Motion denied to suppress interview of suspect in the murder of Carol Marie Brown

Judge grants defense request to postpone trial of Darrol Sands until sometime this summer

April 27, 2011|By DON AINES |
  • Sands

There was no admission of guilt in a murder suspect's interview by Hagerstown police detectives last year, but the videotape of the exchange provided more details of the crime scene and events surrounding the murder of Carol Marie Brown three years ago.

Darrol Sands, 43, formerly of Hagerstown, who was indicted in the April 19, 2008, killing, was in Washington County Circuit Court Wednesday seeking to have the video suppressed at his May trial.

 Judge John H. McDowell denied the motion to suppress the Aug. 11, 2010, interview, but granted a defense request to postpone the trial, probably until sometime this summer.

Brown, 22, the mother of two, was found dead in a bathtub in her Mitchell Avenue home, according to court records and the videotaped interview. Sands lived across the street at the time, and there was forensic evidence placing him in the apartment, Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said in February.

In the video, Sands — who was sentenced last year to prison for cocaine distribution — admitted to having had sex with Brown before her death. He was also among those who saw the body after it was first discovered, according to the interview.

McDowell asked about the cause of death, which Public Defender Eric Reed said was "some combination of asphyxia and stabbing."

Retired Hagerstown Police Department Detective Steve Hoover asked most of the questions in the one-hour and 45-minute interview.

"I don't know if you raped her or not, but I know you had sex with her," Hoover said during the interview, noting that Sands' sperm was found in her body.

Sands' palm print was found on the bathtub, Hoover said during the interview. The detective told Sands he believed the killing could have been "a crime of passion."

"I did not kill her. That's it," Sands said.

Sands later said he would not answer any more questions.

Assistant Public Defender Brian Hutchison asked that the interview not be admitted during the trial because Sands' request to call his wife and contact an attorney had been ignored by detectives.

Hutchison said the detectives also prevented Sands from speaking to a county Narcotics Task Force agent until he spoke to them about the killing.

Sands, who was arrested on drug charges that day, testified Wednesday he did not understand why he was being questioned by homicide detectives after his arrest on drug charges.

Police spoke with Sands several times between April 19 and April 30 when an attorney told Hoover that Sands would no longer cooperate with the investigation, Hoover testified. Sands was not questioned about the murder again until the drug arrest, he testified.

In denying the suppression motion, McDowell said the video shows Sands being read his Miranda rights and that nothing said by the detectives constituted a threat or inducement to talk.

Reed asked for the continuance to give the defense more time to conduct its own analysis of the forensic evidence.

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