Trooper: Man charged in death of Kristy Dawn Hoke was read Miranda warning five times

Pretrial conference and hearing on an array of motions filed by defense for Jeffrey Eldon Miles Sr.

April 26, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • In this Herald-Mail file photo, Jeffrey Eldon Miles Sr., is shown leaving the Franklin County Courthouse. Miles, who is charged with criminal homicide, was back in court Tuesday for a pretrial conference and hearing.
Herald-Mail file photo

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania State Police investigator testified Tuesday that he and other troopers read Miranda warnings to Jeffrey Eldon Miles Sr. five times on April 6, 2010, the day authorities found two bodies in southern Franklin County.

Trooper Aaron Martin testified in Franklin County Central Court about watching Miles' pockets be searched, handcuffing him and recording statements the morning the bodies of Kristy Dawn Hoke and a missing 17-year-old were found.

Miles' defense claims police obtained incriminating statements from their client before he received a Miranda warning or waived those rights.

Miles, 48, of State Line, Pa., is charged with criminal homicide in the slaying of Hoke, a Hagerstown mother described in court documents as a police informant.

No one has been charged in the beating death of missing teenager Angie Lynn Daley, who was last seen by her family in 1995. Police discovered her remains on a farm about six miles away from the Waynesboro, Pa., woods where Hoke's body was found.

On Tuesday, Judge Douglas Herman presided over a pretrial conference and hearing on an array of motions filed by defense attorneys.

In addition to requesting that statements be suppressed, lawyers Mike Toms and Eric Weisbrod filed motions asking that the location of the trial be moved, documents pertaining to the death penalty be stricken and public funds be approved for expert witness fees.

Authorities have been guarded about their investigation. As a result, the latest court testimony from Martin and Sgt. William Mcareavy revealed new details of what happened last year.

Mcareavy described approaching Miles at 3:30 a.m. as he stood on an Interstate 81 overpass in an apparent suicide attempt.

"Mr. Miles continuously repeated several themes during the course of the conversation, ... (including) 'It's about killing the demon,'" Mcareavy said.

Miles said his presence on the bridge was not truly about suicide or he would have done it before that night, Mcareavy said.

The trooper testified that as he closed the gap between himself and Miles, the defendant made a few references to "Krissy" or "Kristy." Mcareavy said Miles told him to "read the notebook; you'll understand."

"You didn't tell him, 'We know about Kristy?'" Weisbrod asked.

"No," Mcareavy said.

Martin described watching Miles being taken into custody at around 5:15 a.m.

"I said, 'You know we need to find Kristy,'" Martin said, noting that Miles interrupted police during his Miranda discussion. "He said, 'Look, I'll take you there.'"

Martin testified he accompanied Miles to the woods, where Hoke's body was found as well as to the site of her car. He said they went to the Chambersburg Police Department for a recorded interview, then Miles "wanted to take me somewhere else" and they went for "another drive."

Weisbrod questioned whether Miles appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when giving statements. Martin said he might have shown some signs, but those did not affect their conversations.

"He was lucid when he talked to me. He answered my questions directly," he said.

The judge told Toms, Weisbrod and Assistant District Attorney Eric Augustine to present him with additional, written arguments in the next couple of weeks before he rules on the motion about suppressing statements.

Herman declined to rule this week on the challenge to the notice of aggravating circumstances, which is necessary documentation filed by the prosecution to seek the death penalty.

The judge told Toms and Weisbrod to present him with a supplemental motion attempting to show him that the district attorney's office does not have evidence supporting its claims in the notice.

Before approving fees, Herman said he wants to meet with the proposed experts to discuss the scope of their work.

And he told the defense it is too early to make a decision about changing venues because it is impossible to know whether potential jurors are biased by media coverage and Internet postings.

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