Accused murderer’s statements again barred as evidence

 

DOVER — There’s no basis to further discuss a defendant’s suppressed statements made to police investigating an alleged 2015 murder in downtown Dover, according to a court order last Friday.

Prosecutors were denied in their bid for Superior Court to again consider whether Milford resident Rondree Campbell had invoked his right to remain silent when he referenced a shooting death that brought a first-degree murder and other charges against him.

A Middletown resident died from a gunshot wound suffered while helping a family member move in the area of South New Street on Nov. 1, 2015, police said.

While police claimed Mr. Campbell, 22 at the time, admitted to being the shooter, Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr. earlier found that the suspect had invoked his right to remain silent beforehand, thus disallowing any statements that followed to be presented at trial.

According to the Court in a five-page opinion, the Attorney General’s office maintained that the full context of Mr. Campbell’s statements to police was not considered.

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Rondree Campbell

The judge pointed to Mr. Campbell saying “what is you-what is there to say?” before a detective left him alone in an interview room before returning to continue the questioning.

“However, a careful review of the remainder of his response was a question that did not beg an answer: in other words, a rhetorical question,” Judge Witham ruled.

“The necessary implication of that question was that Mr. Campbell did not believe there was anything else to say. He was done talking.

“He had invoked his right to remain silent. That is why the interrogatory detective got up disturbed and walked out.”

The State argued that the detective reminded the defendant of his rights upon return, but the judge determined the detective “did not repeat the warnings.

“At best he alluded to them. That allusion does not cure the detective’s subsequent failure to scrupulously honor Mr. Campbell’s right to remain silent.”

Trial is scheduled to begin on May 8.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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