An Indiana boy who as a 12-year-old was convicted as an adult …
An Indiana boy who as a 12-year-old was convicted as an adult …
Paul Gingerich's attorneys argued Tuesday that statements …
A judge accepted Colt Lundy's plea deal Monday and sentenced …
A 12-year-old boy will spend six years in a juvenile detention …
Chase Williams, a 12-year-old boy who was charged with Aiding …
At a nearly two hour waiver hearing in Kosciusko County …
A 15-year-old and 12-year-old are both charged murder in the …
A 12-year-old and a 15-year-old are facing murder charges in …
Updated: Tuesday, 05 Oct 2010, 8:42 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 05 Oct 2010, 8:36 PM EDT
WARSAW, Ind. (WANE) - Paul Gingerich, 12, was in court Tuesday for a hearing about a motion to suppress statements he made to police in Illinois and Indiana.
Gingerich is facing murder and aiding in murder charges in Kosciusko County. Police said he and Colt Lundy, 15, killed Phillip Danner, 49, on April 20, 2010 in Danner's home. Police documents said Lundy, Gingerich and a 12-year-old boy then left in Danner's car. They were going to Arizona to sell T-shirts to "drug people," according to the documents, but were stopped by police in Peru, Illinois.
Police testimony said the boys were at a Wal-Mart around 4 a.m. on April 21and had a jar of change. The store manager thought it was odd that they were alone and called police. When police arrived, they found alcohol, marijuana and guns in the car, police said. The 12-year-old also told police that the other two boys had killed a man in Indiana, police said.
At question during the hearing on Tuesday was a motion to suppress the statements Gingerich made to Peru, IL police and Kosciusko County detectives on April 21.
"In Indiana, juveniles are given added rights and the juvenile should be given the opportunity to meet with a parent or guardian and discuss their rights under Miranda before being questioned by police," William Cohen, Gingerich's attorney, said.
Cohen and Fred Franco Jr., Gingerich's other attorney, argued that Gingerich's parents were not given a chance to discuss his Miranda rights with him.
Prosecutor Steve Hearn had the Peru, IL police officers act as agents for the state of Indiana and they therefore had to follow Indiana law rather than Illinois law.
Indiana law requires that when dealing with a juvenile police must notify the juvenile's parent, allow the parent to have a private conversation with his or her child, have the parent's permission to interview the child, present his or her Miranda rights and videotape the conversation.
Both in Illinois and Indiana, Gingerich's parents were able to talk with Gingerich privately before police questioned him, but Cohen and Franco contend that police didn't give the parents proper notification of Miranda rights before speaking with their son so they could go over them with him.
"Police did not give [Gingerich’s father] Miranda warning in writing to discuss with his son and it was never discussed with his son and therefore under Indiana law those statements have to be suppressed," Cohen said.
Prosecutor Hearn, however, argued that before speaking with his son, Paul Gingerich Sr., had already had a conversation with an attorney. The attorney advised Paul Gingerich Sr. that his son should not talk to police. However, after that phone conversation, he still gave Peru police permission to talk to his son. Hearn added that, "There's no magic piece of paper that has to be used. Mr. Gingerich was in charge and had already talked to an attorney. Miranda was complied with."
In a video played in court, a Peru police officer read the Miranda rights to Gingerich. He stated he understood them and signed the document saying he did.
A second video was played showing a Kosciusko County detective reading the Miranda rights to Gingerich before an interview in Indiana. Again, Gingerich stated he understood and signed the documents. His mother, Nicole Gingerich, was in the interview with him this time and in the video she also stated that she understood the rights.
In court Tuesday, however, Gingerich testified that he only understood some of it. When asked what he didn't understand he replied, "just the rights." But, he admitted in court that he never told police or his mother that he didn't understand his rights.
"Neither in Indiana or Illinois were the parents given the opportunity to talk to their son about his rights under Miranda. Certainly he couldn't be expected as a 12-year-old to understand his rights under Miranda," Cohen said.
Cohen and Franco also argued that police both in Illinois and Indiana didn't tell Gingerich's parents that Gingerich could possibly be charged with murder.
Hearn countered saying, "I've never heard of the law being you have to list possible charges. It was still in the investigatory stage. The investigation was focusing on what happened to Phillip Danner and [police] told [Gingerich's] parents they believe Paul knew what happened. There's no question the mother and father knew very well someone was shot, her son left with the stepson of the deceased and her son was somehow involved."
During his interview with police in Kosciusko County, Gingerich's mother was with him in the room and his father was watching a live video recording in another room.
oth testified in court that they knew they could stop the questioning at any time because a lawyer was not present. But, neither one stopped the interview.
Cohen and Franco also argued in court that Gingerich was too tired and hungry to be making police statements. Court testimony showed that within roughly 24 hours, Gingerich only slept about an
hour in the Peru police station. After dinner on April 20, he also only ate doughnuts and a McDonald's lunch at the Peru police station. So, by the time Kosciusko County police were questioning him, he was too tired and hungry.
Hearn countered that if Gingerich was truly too tired or hungry he would have said so, and he never stated that to police. His mother also didn't stop the interview because she thought her son was too tired.
"She never said to the officer it was time to stop. Who would be in a better position to know [that he was too tired]? It only comes up now with the lawyers," Hearn said.
Still, Cohen said the statements Gingerich made to police about where he was when Phillip Danner died were given in violation of the law.
"[Constitutional rights] were not met because the parents were not afforded the opportunity to discuss the nature of the charges and Miranda rights outside the presence of police. A young child cannot be expected to understand his rights at 12," Cohen said.
Hearn closed his arguments saying, "All of Paul's constitutional rights were given him and he, with the help of his parents, freely and voluntarily gave statements to the officers."
Judge Rex Reed didn't make a decision Tuesday.
"I thought the evidence went in well and Judge Reed is a fine judge and we leave it in his capable hands," Cohen said.
Gingerich's trial is still scheduled for February 2011.
Ground rules for posting comments: No profanity or personal attacks. No racially charged comments. If it's not something you would say to someone's face, it's most likely inappropriate. Please comment on the subject of the story itself. If you do not follow these rules, we will remove your post. Repeat offenders will be banned from making future comments. Keep it civil, folks! WANE is not responsible for the content posted in this comment section.