Suspect wants statement tossed

2013-09-25T05:00:00Z 2014-02-05T23:00:02Z Suspect wants statement tossedBY BECKY MALKOVICH, The Southern The Southern
September 25, 2013 5:00 am  • 

BENTON — Court proceedings continue to move quickly toward an Oct. 8 trial date for the man accused of killing a woman in Benton last May.

Donald Lee, 39, Elkville, is charged with murder in the May 17 death of Brittany Andrews, 23 of Bonnie. Andrews was found on the parking lot of a Benton business at 10:30 p.m., suffering from a gunshot to the head. She was pronounced dead less than an hour later at Franklin Hospital.

The case is on a fast track through pre-trial proceedings because Lee waived his right to a speedy trial only until Oct. 8.

He was in Franklin County court Tuesday for hearings on motions filed by his attorneys, Bryan Drew and T.J. Parrish.

One motion asked the court to suppress statements Lee made during an initial interview with police after the shooting.

During that interview, police testified, Lee was at first agitated and aggressive and then appeared to pass out on the floor of the interview room. An ambulance was called but turned away when he was roused and put in a chair.

He fell out of the chair at least once, needed aid to walk to a bathroom and seemed disoriented.

Drew argued that Lee did not knowingly and voluntarily waive his Miranda Rights because of those factors.

He also said questioning should have stopped after Lee said during the interview, “Either charge me or let me go or get me a lawyer or do whatever you need to do.”

Franklin County State’s Attorney Evan Owens said a recording of the interview showed Lee did not wish to remain silent and that the “get me a lawyer” statement was mischaracterized.

“He didn’t want to stop talking,” Owens said. “He was speaking voluntarily. He didn’t invoke his right to remain silent. He kept talking.”

In fact, Owens said, Lee wants the interview thrown out “because he likes the stories he told later (in subsequent interviews) better.”

Owens also argued that Lee did not need medical attention but had consumed alcohol before he was taken into custody. He became more coherent by the time police took his statement, Owens said.

Judge Thomas Tedeschi said he would rule on the motion to suppress as well as other motions as soon as possible.

Lee’s final pre-trial conference is scheduled for Thursday.

beckymalk@gmail.com

618-927-5633

On Twitter: @beckymalkovich

Copyright 2015 The Southern. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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