YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The attorney for a man charged in a November shooting said in court papers Monday that his client’s confession should be thrown out because detectives tricked him.
Mark Lavelle, who represents 29-year-old Timothy Underwood, said in a suppression motion filed today in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that the detectives who questioned his client did not check to see if Underwood was under the influence of any kinds of drugs that would affect his decision making.
Underwood is charged with complicity to murder and burglary for the Nov. 20 shooting death of Marquese Lewis, 27, who was found shot to death about 2 p.m. in a home on Plum Street.
Police said Lewis had no connection to the home, and he did not know anyone who lived there.
Lewis was found after the woman who lives in the home returned and found her home ransacked and Lewis’ body in a bedroom.
A warrant for Underwood’s arrest was not issued until several months later and he was arrested April 13 at a Dupont Street apartment by members of the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Fugitive Task Force.
In his motion Lavelle said detectives got his client to sign a form waiving his rights, then used “deceptive tactics” while interviewing him that led Underwood to incriminate himself.
Because the investigators did not check to make sure Underwood was under the influence of any drugs that would affect his decision making, that makes his decision to sign the rights waiver moot, Lavelle wrote.
Detectives have not said how Underwood became a suspect, if there is another suspect and his connection to the home where Lewis was found dead. All police will say is that Underwood was arrested after evidence collected at the crime scene was analyzed by the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
After the woman found Lewis’ body, she called 911 in tears and said in broken English that a man she did not know was in her home, and the house was destroyed.
The call taker then called a translation service, and a Spanish-speaking translator with prompting from the call taker asked the woman what happened.
Through the translator, the woman said a man was in her room on the floor with a cushion covering his face, and the back window was “destroyed.” She did not know if the man was alive or dead. The woman found the man after she returned home and he had a large amount of blood around his head.
Her son came home a few moments later and said, “Somebody’s in her room. We need the police.”
Underwood has been in the Mahoning County jail since his arrest. His case is being heard by Judge John Durkin. There will be a pretrial hearing Friday.
Prosecutors have yet to respond to the motion.