BOULDER, Colo. –
When Boulder police arrested Diego Olmos Alcalde a year ago, an officer failed to advise him of his rights before asking him questions related to an 11-year-old homicide in which he was a person of interest, a prosecutor conceded Friday.
“That is what you call a Miranda violation,” prosecutor Ryan Brackley said Friday during the fifth day of motions hearings in Alcalde’s homicide case. But, Brackley said, the suspect was not coerced to say anything against his will.
“We’re asking the court to find that the conversation was not coerced and was voluntary,” Brackley said, adding that the prosecution wants to be able to use “anything” Alcalde said during the car ride to the Boulder County Jail as evidence in his June trial.
Alcalde was arrested in January 2008 on suspicion of killing University of Colorado student Susannah Chase after his DNA, entered into a federal database because of an unrelated kidnapping conviction, matched evidence from the Boulder crime scene.
Chase, 23, was brutally beaten with a baseball bat Dec. 21, 1997, and left to die in a downtown Boulder alley.
Based on the Miranda rights violations and other alleged infractions, defense attorneys argued Friday to suppress statements Alcalde made in the squad car and in the interrogation room.
Defense attorney Mary Claire Mulligan said that after Alcalde was arrested at a park in Aurora, a Boulder police officer tried to woo him into sharing incriminating details about his past.
Mulligan said the officer lied to Alcalde and “made up a story about working with immigration.” The officer also told Alcalde that she “didn’t know why he was being arrested by Boulder and asked if he knew why Boulder was picking him up,” Mulligan said.
Then, Mulligan said, the officer started asking about Alcalde’s criminal history.
“She was asking things like, ‘What were you doing back then to get you into trouble?’ and ‘Who were you hanging out with to get you into trouble?'” Mulligan said.
Once Alcalde arrived in Boulder, Mulligan said, the officer “threatened” him to tell the truth while other officers posed questions to “intimidate” Alcalde, like “You playing baseball?”
Mulligan said her client didn’t appear to understand that comment, answering: “No, soccer.”
Alcalde was advised of his Miranda rights before a detective directly interrogated him about the Chase homicide, but Mulligan said her client, on three different occasions, said he didn’t want to talk anymore.
Prosecutors agreed but said that every time Alcalde made those statements, he continued to talk anyway.
Boulder County District Judge James C. Klein didn’t rule this week on any of more than 30 motions in the case. The hearings will resume March 30.