LIMA — Any evidence investigators found inside a man’s house, including the body of a woman, can be used against him at trial, a judge ruled Thursday.
Judge Richard Warren refused to suppress evidence found at the home of Raymond Collins on Jan. 27, that included the body of his girlfriend, Teresa Burge. Collins, 51, is charged with murder in her death.
Warren ruled police are allowed to enter the home without a warrant in an emergency especially after Collins told police he strangled his girlfriend inside the house.
“Officers do not need ironclad proof of a serious injury to evoke emergency aid,” Warren said. “The circumstances demand a law enforcement officer enter the property.”
Although officers entered the house initially to check on the well-being of the 43-year-old Burge, Detective Kent Miller of the Lima Police Department said officers left the house after determining Burge was dead and sought a search warrant despite having Collins' permission to go inside and search the home.
A receptionist at St. Rita’s Medical Center testified Thursday that Collins told her and a therapist he thought his girlfriend was dead. He said he strangled her, she said.
Collins’ statements led St. Rita’s officials to call the Lima Police Department, she said.
Burge was found dead inside the home at 1119 E. Holmes Ave. She had been strangled and dead for a few days, police officials said.
Collins is scheduled to stand trial Nov. 6. A final pretrial hearing was scheduled for Oct. 15.
Last month, a judge ruled statements Collins made to officers about Burge’s death can be used against him.
Collins’ attorney, Jerry Pitts, said at an earlier hearing he may used a claim of self-defense at trial. Collins was at the hospital seeking treatment for stab wounds when he told hospital staff he killed his girlfriend.