Layne asks statements to detectives to be held

By Katherine Wartell

Michael Layne, who is accused of the first-degree murder of Steve Freel, appeared in front of District Judge Meryl Wilson Friday to request the suppression of statements he made to detectives in December 2011.

Layne, 19, is accused of killing Freel, 31, in early December. He is accused of having driven Freel to a remote area, forcing him out of the car and shooting him before driving away.

On Dec. 7, the same day Freel’s body was found, Riley County officers arrested Layne and he was interviewed that night as a suspect in the homicide by Detectives Sonia Gregoire and Ryan Runyan. 

The four-hour interview was the first of three conducted with Layne in the days following the homicide. In all three interviews, Layne spoke with the detectives alone.

Jillian Waesche, Layne’s attorney, told the court Friday that Layne’s Miranda rights were not adequately given to him during those interviews, and she said that he did not give a knowing, intelligent waiver of his rights.

In court, Gregoire testified that in all three interviews, Layne was asked to read his Miranda rights aloud and in none of the interviews did he ask for an attorney, request to speak to someone from the outside or request to end the interviews. She said the third interview, conducted on Dec. 9, was at Layne’s request.

Runyan testified that Layne had been willing to talk in the interviews and that he had been given breaks during them.

But Waesche argued that Layne’s signatures at the bottom of the forms to waive his Miranda rights were not adequate, as spaces left next to each Miranda right, intended for the initials of those being interviewed, were left blank. 

Waesche said in the usual circumstances, the interviewee is asked to initial next to the specific rights to indicate their understanding. She also took issue with detectives using the same waiver during his first and second interviews.

Wilson told the court that he will review the evidence and rule at a later date.

Layne’s trial is now set for a Sept. 4-7.

In February, Layne pleaded not guilty to the murder of Freel, whose body was found on a dirt road in the 5300 block of N. 48th Street by a property owner in the area.

Riley County officers alleged that the murder took place because relations between Layne and Freel, who were suspects in past burglaries in Manhattan, had soured.  Layne is also accused of aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery and kidnapping for his alleged role in a Dec. 6, 2011 break-in of a Manhattan woman’s apartment.









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