(KMSP) - Danny Heinrich, a person of interest in the Jacob Wetterling abduction case, is facing charges of possessing child pornography, but his attorneys want the search warrant and a secret recording taken by police tossed out as evidence.
The legal team claims police got a search warrant for Heinrich’s residence based on other cases too old to prosecute.
A former Stearns County captain and an FBI agent were on the stand as lawyers discussed and fought over evidence in Heinrich’s case at a federal court hearing Tuesday. At the hearing, it was revealed investigators secretly recorded conversations with Heinrich as they searched his Annandale home last July. They also placed a tracking device on his car.
His lawyers are trying to get the evidence thrown out by arguing the search warrant was illegal because it was for a crime prosecutors could never prosecute. While DNA tied Heinrich to the1989 sexual assault of Jared Shyrel, the statute of limitations had expired.
But Joe Tamburino, a criminal defense attorney not involved in the case believes the search warrant is probably fine because investigators were also looking for Jacob Wetterling evidence.
“You could use as a basis for the search warrant some older crime, as long as the crime you're talking about is still at issue. The crime we're really talking about in this investigation was the Wetterling situation. There's no statute of limitation on homicide, murder,” Tamburino says.
The defense also suggested some incriminating statements made by Heinrich were not admissible.
No Miranda warning was given when Heinrich talked with investigators while others searched his house, but he was not in custody.
“In a search warrant situation like this case, where they went and executed the search warrant, and Mr. Heinrich is free to go about, drink a beer, walk around his premises, he's not in custody so they don't have to read Miranda,” Tamburino said.
The defense also wants a change of venue. The judge won't be making a decision on any of these issues for about a month after both sides submit legal briefs.
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