Judge: Teen’s statements to police can be used in Middletown murder trial

Nearly a year after a Middletown man was killed in his home, it appears a teen charged in his shooting death will go to trial next month.

Cameron Kyles, now 19, is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, felonious assault and having weapons under disability for the Oct. 12, 2019 murder of Michael Stewart II.

In June, Kyles' attorneys filed a motion arguing his statements to police should be tossed out at trial, claiming he gave false confessions and his Miranda rights were violated.

Last week, Butler County Common Pleas Judge Charles Pater denied that motion to suppress.

Kyles has previously rejected a plea offer of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 24 years in exchange for his guilty plea to aggravated murder with a gun specification.

Defense attorneys indicated Kyles offered to plead guilty to aggravated murder if he received a 20-year prison sentence, but the offer was rejected by the prosecution. Pater has set Kyles' trial for Nov. 16.

Kyles confessed to shooting Stewart, 35, at his Ninth Avenue home, according to court documents. According to a search warrant affidavit signed by Middletown Detective Kristi Hughes, after police found Stewart dead at his home, Kyles was developed as a suspect.

At the time, Kyles was also wearing a court-ordered ankle monitor for an indictment in a drug case and for participation in a gang. Both indictments were handed down last summer.

Kyles was taken into custody at a Sharon Court address after detectives tracked his ankle monitor, according to court documents.

Defense attorneys said Kyles indicated his statements to detectives were false.

The defense also argued that Kyles' rights were violated by police during three interrogations. In the first, the defense alleges Miranda rights were read to Kyles after eight minutes of questioning, and in the second two, they say Kyles was not properly read his rights due to his difficulties with reading and a mental condition.

“Mr. Kyles has undergone two competency evaluations. Even though he was found competent, both reports established Mr. Kyles is bipolar and has (difficulty reading),” Attorney Michele Temmel wrote in the motion.

The defense claimed the detectives did not ask about Kyles' ability to read and write and did not explain the consequences of signing a Miranda card.

Assistant Prosecutor Kraig Chadrick said Kyles signed the Miranda forms, and the law is clear that signed forms are strong indicators that the defendant knew what he was doing and was voluntarily waiving his rights.

The idea that Kyles is not intelligent enough to understand his rights goes against the evidence presented, prosecutors said. In one interview, Kyles invokes his right to an attorney before he is even told by the detectives that he has a right to an attorney, Kraig Chadrick said.

“So that kind of cuts against his idea that he is so unintelligent to know his rights,” Chadrick said.

He added the police asked Kyles open-ended questions and did not coerce him. He was given time to answer questions and an opportunity to tell his side of the story, he said.

Pater approved funds for the defense to hire Dr. Scott Bressler as a false confession expert for the defense for$2,500.

Kyles is one of three teens charged in Stewart’s death.

In March, Camron Pawlowski, 17 and who was tried as an adult, was sentenced to prison for 15 years. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, aggravated burglary and having weapons under disability with gang and gun specifications.

According to police and prosecutors, Pawlowski and Kyles conspired to rob Stewart. Pawlowski provided Kyles with the gun and Kyles shot Smith, according to investigators and court documents.

In February, 15-year-old boy pleaded guilty to murder in juvenile court and was sent to the Ohio Department of Youth Services until his 21st birthday.

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