Ogden defense tries to suppress evidence
Attorneys in the case of Matthew Ogden, charged with first-degree murder in the homicide of his month-old daughter, began arguing defense motions Thursday to suppress statements and evidence.
The Parachute man’s charges stem from an incident in June 2015 when Ogden’s wife, Phyllis “Amy” Wyatt, woke in the night to see him violently shaking and screaming at their newborn daughter, Sarah.
Wyatt would later tell investigators that Ogden took Sarah into the next room, where she heard “horrific” pounding and thumping noises as he continued yelling.
A forensic pathologist would list the causes of death as a fractured skull, hemorrhaging to her brain and a lacerated liver.
Wyatt, too, faced charges in this case, and she pleaded guilty to negligent child abuse resulting in death. She’s serving an eight-year prison sentence.
The attorneys started Thursday with testimony concerning two defense motions: first to suppress statements Ogden made in interviews with investigators following his daughter’s death; second to throw out evidence from the warrantless searches of Ogden’s apartment and cellphone.
Parachute Police Officer Alexander Graham responded to Ogden’s apartment June 20 morning after police first got the call that Sarah was unresponsive.
He accompanied Sarah’s parents to the hospital, returned to their apartment later that day with Department of Human Services staffers – and on a third trip to Ogden’s residence in the same day assisted DHS is removing Sarah’s twin brother from the home.
The next day Graham ran into the couple at the Kum and Go in Silt, and Ogden said they were going camping somewhere in Eagle County, the officer testified. At that time Ogden asked if investigators knew the cause of death, Graham told the court.
Graham was also present for interviews with Ogden at the Garfield County sheriff’s annex two days after Sarah’s death.
Statements Ogden made in all these instances were obtained in violation of Ogden’s Miranda rights, according to the defense.
Public Defender Kori Zapletal also argued that Ogden suffers from multiple mental disorders – depression, anxiety, schizoaffective disorder – and had not taken his medications at the time of these interviews.
The defense has also sought to suppress evidence from warrantless searches of Ogden’s apartment and cellphone, saying these were improperly seized.
This evidence includes photos taken at the apartment (Sarah’s blanket, bottle and formula canister) and a forensics download from Ogden’s cellphone.
Though it wasn’t addressed Thursday, the defense has also filed a motion for change of venue in an attempt to seat an impartial jury.
Attorneys will return to district court Friday and Aug. 15 for two more motions hearings in this case.
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