Tuesday, January 4, 2011
The man accused of brutally beating a toddler to death was back in court today. Chad Carr is charged with first degree felony murder in the March death of 19 month-old Vincent Hill.
Carr made a number of incriminating statements in the presence of police officers after Hill's death, but they weren't in a formal interview setting. The defense says it doesn't matter. He should have been advised of his rights.
"There are basically three times when law enforcement talked to him," explains Harvey County Attorney David Yoder.
All of those times were before Carr had been advised of his rights to silence and to have an attorney. Yoder says the officers were attempting to find out information about the boy and his injuries... not questioning Carr about a potential crime or investigation.
"Obviously, those were made without Miranda rights or him being in custody," Yoder said. "So the question comes down to the admissibility of those statements, and then the subsequent interview at the Harvey County Sheriff's Department and another interview two days later."
The defense argued that one police officer began investigating after the boy had been taken to the hospital and nobody ever advised Carr that he could not leave. Even though they never said Carr was under arrest or advised him of his Miranda rights, they never told him he wasn't under arrest either.
The case is scheduled to go to trial by the end of the month. But, the court has also requested a settlement conference to see if a plea deal can be reached.
"In a case like this where murder is charged, there's really not a whole lot of room for negotiation," Yoder said. "The court decided to schedule a settlement conference on this case on its own to determine if the matter could be resolved."
The decision on the motion to suppress Carr's statements is expected on Thursday after Judge Richard Walker has a chance to look at the formal interview that was done by the KBI.
Carr has retained local attorney Charlie O'Hara. O'Hara declined to comment after the hearing.