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Judge puts off ruling on validity of confession

April 08, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley said during a suppression hearing Thursday that he would wait to rule on whether a Hagerstown Police Department detective improperly induced Scott Eugene Patterson into confessing he beat his 3-year-old daughter in October.

Beachley asked for attorneys representing both sides to present him with case law supporting their arguments by April 18. Patterson's trial is to begin May 31.

Patterson, 26, of 330 N. Mulberry St., is charged with second-degree murder and related charges in the beating death of his daughter, Madyson King.

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The youngster was admitted to Washington County Hospital with extensive bruising on Oct. 26, 2004, and died Nov. 9, 2004, at Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C., records state.

During the hearing Thursday, Patterson's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Carl Creeden, questioned whether his client's Oct. 26 statement to police was voluntarily made. He said Detective Patricia Moulton told Patterson during his taped statement that she needed information to help Madyson and her doctors. He argued that those statements improperly induced Patterson to confess.

Detectives Shane Blankenship, lead investigator in the case, and Jason Ackerman, testified for a total of about two hours Thursday afternoon. Moulton, who was in the courthouse for the hearing, was not called into the courtroom to testify.

Creeden said during his closing argument, "If they didn't call the doctors during this period, then it was a ruse to get Mr. Patterson to talk to them."

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said in her closing argument that Moulton was "harsh, and I believe at times emotional" during the course of her interview, actions she said were prompted by the inconsistency of Patterson's previous statements.

"He knew why he was there and still he agreed to talk" to Moulton and Blankenship, she said.

Creeden also sought to suppress Patterson's consent to search his home the day of the interview, saying his client believed only a dresser he claimed caused his daughter's injuries would be examined during the search.

In his closing argument, Creeden said he was not concerned with the search related to the dresser, but was more concerned with a search of the house made by Detective George Brandt, in which he re-entered the home to examine a bathroom.

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