Hamilton shooting: Teen’s lawyer wants statements to police thrown out

Hamilton shooting: Teen’s lawyer wants statements to police thrown out

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Lynch, Greg (CMG-Dayton)
Statements made to police by a Hamilton 14-year-old charged with aggravated murder for allegedly shooting her father to death should be suppressed, her attorney is arguing. GREG LYNCH/STAFF

Statements made to police by a Hamilton teenager charged with aggravated murder for allegedly shooting her father to death should be suppressed, her attorney is arguing.

Defense attorney Matthew Fritsch filed the motion last week, saying his 14-year-old client’s constitutional rights were violated during questioning while she was in police custody.

A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for today for the teen in Butler County Juvenile Court.

Fritsch is asking the court to not allow statements from the teen at trial on the basis they were obtained without prior advise or recognition of the defendant’s rights to remain silent and to have and attorney present.

The girl, Fritsch said, did not have access to a parent and the statements were not voluntary, knowingly and intelligently given by the defendant.

On Feb. 23, the girl, then a high school freshman, picked up a 9 mm handgun, loaded it and shot her 71-year-old father, James Ponder, in the head at their Millville Avenue home, according to police and prosecutors.

“I just shot my dad,” she told 911 dispatchers in a call placed moments after the shooting.

In the motion, Fritsch said, “Defendant has had no prior experiences with Miranda warnings. During the interrogation, the defendant indicates that she has never heard of Miranda warnings and has never seen it on any television shows. The defendant also indicates that she does not know what it means to remain silent.”

The defense attorney said his client twice asked to talk to speak with her mother during the first 15 minutes of interrogation.

Fritsch also said he arrived at the Hamilton police station at 10 a.m. on Feb 23 after being retain to represent the teen and requested to meet with the girl and that the interrogation be stopped.

“Both requests were refused by law enforcement. (I) requested to meet with the defendant and that the interrogation be stopped at approximately 10:35 a.m., 10:50 a.m., 11 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. All requests were refused by law enforcement,” Fritsch wrote.

The Journal-News is not naming the teen because she is charged as a juvenile. The teen remains housed in the county juvenile detention center.

No motive for the shooting has been offered.

Prosecutors had requested the teen be tried as an adult, but Butler County Juvenile Court Judge Kathleen Romans ruled the teen’s case will remain in juvenile court.

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