Ogden defense seeks evidence suppression | PostIndependent.com

Ogden defense seeks evidence suppression

Ryan Summerlin
rsummerlin@postindependent.com
Matthew Ogden

Attorneys in the case of Matthew Ogden, the Parachute man charged with first-degree murder in the death of his month-old daughter, finished arguments Wednesday after four days of hearings on pretrial motions.

Judge John Neiley may rule within the week on defense motions to exclude evidence and statements from Ogden’s trial, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 26.

Ogden’s month-old daughter, Sarah, died in June of last year. The death was ruled a homicide.

His wife, Phyllis “Amy” Wyatt, told investigators she saw Ogden violently shaking their child the night before the infant would be pronounced dead, and she heard pounding and thumping in the next room where he was continuing the yell at Sarah.

A forensic pathologist found that Sarah had died from a fractured skull, hemorrhaging to her brain and lacerations to her liver.

Ogden and Wyatt fled Colorado after the death and Sarah’s twin brother was put in protective care. They were arrested in Minnesota.

On Wednesday the attorneys argued a defense motion to suppress statements Ogden made to investigators in interviews following Sarah’s death.

Two days after Sarah’s death, Ogden was asked to speak with investigators at the Garfield County sheriff’s Rifle annex.

The defense has argued that this day-long series of interviews should be excluded from trial for a number of reasons – chief among them was that investigators took advantage of Ogden’s mental illness to elicit incriminating statements.

Public Defender Kori Zapletal argued that though Ogden had signed a waiver of his Miranda rights, he had not done so voluntarily.

Zapletal said investigators did not ask Ogden to sign the waiver until midway through the interviews, and that Ogden was in no mental state to sign the waiver.

The defense also argues that, though Ogden was never handcuffed or arrested, the totality of the circumstances of these interviews would have led him to believe he was in custody.

Zapletal noted Ogden’s isolation during these interviews – he was unable to drive away from the annex and he was denied access to his wife – but the prosecution said investigators repeatedly reminded Ogden that he was free to go anytime he wanted.

Attorneys also briefly argued on a defense motion to suppress evidence that was collected from Ogden’s apartment, including Sarah’s blanket, when the chief deputy coroner was conducting his investigation.

This evidence was obtained before investigators were aware that any crime had occurred, pointed out Deputy District Attorney Matthew Barrett, so there was also no search warrant for these items.

Neiley has not issued orders in these motions, but said Wednesday that he’ll be working to get them out promptly, possibly even within the next week.

Other motions in this case include another evidence suppression motion, which focuses on evidence seized via a search warrant, and a motion to change venues for the trial.