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Suppression hearing continued in Middletown homicide case, defense claims rights were violated

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 scheduled for Thursday in Butler County Common Pleas Court but was continued until April 28. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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 scheduled for Thursday in Butler County Common Pleas Court but was continued until April 28. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

A hearing on a motion to suppress statements and evidence in an upcoming trial of a Middletown man accused in the shooting death of a teen in December has been continued until later in the month.

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 scheduled for today in Butler County Common Pleas Court but was continued until April 28 at the request of the prosecution, which said a witness was unavailable.

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Amison remains housed in the county jail in lieu of $1 million bond set by Judge Jennifer McElfresh. His trial is scheduled to begin May 11.

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 said Amison’s U.S. and Ohio constitutional rights were violated when investigators obtained statements attributed to him.

“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. Detective Kristi Hughes … initiated an interview with defendant under secure conditions under the premise that she wanted to provide defendant with an opportunity to tell ‘his side of the story,’” Kaspar said in the motion. “(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.”

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Kasper 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.

As of Wednesday, the prosecution had not filed a response.

Middletown police arrested Amison within hours of the shooting that happened just before 6:30 p.m. and charged him with murder and tampering with evidence in Wallace’s death.

Wallace was not a student at Middletown Schools, according to district officials. He was a former student of Marshall High School, an alternative school, but was not enrolled there at the time of the shooting.

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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