A jury sat in a Wake County courtroom earlier this week watching a videotaped interrogation. A Knightdale police officer and a North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agent were asking a suspect about his involvement in a January 2010 homicide. The suspect’s statements during that interrogation are the only evidence the prosecution has that he was involved in the crime at all.
The interrogation took place in September 2010. Police arrested the suspect and his roommate the following spring. Both were charged with homicide, armed robbery and obstructing justice in the death of the manager of a Knightdale Domino’s. Police charged a third man with the murder only to drop the charges later.
Investigators have no physical evidence to link the defendant to the crime. They have not found a weapon. No eyewitness has come forward. None of the forensic evidence at the crime scene implicated the defendant. All they have are his statements to the police.
The problem with his statements is that they conflict. The defendant initially said he was with someone at the time of the murder. That person told police that the defendant had called and asked her to be his alibi for the evening.
During the interrogation the defendant said he had been the lookout. He also admitted to lying before. He further explained that the victim first suggested the robbery. The victim “owed the pill man some money,” the defendant said, and the two men “started to joke around” about the idea. The defendant added that, during that conversation, the victim told the defendant to wait until closing to go in and “make it look like I got robbed.”
This is as much as the jury heard before court adjourned for the day. The remaining 40 minutes of the video were to be viewed the following day. The prosecution has been making its case for more than a week, though, again, the recording is the only evidence against the defendant.
Source: News & Observer, “Knightdale murder trial enters technical phase,” Paul A. Specht, Aug. 8, 2012
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