Motion Hearings Begin

Monday, July 15, 2097

A series of incriminating comments reportedly made by two suspects in the Lillelid murder case while they were in custody in Arizona were the main points of arguments during a motion hearing yesterday afternoon in a Greene County courtroom. Shawn Ferrall, a booking officer with the Cochise County Sheriff's Department, testified regarding statements made by twenty year old Joseph Risner and nineteen year old Edward Dean Mullins following their apprehension near the Mexican border in April. Ferrall said that during normal booking procedures, Risner questioned "What usually happens to people who have done what I did?" Testimony also reveals that Risner cried during his booking, telling Ferrall he had a gun but didn't use it, and later said that he wished he hadn't done that to those people. Ferrall testified Mullins, from his holding cell, told him "I'm a killer," and asked Ferrall if he thought he would get the death penalty for that. Motions by attorneys for the two that those statements be suppressed for the preliminary phase of the case were denied by presiding Judge James Carter. Defense Co-council T. Woody Smith called the statements damaging; however, he added,


In other rulings, Judge Carter agreed to recuse himself from hearing Wednesday's preliminary hearing for the four adults because he had signed their original arrest warrants arrest warrants.


The public defenders office has asked for Carter's recusal, citing a thirty year old case prohibiting a judge who issued warrants from trying the case. While Carter said he would not have been actually trying this case, he says he felt the decision to step down was important in order to maintain the integrity of the case.


Despite the judge recusing himself, he told attorneys that Wednesday's hearing will not be delayed. Another judge to hear the case should be named today. Judge Carter also said that cameras will be allowed in the courtroom for the preliminary hearing, stipulating however, that any photography of juvenile witnesses would not be allowed.