Quantcast

Vt. judge tosses out alleged killer's confession - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. judge tosses out alleged killer's confession

Posted: Updated:
Daniel Whalon Daniel Whalon
Ralph Bell Ralph Bell
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Daniel Whalon is being held without bail, charged with second-degree murder for the 2011 killing of his secret lover, Ralph Bell. But now a judge has ruled Whalon's confession cannot be used against him.

"I don't agree with his decision, but certainly it's well-reasoned," Chittenden County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Finnerty said.

Finnerty and Whalon's attorney, Robert Katims, went head-to-head last April. The defense wanted to suppress statements Whalon made to police hours after the murder, claiming he was never read his rights.

April 9

Robert Katims: Why didn't you provide Miranda warnings to Mr. Whalon when he got back to the police station?

Burlington Police Sgt. Michael Warren: Because he was not in custody.

The state claims Whalon's alleged confession was voluntary. And Burlington detectives say their five-hour interrogation was by the book. But Judge Brian Grearson disagreed, saying a reasonable person would not have felt free to end the interrogation and Whalon's mental health further complicated the situation. On Sept. 30, Grearson ruled: "...Under the totality of all the circumstances, including details of the police interrogation and Mr. Whalon's characteristics that made him more vulnerable to the interrogation techniques used against him, the court concludes that any statements made by Mr. Whalon after that time are not admissible because they were obtained in violation of Mr. Whalon's due process rights under the federal and Vermont Constitutions."

"It certainly changes the state's case, but there is a lot of other evidence that implicates Mr. Whalon," Finnerty said.

Finnerty praises police for catching Whalon so quickly, but admits the interrogation process could have gone differently.

"Looking back at the situation the police officers probably would think that it could have been done differently or more consistent with what the Vermont Supreme Court is saying," Finnerty said. "But hindsight is always 20/20."

Still, the state isn't backing down. And prosecutors have no plans to drop the charges against Whalon. But whether this murder case ends in a plea deal or trial remains to be seen.

"Hopefully at the end of the day justice will be served," Finnerty said.

Related Stories:

Murder suspect wants alleged confession thrown out

Burlington murder suspect competent to stand trial

Storm delays evaluation of Vt. murder suspect

Vt. man pleads not guilty in bridge stabbing death

Family, friends remember Ralph Bell

Divers find knife at Burlington murder scene

Mental exam ordered for Burlington murder suspect

Burlington Police say they've caught a killer

Police ID Burlington homicide victim

Blood stain spotted before body was discovered at intervale

Burlington police call man's death suspicious

Body discovered in Burlington's intervale

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • N.H. man killed in Lunenburg crash

    N.H. man killed in Lunenburg crash

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-09-02 03:33:55 GMT
    One man is dead following a tractor trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
    One man is dead following a tractor trailer rollover in Lunenburg.
  • 2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:15 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:15:25 GMT
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
  • Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:59 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:59:03 GMT
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
  • Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:08:26 GMT
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
  • Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:59:21 GMT
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
  • Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:51:52 GMT
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
  • Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:32:03 GMT
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
  • Body discovered in Massena

    Body discovered in Massena

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:02 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:02:43 GMT
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.