Defense seeks to suppress drug evidence

September 08, 1994|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

The attorney for a man charged with four drug counts argued in Howard Circuit Court yesterday that prosecutors shouldn't be permitted to use a confession or the drugs linked to his client as evidence at the man's trial.

Clarke Ahlers of Columbia cited numerous problems with the way Howard County police handled the investigation of his client as grounds for Judge Cornelius Sybert Jr. to suppress the confession and drugs as evidence.

Judge Sybert did not issue a ruling on Mr. Ahlers' request at yesterday's hearing. He did not say when a decision would be made. Mr. Ahlers contended that police investigators improperly detained his client, failed to have the man sign a form granting an interrogation and never found enough evidence linking drugs to his client.

Mr. Ahlers is representing Gregory P. Williams Sr., a 25-year-old Baltimore man arrested during an April 15 police raid on the Abbott House apartment building in Columbia.

Assistant State's Attorney Robert Voss argued that much of the evidence -- particularly the drugs -- should not be suppressed. He said it should be up to a jury to determine whether police properly linked the drugs to Mr. Williams.

The prosecutor acknowledged that there were problems with the police investigation. He blamed the problems on the inexperience of some officers and a supervisor, who had just been transferred to the police department's narcotics division.

Mr. Voss noted that he was not aware of many details of the investigation until the officers came to testify at the pretrial hearings.

During a series of pretrial hearings since July, Mr. Ahlers repeatedly questioned the way police handled the investigation that ended with the arrest of Mr. Williams and three other men.

Mr. Williams was detained after police officers spotted a man in a second-floor window and then saw him run down a hallway as they raided the building.

The officers arrested Mr. Williams on the third floor and later found several small bags of crack cocaine in a second-floor trash room, according to testimony.

One officer testified that he saw Mr. Williams holding a bag, but two other officers did not refer to the bag when they testified.

Detective Susan Reider testified that the officer was never asked to identify the bag after it was discovered to make sure that it was the same bag he had seen with the suspect.

Detective Michael Ensko testified that Mr. Williams maintained his innocence immediately after he was arrested and read his constitutional rights but later confessed during interrogation at the police station that he had the drugs.

Detective Ensko testified that neither he nor the officer who interrogated Mr. Williams had the suspect sign a form waiving his rights and agreeing to be questioned.

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