LIMA — A 20-minute gap in a recorded interrogation and a detective’s failure to obtain a murder defendant’s signature waiving his Constitutional rights are not enough to toss out statements to police, a judge ruled Monday.
Allen County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Reed ruled Raymond Collins voluntarily spoke to police about the January strangulation death of his girlfriend, Teresa Burge. The judge also ruled, based on testimony from Lima Police Detective Scott Leland, Collins waived his Constitutional rights.
Collins, 51, is charged with murder in the death of the 43-year-old Burge. She was found dead in her home at 1119 E. Holmes Ave., on Jan. 27. She had been dead a few days. Police said Collins strangled her.
Collins' attorney, Jerry Pitts, sought to suppress three statements Collins made to police. Two of the statements were at St. Rita’s Medical Center where Collins was being treated for three stab wounds. A third statement was in a Lima Police interrogation room and partially recorded on video.
During a hearing last week, Pitts jumped on Leland after Leland struggled to remember exactly why he didn’t have Collins sign a release form waiving his Constitutional rights, also known as a Miranda warning.
Pitts also raised questions about 20 minutes of a missing recorded statement with Collins. Leland told Pitts the equipment was older and sometimes didn’t work.
“The Constitution does not require that an interrogation be tape recorded,” Reed wrote in his ruling.
Reed further said the waiver of Miranda rights may be inferred from actions and words of the person interrogated. Collins never requested an attorney and never asked to stop any of the three interviews, the judge ruled.
Leland told the judge he verbally advised Collins of his Miranda rights.
In addition to those statements, anything Collins told his treating doctor that was overheard by a Lima Police patrol officer sitting next to him in a hospital room can be used as evidence, the judge ruled.
Reed also ruled bloody clothing found lying on the floor of Collins’ hospital room was allowed into evidence. The judge said police did not need a warrant to seize the clothing.
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