Judge: Suspect's statement can be used at trial
HUNTINGTON -- A statement leaned upon by investigators to explain motive in a double homicide from last year can be used at trial.
Cabell Circuit Judge Paul T. Farrell made that ruling Thursday in a case that charges two Huntington men with the shooting deaths of two Detroiters. The incident occurred at about 10:30 a.m. Nov. 6, 2012, at 1939 Foster Ave., a residence described in court documents and testimony as a drug house that contained a significant amount of heroin.
Prior testimony credits defendant Rocky Hudson Williams, 19, with telling police he and alleged accomplice Thomas Maurice White, 21, went to the house to get heroin. White went upstairs, and gunshots soon followed. Williams, who remained downstairs, then fired shots of his own upon hearing the initial gunfire and seeing White's bloodstained leg.
Williams' attorney, John Laishley, argued the statement should not be allowed due to his client having asked for an attorney. Testimony from Thursday's hearing indicates the police interview stopped upon Williams making that request. Questioning resumed approximately 15 minutes later when Williams asked to speak with the detectives once again.
Huntington Police Cpl. Ryan Bentley testified neither he nor his partner, Detective Chris Sperry, had time to call an attorney before Williams reconsidered. A video recording played for the judge documents that Bentley reminded Williams of his rights prior to the second round of questioning.
That explanation satisfied Farrell.
Laishley noted his objection in response. He cited Williams asking Bentley how long he would have to wait for an attorney. The detective replied saying he had no control over such matters, according to the recorded statement.
"What value is it to request a lawyer, if the police are not even going to call for one?" Laishley argued.
The shootings killed Darrell Fugua, 22, and DeVante Penn, 17. Police found Fugua dead in an upstairs hallway with gunshot wounds to the buttocks and back of his head. Penn, found critically injured on a downstairs couch, died at a hospital days later.
White also appeared in court Thursday. His attorney, Tim Rosinsky, referred to the double homicide as a "big forensics case." He said both sides are waiting on evidence to be analyzed at the State Police crime lab. Farrell offered any assistance he can provide in pushing state officials to expedite those results.
The 11-count indictment additionally charges Williams with seven counts of possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver and a single count of carrying a concealed deadly weapon. Those allegations occurred between June 2 and Sept. 14.
Trial for the two defendants is set for June 25. They are detained at separate regional jails -- Williams in South Charleston and White in Barboursville.
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