When the trial for a Kennewick murder suspect starts in a week, prosecutors will not be able to use his recorded statement to detectives about the Christmas Eve shooting.
Judge Jackie Shea Brown ruled last week that Detectives Jose Santoy and Dan Todd violated Washington’s privacy act by waiting until five minutes into the interview before reading the suspect his Miranda rights.
State law says an arrested person must be informed of their constitutional rights “at the commencement of the recording.”
Santoy and Todd testified at a hearing April 29 that they were trying to build a rapport with Francisco Javier Munoz Quintero and make him feel comfortable.
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The detectives said they talked about his upbringing for several minutes, then went through his rights once they were ready to discuss the crime.
In her written ruling, Shea Brown said even though the recording can’t be used, the detectives can testify about what he told them based on their memory of the interview.
The judge also noted that the “rapport-building questions” were not intended to elicit an incriminating response or “subvert the purpose of Miranda.”
Francisco Javier Munoz Quintero, 20, faces trial May 16 in Benton County Superior Court on one count of second-degree murder with a gun, with the aggravating circumstances of domestic violence and that the crime had a destructive and foreseeable impact on others.
His statements were knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily made, she said.
Munoz Quintero, 20, faces trial May 16 in Benton County Superior Court on one count of second-degree murder with a gun, with the aggravating circumstances of domestic violence and that the crime had a destructive and foreseeable impact on others.
Prosecutors allege that on Dec. 24, Munoz Quintero asked his ex-girlfriend for a ride from Mabton to a Kennewick neighborhood.
Luisa A. Garcia Farias, 21, had driven to Mabton to pick up their 22-month-old daughter after clocking out from her security job at the Richland Walmart. They argued and she ordered him out of the car in Kennewick, court documents said.
Munoz Quintero allegedly pulled out a pistol and fired two shots, hitting the young mother in the abdomen. He pushed her out of the car and drove off with his toddler in the backseat, documents said. He turned himself in 19 hours later on Christmas Day.
Defense attorneys asked to throw out Munoz Quintero’s statements because police failed to let him know he could speak with a Mexican official after his arrest.
Munoz Quintero was born in Mexico and moved to the Tri-Cities when he was 3.
Under international law, or the Vienna Convention, foreign nationals must be given consular notification. Munoz Quintero was given the mandatory notification while in jail the day after his arrest.
Shea Brown noted that the detectives violated Kennewick Police Department policy and the law, but said there is no case law to show that could affect the voluntary nature of Munoz Quintero’s statements.