in Washington County overturned on appeal for violation of Miranda
The Defendant filed a motion to suppress certain evidence before trial, but the judge denied the motion to suppress. The Court of Appeals said the motion to suppress should have been granted because the statements at issue were obtained by violating the Defendant’s Miranda rights.
In March of 2017, Joshua Risinger’s trailer was set on fire and burned, killing Jeffrey Charles Givan. During the course of three interviews with law enforcement, Risinger made incriminating statements. The State charged Risinger with murder, felony murder, and Level 4 felony arson. Twice, Risinger moved to suppress his statements, claiming that they were given involuntarily and in violation of his Miranda rights.The trial court denied both motions. In November of 2018, a jury trial was held, after which a jury found Risinger guilty but mentally ill of murder and felony murder and guilty of arson. The trial court merged the felony murder and arson convictions withthe murder conviction and sentenced Risinger to sixty years of incarceration. Risinger contends, inter alia, that the trial court erroneously admitted the statements he made during the three police interviews because (1) they were made involuntarily and (2) they were made after detectives failed to scrupulously honor his invocation of his Miranda rights. Because we agree that the detectives failed to scrupulously honor Risinger’s right to remain silent pursuant to Miranda, we reverse.