A summer trial date was set Monday for a man accused of shooting and killing a teenager in December in Middletown.
Mezahn Demarco Amison, 21, of Manchester Avenue, is facing charges of murder and felonious assault for allegedly killing Zachariah Wallace, 17, on Dec. 6. A hearing was held in Butler County Common Pleas Judge Jennifer McElresh’s courtroom on Monday, which was originally scheduled to be the first day of Amison’s trial.
Last month, McElfresh postponed Amison’s trial, citing coronavirus concerns. The new trial date is July 22.
Amison remains housed in the county jail in lieu of $1 million bond.
At least a portion of Amison’s statements to investigators will not be permitted for use at trial due to a violation of his Miranda rights.
A document filed by prosecutors lists evidence in the case and says 19 witnesses, mostly police officers, may be called at trial. Three interviews with people, including one with Amison, Facebook photos and Sprint cell phone records are among the evidence listed.
Defense attorney John Kaspar filed a motion to suppress statements made by Amison to police alleging his client’s U.S. and Ohio constitutional rights were violated.
“On or about Dec. 7 in the early morning hours (Amison) was taken into custody and placed in an interview room under the control of law enforcement agents,” he wrote in the motion. “Detective Kristi Hughes … initiated an interview with defendant under secure conditions under the (guise) that she wanted to provide defendant with an opportunity to tell ‘his side of the story.’ (Amison) represented repeatedly a desire to have counsel present and a profound distrust of the circumstances, citing concerns that anything he said would be used against him.”
Kaspar said police continued the interrogation, and Amison declined to waive his rights.
“As such, any statements made by defendant warrant suppression, as well as any evidence derived therefrom,” Kaspar said in the motion.
The judge filed a ruling stating that by agreement of the defense and prosecution, Amison’s statements after 10 minutes into the interview would not be permitted at trial because his rights were violated.
Middletown police arrested Amison within hours of the shooting that happened just before 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 6 and charged him with murder and tampering with evidence in Wallace’s death.
Middletown Police Maj. Scott Reeve said the shooting was the result of an “ongoing conflict” between Wallace and Amison.
Amison saw Wallace walking on Manchester Avenue, got out of a vehicle and “shot (Wallace) five times, causing his death,” according to court documents.
Amison drove to Trenton, where officers found him on Mars Drive.
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