Judge rejects Ogden suppression motions
Judge John Neiley has denied several defense motions to suppress statements and evidence in the upcoming trial of Matthew Ogden, the Parachute man facing first-degree murder in the death of his month-old daughter.
Ogden’s wife, who pleaded guilty to negligent child abuse resulting in death in December, told investigators that she awoke one night to see Ogden violently shaking daughter Sarah.
Her cause of death would be found as a fractured skull, hemorrhaging to her brain and a lacerated liver.
Ogden faces first-degree murder of a victim under 12, a class 1 felony, and child abuse resulting in death, a class 2 felony.
The judge’s orders follow three and a half days of hearings.
Phyllis “Amy” Wyatt, the mother, pleaded guilty of criminally negligent child abuse resulting in death and was sentenced to eight years in prison. The couple fled Colorado a few days after Sarah’s death, but were arrested in Minnesota.
Ogden’s defense had filed motions to suppress statements he made in interviews with investigators, evidence seized though a warrantless search and evidence taken by investigators later with a search warrant.
After Sarah was pronounced dead at Grand Valley Hospital, a Parachute police officer and the deputy chief coroner went to Ogden’s apartment to investigate the baby’s death.
They took evidence from the apartment without a warrant, but the court found that Ogden consented to this search and seizure.
The defense argued to exclude the evidence, which included body camera footage, a blanket and baby formula. Ogden was also seeking suppression of evidence from his cell phone.
Parachute Officer Alexander Graham said the phone had important photos of Sarah taken the night before her death.
Neiley found that Ogden had consented to the search of the phone as well, and they later got a warrant.
The defense also sought to suppress evidence obtained via search warrants that were executed in the days following Sarah’s death. These were also for Ogden’s apartment, allowing investigators to seize “blood, saliva, DNA evidence, defendant’s cell phone, weapons, sheets, blankets and pillowcases, and any other evidence of homicide, ” as well as the mattress and box springs, according to Neiley’s order.
This suppression motion too was denied, the judge finding no defect with the search warrants or affidavits.
Neiley also denied the motion to suppress Ogden’s statements to investigators, expect for one section, during which he said the couldn’t go on with the interview while he was being advised of his Miranda rights.
Out the full day of interviews investigators had with Ogden two days after Sarah’s death, Neiley suppressed about 20 minutes worth, saying that Ogden should have been given his rights for this section.
“The court finds that this interview was custodial interrogation” — that a reasonable person would consider him or herself to be in custody, wrote the judge.
Ogden told officers that he was under too much stress, that he was fighting off seizures, but the officers continued the interview anyway, wrote Neiley. The interview became more intense with investigators describing the cause of Sarah’s death, becoming accusatory and suggesting the possibilities of jail time and the Department of Human Services taking Ogden’s surviving child, wrote the judge.
The prosecution will not be allowed to use this interview during the trail. However, should Ogden take the stand to testify, the prosecutors could use these statements for impeachment.
Neiley has also denied a motion to relocate the upcoming trial, according to the district attorney’s office. The defense argued the level of publicity in this case would make it impossible to seat a fair and impartial jury.
Ogden’s trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 26.
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