With a trial only two weeks away, attorneys for accused murderer Tevin H. Jackson are asking Madison County Common Pleas Judge Eamon Costello to throw out key evidence in the case.
Jackson, 25, a London native, is accused of killing William Benson during a home invasion robbery at Lamplight Court apartments in the city on Jan. 22. He is also charged with the death of Justin Coffey, his alleged accomplice in the robbery turned gunfight.
Jackson’s trial date is set for Oct. 1.
During a hearing on Monday, lead defense attorney Jon Rion accused London police officers and Madison County Sheriff’s deputies of failing to obtain proper search warrants for Jackson’s phone records, bloody clothing and DNA swabs that tied him to the London crime scene.
Jackson has argued that he was not one of the two masked invaders at Lamplight Court.
Jackson turned up severely wounded at Springfield Regional Medical Center in the early morning hours of Jan. 23. However, he told police and medical personnel that he was shot by an unknown assailant as he sat in his car on Springfield’s south side.
Pivotal evidence in the case are call records from a cell phone number that officers believed belonged to Coffey.
Neither London officers Donovan Cooper nor Greg Perkins could say on Monday how they came by the number. But since Coffey died in the attack, no warrant was necessary to search the phone’s records, prosecutor Steve Pronai said.
That search turned up a number used by Jackson. With that knowledge, officers could then track Jackson’s whereabouts before and after the shooting as he allegedly fled toward Springfield.
It also showed the phone was not registered to Coffey, but instead was on Jackson’s account – putting the warrantless search in question.
But assistant county prosecutor Nick Adkins said officers’ belief that the number was the dead man’s superseded their need for a warrant.
Rion also argued Springfield police confiscated Jackson’s bloody clothes from the medical center’s emergency department without a warrant or permission.
But two Springfield police officers testified on Monday the clothes were lying on the floor in the emergency department in plain view. In that case, the clothes were available to law enforcement without a warrant, assistant county prosecutor Nick Adkins countered.
Rion’s third argument involved DNA obtained shortly after the attack while Jackson was a patient at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. Rion said authorities used only a “bare bones” warrant to get the swabs and there were no facts laid out to support their belief that Jackson was
“one possible suspect” in the home invasion gone awry. Rion also said officers failed to appraise Jackson of his “Miranda” rights against self- incrimination before obtaining the swabs.
Costello asked numerous questions of Rion during the hearing. He said he will rule on the motion to suppress sometime prior to the Oct. 1 trial.