The defense has filed a motion to suppress statements made by a 21-year-old Quitman woman, who is charged in the Aug. 20, 2012, murder of her boyfriend, 24-year-old Cody Bradley.
Defense attorney Frank Shaw filed the motion in Faulkner County Circuit Court on Oct. 31 stating the confession of his client, Jamie Lynn Leach, was coerced due to a false promise from the interviewing investigator.
Bradley was found naked in a bathtub, in a residence shared by the couple, suffering from a fatal gunshot wound. Leach was arrested later the same day, and charged with first-degree murder in the days following.
After being interviewed by investigators, authorities say Leach provided a written confession.
According to the defense’s motion, the interview lasted approximately three hours and ten minutes. Authorities administered a polygraph exam at the beginning of the interview, according to the defense.
During the polygraph exam, Leach was asked if she planned to tell the truth regarding Bradley’s death and three questions relating to her boyfriend’s death. The motion states the question were “did you shoot Cody?” “did you shoot Cody in that house?” and “did you participate in Cody’s death?”
Following the examination, the investigator told Leach, “you did not pass, didn’t even come close,” the motion states.
After more than two and a half hours of interrogation, the defense states the investigator told Leach “I want to go out there and fight for you.”
The investigator continued “’I want to fight for you from the time we leave this room to the time all of this plays out. And it will play out. I’m good at what I do.’”
The defense’s motion also states the investigator told Leach “’tell me what happened so I can help you. Tell me.’”
The defense argues the investigator’s statements were “a false promise of leniency or reward,” which makes Leach’s confession an involuntary statement.
“Existing case law regarding an officer’s statement as a promise of reward or leniency is admittedly difficult,” the defense states. “It has been held in similar cases under analogous circumstances that when an officer has claimed he ‘would do all that he can,’ and when the officer said ‘I’ll help all that I can,’ that the officer had made a false promise and the confession that resulted from that officer’s statement was coercive due to a false promise.”
The defense further claimed Leach’s confession was “the poisonous tree and all subsequent testimony or interviews of the defendant should be suppressed.”
Leach was scheduled to appear before Circuit Judge Ed Clawson on Monday afternoon for a motion hearing, however, it was continued to Dec. 12 at the request of the defense.
The defense filed a motion Oct. 11 requesting an extension on the Oct. 15 deadline for motions to be filed.
If convicted of first-degree murder, a class Y felony, Leach would face 10 to 40 years or life in prison.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan. To comment on this and other stories, log on to thecabin.net.)