Judge won't throw out Spicknall confession

Says evidence shows defendant was lucid

refuses case dismissal

March 18, 2000|By Chris Guy | Chris Guy,SUN STAFF

CHESTERTOWN -- A Kent County judge has refused to throw out the confession of a Laurel man accused of killing his two young children last fall, rejecting arguments that Richard Wayne Spicknall II might have suffered a concussion that left him unable to understand his rights.

Circuit Judge J. Frederick Price also rejected claims yesterday by defense attorneys who argued that the case should be dismissed on constitutional grounds because Talbot County officials delayed a psychiatric examination that could have verified Spicknall's head injury.

In an hourlong hearing, Price prefaced his ruling with a recitation of the chronology leading to Spicknall's Sept. 9 arrest. Price recounted the defendant's admission that he shot his children, 3-year-old Destiny Array, and 2-year-old Richard Wayne III as they slept in car safety seats in a car parked on the Talbot County side of the Choptank River, just off the U.S. 50 bridge.

The case was moved to Kent County when Talbot prosecutor Scott G. Patterson announced he would seek the death penalty in the case.

In a likely preview for the trial, set to begin May 22, more than a dozen witnesses testified that during much of eight hours of questioning by state police, Spicknall was lucid, aware of his surroundings and alert.

Except for a small cut above his eyebrow, Spicknall appeared unhurt.

Dressed in gray sweat clothes and orange slip-on shoes, Spicknall sat impassively through much of yesterday's hearing, occasionally talking quietly with his attorney, Michael Belsky of Baltimore. His father, Richard Wayne Spicknall, a retired Baltimore police officer, sat silently behind him wearing dark glasses.

Refusing to discuss details, Belsky said: "Obviously, we disagree with the judge's ruling, but it is one element in a very complex case."

At the hearing, Lisa Fields Spicknall sat surrounded by friends and family members in the front row of the courtroom. She and her supporters wore lapel buttons bearing a photograph of her slain children.

Now divorced from Spicknall, the children's mother said she was pleased with the judge's decision although time, she said, has done little to soothe her grief.

Pub Date: 3/18/00

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