The defense will argue at a motion hearing Thursday that a confession made by a 21-year-old Quitman woman, charged in the 2012 murder of her boyfriend, should be suppressed on grounds of coercion.
Defense attorney Frank Shaw filed the motion to suppress statements made by his client, Jamie Lynn Leach, Oct. 31 in Faulkner County Circuit Court. The defense argues Leach confessed to the murder of 24-year-old Cody Bradley on the pretense of a false promise made by the interviewing investigator.
Leach was arrested Aug. 20, 2012, the same day Faulkner County authorities located Bradley at the couple’s residence, naked in a bathtub, suffering from a fatal gunshot wound.
According to the defense, Leach’s confession came at the end of more than three hours of interrogation, which began with a polygraph exam.
After informing Leach she failed the polygraph exam — particularly relating to questions regarding her boyfriend’s death — the defense states the multiple hours of questioning began. After more than two and a half hours, the defense motion states the investigator told Leach “I want to go out there and fight for you.”
The investigator further stated “’Tell me what happened last night. It wasn’t a normal night, was it? It wouldn’t be. Tell me what happened so I can help you. Tell me.’”
The defense argues Leach’s subsequent confession was made on the pretense of “a false promise of leniency or reward,” which makes her statement involuntary.
“Existing case law regarding an officer’s statement as a promise of reward or leniency is admittedly difficult,” the defense motion 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 said confession is the fruit of the poisonous tree and all subsequent testimony or interviews of the defendant should be suppressed.”
According to court documents, the prosecution has not responded to the defense’s motion.
Three law enforcement officials — two members of the Arkansas State Police and one member of the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office — have been subpoenaed to appear at the motion hearing, on behalf of the prosecution, including the interviewing investigator at the time of Leach’s confession.
Leach is scheduled to appear before Circuit Judge Ed Clawson at 9 a.m.