Dalton appeal will delay murder trial

KALAMAZOO, MICH. - The attorney for the Kalamazoo mass shooting suspect will file a motion Monday to delay proceedings while he seeks to appeal a judge's ruling.

Eusebio Solis of Battle Creek told the Enquirer Saturday he has alerted both Assistant Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeffrey Williams and Circuit Judge Alexander Lipsey that he wants to appeal the April ruling by Lipsey allowing as evidence statements by Jason Dalton following his arrest.

Dalton, 47, is charged with six counts of open murder and two counts of assault with intent to murder and weapons violations after he allegedly shot and killed six people and seriously wounded two others at three locations in Kalamazoo County on Feb. 20, 2016.

Jury selection for his circuit court trial was scheduled to begin June 5 and testimony on June 13 in Kalamazoo.

But Solis said Saturday he wants to challenge the ruling by Lipsey to allow most of a statement Dalton made to Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Officers the night of the shooting and a second one to a Michigan State Police Detective the following day.

Solis argued that police questioned Dalton even after he said he didn't want to speak with them and asked for an attorney.

The attorney argued that in the first interview Dalton "24 times in a variety of ways said he does not want to talk" and 15 times said he wanted to take the fifth, which refers to his right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

►Related: Judge: Some of Jason Dalton's interviews allowed in court

Kalamazoo detectives testified they were only questioning Dalton to learn if there were victims not known to the police.

Williams, the assistant prosecutor, told the judge there is a public safety exception to the Miranda rules which explain a defendant's right, including the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent.

Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting said after the hearing in April that the entire three-hour hearing should fall under the public safety exception.

In his ruling Judge Lipsey said he was troubled by that argument and said he would admit only a small portion of the first police interview.

"The judge said he was troubled by that first interview and that is an understatement," Solis said Saturday.

Solis also argued that a second interview conducted by a Michigan State Police Detective Kyle Gorham should never have begun because Dalton had asked for an attorney the night before and Gorham should have known it.

But Williams argued in April that the second interview was by a different officer from a different department and during the interview Dalton agreed to talk after initially declining.

Solis said that Gorham continued talking to Dalton about God and dogs and other topics until Dalton agreed to discuss the case and that conversation was  just another interrogation technique and should not have been permitted.

Solis said he Williams and the judge met last week to discuss the appeal and he doesn't' expect opposition to his motion for a stay so he can prepare and for money for assistance by an appeals attorney. Solis estimated the trial will be delayed two or three months.

Part of Monday's motion is to delay the trial while transcripts of the hearing and the judge's oral motion can be prepared and an experienced appeals attorney is appointed to assist Solis.

Once the motion and briefs are prepared they will be presented to the Michigan Court of Appeals. The court can either reject the request for for consideration of the  appeal or grant it and schedule arguments before making a decision.

Getting said on April 20 his office was happy with the judge's ruling on the Dalton statements but said the defense did have the opportunity to appeal.

"We are very happy with the decision  and legal decisions he made are easily justifiable," Getting said then. "We are anxious to get the process (trial) started but they (defense) are under no obligation and they can make an appeal."

Getting said the statements from Dalton included admissions which will be presented at the trial if permitted. And while Getting declined to comment on the statements, but in portions of interviews released earlier Dalton blamed the killings on the Uber ride-sharing app, saying the Iphone directed him where to go and when to shoot people. He said he saw a devil's head that took over his body.

Solis has notified the court he intents to present an insanity defense.

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© 2017 Battle Creek Enquirer


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