LIMA – The attorney for a Lima man facing kidnapping, felonious assault and weapons charges argued Thursday that those counts should be dismissed because of “egregious” interrogation tactics employed by a Lima police detective that he claimed constituted little more than a personal vendetta.
Attorney Kenneth Rexford, representing Marquavius Shurelds, 28, made his case Thursday in Allen County Common Pleas Court that charges against his client should be dismissed due to comments made by LPD Detective Steve Stechschulte during the detective’s jailhouse interview of Alonzo Williams.
Williams initially had been described in court documents as a victim in the case, but Rexford said that due to ever-changing witness accounts surrounding an alleged robbery in Lima late last year that Williams may have played a slightly different role in the events of Dec. 2, 2018, than initially believed.
The defense attorney argued that any testimony that may be given by Williams at Shurelds’ trial was tainted when he was threatened by Stechschulte during an interview following the robbery. According to court documents, Shurelds conspired with Kiarris Laws and Lamont Jones to rob Dequaisha Wilson and Williams in an apartment in the 1500 block of Bradfield Drive. Wilson reportedly was forced inside the apartment by Shurelds, had her head covered with a blanket and was told she would be killed if she did not cooperate. Wilson told police that Shurelds had two guns in his possession at the time. She also said Williams, the father of her child, was lying motionless on the floor of the apartment and was bleeding profusely.
Also inside the apartment were Jones and Laws. Laws reportedly pointed guns at Williams and her infant child while the perpetrators discussed the fate of the victims in the case.
“Mr. Laws said they should kill them, however Mr. Jones argued to keep them alive,” court records show.
Rexford said additional evidence suggested that Williams may have been at another location at the time of the robbery, or may have been involved in a stabbing incident in Van Wert County involving an unidentified female.
But the attorney nonetheless focused on Stechschulte’s jail interview of Williams.
“During the interview, it was suggested to Mr. Williams that he had already given false statements and that he would be charged with contempt, perjury and obstruction,” Rexford said. “When Mr. Williams said he would like to have a lawyer, Stechschulte told him he couldn’t have a lawyer — which was incorrect — because he was a victim in the case.
“Then Mr. Williams was falsely told that he had no Fifth Amendment rights and was threatened with identity theft for using (another person’s) name. Detective Stechschulte then told him, ‘I’ll (expletive) you as hard as you want,’ and then threatened him with life in prison if he did not cooperate,” Rexford said.
“We think that violates the defendant’s right to due process because a defense witness has been tampered with and threatened.”
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Destiny Caldwell said the state “does acknowledge that Detective Stechschulte was upset at the end of the interview” with Williams, but contended that Williams “has not been intimidated or coerced.”
Rexford accused the state of attempting the “minimize” the interview.
“This is not just an over-zealous prosecution; it’s personal,” the attorney said.
Judge Terri Kohlrieser accepted into evidence a CD containing the interview between Stechschulte and Williams. She said she would rule on the defense motion within two weeks.
Williams, 28, was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of possession of heroin and one count of trafficking in heroin. Two other cases against Williams involving additional charges were unaffected by that sentencing.