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Defense Seeks Suppression of Statement in Double Homicide

Defense Seeks Suppression of Statement in Double Homicide

Posted - Nov. 16, 2004 at 7:29 a.m.



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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Attorneys for a Riverton man charged with capital homicide in a double slaying say he was suffering from mental illness when he was questioned by police and his statements should be suppressed.

Seth Rollins Broomhead, 21, is charged with the execution-style slayings of Pablo Montoya, 20, and his girlfriend, Maritza Aguilar, 22, on June 13, 2003, at an Orem tree nursery.

A defense psychologist said Broomhead was suffering from depression and bipolar disorder when police questioned him.

Broomhead allegedly told police he bought a small amount of cocaine from Montoya, then "got spooked" and shot him. He then killed Aguilar because she was a witness.

Oral arguments scheduled for Monday on the motion were postponed.

Prosecutors received a copy of the psychological evaluation Monday morning, and prosecutor Sherry Ragan said they were still looking at whether to call a witness to counter the defense expert.

The defense also received the report by Xavier Amador of Columbia University on Monday morning, said defense attorney Tom Means.

At issue is whether Broomhead voluntarily waived his rights, said Tim Taylor, one of the prosecutors.

Other aspects of the case were discussed Monday, including a proposed stipulation by Ragan and defense attorney Richard Gale regarding Broomhead's clothing and shackles in court appearances.

The stipulation states that Broomhead would be shackled and not in plain clothes at pretrial hearings, but would allowed to wear plain clothes during the trial when jurors are there.

If Broomhead were shackled during his trial, a skirt would be placed around the defense table to hide the restraints from the jury's view, Ragan said.

The stipulation calls for the press to be prohibited from taking pictures of Broomhead in shackles or jail clothes.

Fourth District Judge Steven Hansen held off on signing the stipulation Monday.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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