August 21, 2012
LIMA — The attorney representing a man accused of strangling his girlfriend questioned a police detective Tuesday concerning 20 minutes of recording that were missing on a video recorded statement.
Attorney Jerry Pitts also questioned Lima Police Detective Scott Leland on why he did not have Pitts’ client, Raymond Collins, sign forms waiving constitutional rights as he did during the third interview with 20 minutes missing.
“He was not in a position he was capable to sign it at the time,” Leland said.
Pitts asked the detective to explain exactly what position that was that prevented Collins from signing the forms.
“I don’t know specifically,” Leland said.
Leland said the first two interviews with Collins were at St. Rita’s Medical Center where he was being treated for three stab wounds. Leland said he did comply with the requirement to inform Collins of his constitutional rights, known as a Miranda warning, but did not have him sign the form.
Pitts told Judge Jeffrey Reed that police obtained Collins’ signature at the hospital to obtain his medical records with no problem but somehow were unable to get his signature waiving his constitutional rights.
Collins, 51, of 1119 E. Holmes Ave., is charged with murder in the slaying of 43-year old Teresa Burge. Police officers found her dead in her home at 1119 E. Holmes Ave. on Jan. 27. She had been dead for a few days, police said.
Officers became aware of Burge’s death after an employee of St. Rita’s Medical Center called to say a man at the hospital said he strangled his girlfriend, a detective said. Officers checked the house and found her dead. The detective said Collins confessed to hurting her.
Pitts asked Leland about the 20-minute gap in the recording, which Leland said was because of older recording equipment that has on/off buttons that don’t always work. He said there wasn’t much missing during the 20 minutes, which he said was mostly social discussion instead of specifics about the case.
The sides will present written closing arguments to the judge, who will issue a ruling sometime after that as whether to allow the statements into evidence.
Reed also has to determine whether bloody clothing police took from Collins at the hospital can be used as evidence. Police took it without a warrant.
Reed also ruled Judge Richard Warren will hear a motion to suppress evidence obtained in a search warrant since Reed signed the search warrant for the search of the home. A hearing has not been set for yet.
Pitts also wants to suppress any discussions Collins had with his doctor, which were heard by an officer standing guard over Collins. That officer sat next to Collins and heard him explain to his doctors how he received the injuries and what took place at his home, presumingly involving the death of Burge.
Before court ended, Pitts briefly mentioned other motions they may have to deal with on possible defenses he could use at trial such as “battered men’s syndrome” and self-defense.
A trial date has not been set but Collins is expected to stand trial sometime this fall.