X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On March 11, 2005, the San Antonio Police Department received a report of a burglary of a residence. The police discovered a large volume of blood present throughout the residence. Although no body was found, crime scene investigators believed that they were dealing with a murder scene, not a burglary. Investigators soon identified Darryl Moseley as a person of interest based upon the fact that in the days immediately preceding the burglary report he had been staying at the residence with the consent of the legal occupant. On the same day as the burglary, the San Antonio Police Department received a missing persons report from the parents of 18-year-old Ashley Lynn Degerstrom. Ashley’s parents had become concerned when Ashley did not call or return home as expected. In addition to the missing persons report, Ashley’s parents reported her vehicle, a blue Dodge Neon, as stolen. The next day an officer with the San Antonio Police Department Helicopter Detail Unit observed a vehicle matching the description of Ashley’s Dodge Neon pull into an apartment complex. That officer observed a black male wearing a red sleeveless shirt, black shorts and a bandana exit the driver’s side of the vehicle and run toward the back of the apartment units. Detectives soon arrived, observed the blue Dodge Neon and confirmed that the license plate matched Ashley’s vehicle. Police located Moseley in one of the nearby apartment units and placed him under arrest for an unrelated felony warrant. Police placed Moseley in the back seat of a marked patrol vehicle. Detective Timm Angel read Moseley his Miranda warnings. While Moseley sat in the patrol vehicle, officers reached inside the stolen vehicle, popped the trunk and discovered Ashley’s body. Upon arrival at the police department, Angel and fellow detective John Slaughter read Moseley his Miranda warnings. Police recorded the interview on DVD. During the interview, Moseley never requested an attorney or invoked his right to remain silent. Moseley, however, made several telephone calls. Although Moseley initially denied knowing Ashley, he eventually confessed to killing her. In that interview Moseley admitted to hitting Ashley with his fist, beating her with a miniature baseball bat, kicking her with his foot, strangling her and shoving her body into the trunk of her own vehicle. Moseley also admitted to driving around in Ashley’s vehicle, with her body in the trunk until he was arrested. Based upon this confession, investigators sought and obtained an arrest warrant for murder. While Moseley was being moved to a police vehicle for transportation to the city’s detention center, members of the media asked him questions concerning the homicide. Moseley responded by admitting that he had killed Ashley. A jury convicted Moseley of the offense of murder and assessed his sentence at confinement for life. Moseley appealed. HOLDING:Affirmed. Moseley contended that the trial court erred by failing to suppress his confession, because the confession was the product of illegal police coercion in violation of the U.S. and Texas Constitutions. The court examined whether the confession was voluntary or coerced by examining the totality of the circumstances surrounding the confession. Nothing about the physical location of the interview, its length or the number of persons present during the interview, the court stated, suggested that it was a coercive setting. Secondly, Moseley never requested an attorney, the court stated, although he was aware of his right to a lawyer when he made an outside call to a friend and suggested that the friend “get a lawyer.” Police did not deny Moseley any essential needs and provided him with food and drink during the interview. Police did not handcuff him during the interview, and he was able to get up and walk around. Nothing in the recorded interview or the testimony available to the trial court suggested that Moseley was mentally or physically unable to exercise his own free will. Finally, police made no promises to him or threats. Based upon the totality of the circumstances, the court found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Moseley’s confession was admissible. Likewise, the court found that Moseley’s statement to the media was not “fruit of the poisonous tree” or evidence tainted by an involuntary confession. Moseley contended that the recording of his side of a telephone conversation constituted an interception of a wire communication in violation of Texas Penal Code �16.02. But the court found that Moseley did not make the communication under circumstances that justified an expectation that the communication would not be intercepted; therefore, �16.02 did not apply. The court also held that the trial court did not err by admitting evidence of Moseley’s affiliation, because Moseley opened the door to such evidence by discussing it in his testimony. OPINION:Pirtle, J.; Campbell, Hancock and Pirtle, J.J.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.