LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – Two teens charged with killing a man in the Highlands in November 2017 have asked a judge to throw out their statements to investigators, arguing Louisville Metro Police detectives did not properly follow the law when interrogating the juveniles.
Travon Curry and Thaddius Thomas Jr., both now 16, were interviewed by police after they allegedly robbed and shot Jason Spencer as he was walking with his wife on Everett Avenue near Cherokee Triangle on Nov. 3, 2017. Spencer returned gunfire before he died, hitting Curry in the legs.
An attorney for Curry filed a motion in Jefferson Circuit Court Thursday arguing that when police spoke to the teen, he was in the hospital, on multiple medications, suffering from gunshot wounds and tied and handcuffed to a bed.
State law requires a juvenile’s parents be notified before being questioned by police, according to the motion, filed by defense attorney Karen Faulkner. And a juvenile can be held in custody for investigative purposes for only two hours, the motion argues.
Curry’s mother was not notified, even though she was at the hospital, and he was surrounded by officers for more than two hours, Faulkner claims. In addition, Curry was in no mental or physical condition to voluntarily waive his constitutional right to remain silent, she said.
“A child, in severe pain, on mind-altering pain medication, and hooked up to multiple machines was not in a position to make a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent statement to LMPD,” Faulkner wrote in the motion.
On Nov. 9, 2017, Thomas was interviewed by investigators at police headquarters for under two hours after agreeing to talk with a detective. However his attorney, Courtney Kellner, argues the detective did not follow proper procedures, including notifying a parent and fully explaining to the teen his rights.
While Thomas answered "Yes, sir" repeatedly as the detective read his Miranda rights, Kellner claims the "lack of actual responses to these questions" by Thomas "cannot be discounted" and, under the law, it is unclear he understood he was waiving his constitutional rights.
A hearing requesting Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens suppress the statements has been scheduled for Feb. 28.
It is unclear what the teens told police in their statements as earlier this year Louisville prosecutors ended a long-standing practice of filing evidence in criminal cases.
Now, the only way the public will see evidence involving a case is if the material happens to surface in a public court hearing, or through an open records request to the Louisville Metro Police Department, which would only be fulfilled after prosecutions have concluded.
Police arrested four teenagers in the murder and robbery of Spencer.
One of the juveniles, Demond Malone, pleaded guilty in October and agreed to testify against his co-defendants.
Malone agreed to an 18-year prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to criminal facilitation to murder, criminal facilitation to first-degree robbery, first-degree wanton endangerment, possession of a firearm by a minor and receipt of stolen property over $500.
Malone, 16, will remain in custody at the Department of Juvenile Justice until he turns 18 -- at which point he will be re-sentenced.
One other juvenile has not yet been named.
Copyright 2018 WDRB News. All rights reserved.