety detectives and a Michigan State Police detective violated his constitutional rights in two separate interviews following the shootings. Solis argued in court April 13 Dalton told detectives 25 times he didn’t want to speak, and 15 times he used the word “Fifth” meaning the Fifth Amendment.

Kalamazoo County Assistant Prosecutor Jeff Wiliams argued the first interview conducted by Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety detectives was at a time when they had multiple victims at multiple crime scenes in the county and were under the reason to believe there could be other victims.

Williams said detectives didn’t stop questioning Dalton after he invoked his right to self-incrimination because the goal of the interview wasn’t to get evidence against Dalton, but rather to learn of the threat of public safety, which is an exception to the Miranda rule.

Williams also argued Dalton initially invoked his Fifth Amendment rights when being interviewed by Gorham, but later initiated a conversation about the investigation and waived his rights.

Lipsey denied Solis’ motion based on Dalton’s Sixth Amendment rights to a fair and speedy trial because he had not been formally charged before a judge at the time of the questioning. Lipsey also said, however, that he was “very troubled” by the line of questioning from KDPS detectives. He said it occurred “on the continued assertion of the defendant that he did not wish to talk,” Lipsey said.

“The court is very troubled by that particular course of comment.”

Lipsey said he would not allow testimony from the interviews related to the death of a child. He did not further elaborate.

The interviews in question, most of which will be allowed at trial, were included in information released by police last year as part of Freedom of Information Act requests.

This article was first seen on Mlive.com.

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