A 20-year-old murder suspect claims that after his arrest in 2014, he felt threatened to talk to Pasco detectives or his pregnant girlfriend would stay behind bars for allegedly helping him evade capture.
DeShawn I. Anderson testified at his own Franklin County Superior Court hearing this week that initially he asked for an attorney and wouldn’t say anything else to police.
But the next day, when he woke up to find his girlfriend and a detective standing outside of his jail cell, Anderson said he agreed to give a statement so Lakisha Love could be released and wouldn’t give birth in jail.
“(Lakisha) told me she loves me, … they want to help me and I need to help her,” Anderson said during questioning by his lawyer, Shelley Ajax.
He added that detectives did not make any promises, but told him several times that if he cooperated he would be facing a shorter prison term.
DeShawn I. Anderson of Finley is charged with helping fire almost 20 rounds at a parked car, injuring three of the four men sitting inside, then fatally shooting another man two weeks later.
The Finley man is charged with helping fire almost 20 rounds at a parked car, injuring three of the four men sitting inside, then fatally shooting another man two weeks later.
Anderson acknowledged to Deputy Prosecutor Maureen Astley that the second time he was taken to the Pasco Police Department, he understood his rights, he did not ask to speak with an attorney and he never asked for the interview to stop.
“And you gave a statement to them regarding your involvement in the Nov. 18 shooting and the Dec. 2 homicide?” Astley asked.
Anderson responded “yes,” adding that the detectives “didn’t exactly threaten” him.
Judge Alex Ekstrom determined that Anderson’s statement to police can be used at his upcoming trial set for May 18. He ruled after listening to testimony from Anderson and Detectives Corey Smith and Tony Aceves.
Ekstrom said Anderson invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent after his arrest, and not his Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Then, after speaking with his girlfriend the next day, Anderson changed his mind and decided to talk, the judge said.
There is no evidence the detectives tried to coerce Anderson, who knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waived his rights, Ekstrom said.
The judge, though, did note that it was “concerning” that the detectives showed Anderson an ultrasound photograph on their first interview attempt.
Anderson, arrested Dec. 11, 2014, said he had found out Nov. 20 that Love was expecting their child. He testified that the detectives did not claim the ultrasound was of his own kid, but acknowledged that it upset him.
She pretty much told him there was overwhelming evidence against him, that we already knew the outline of events, that he took part in it and that he in effect should do himself a favor … (and admit his role).
Detective Tony Aceves
“I was sitting in the interview room, I remember before anything was said they put these pictures on the table,” Anderson said. “I leaned forward, threw them on the ground and they told me I needed some time to calm down and (the detectives) left. When they came back, I said I needed an attorney.”
Aceves told the court that the detectives learned Anderson’s girlfriend was pregnant so they “presented him the ultrasound picture” they got off the Internet. He said Anderson would not talk, but he never asked for an attorney.
Love was being released from the jail on Dec. 12, 2014, when she asked Aceves if she could see Anderson first. Aceves said he got clearance from corrections officers, took her to Anderson’s cell door and let them talk.
“She pretty much told him there was overwhelming evidence against him, that we already knew the outline of events, that he took part in it and that he in effect should do himself a favor …” and admit his role, Aceves testified.
The resulting interview lasted 1 1/2 hours. Anderson was both cooperative and talkative, gagged a couple of times, and “toward the end of the interview did vomit,” Aceves said.
Anderson now is charged with first-degree murder, four counts of first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree unlawful possession of a gun.
Two months ago, Anderson rejected a plea deal that carried a recommended sentence of 30 years for first-degree murder. The four assault charges would have been dismissed. He could be locked up for the rest of his life if convicted of all charges.