• Diego Olmos Alcalde is charged in the 1997 murder of Susannah Chase.

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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.

Susannah Chase Case

Archived comments

How many cases does the Boulder Police Department get to screw up before they clean house.Failing to give a Miranda warning is as fundamental an error as an officer can make.We pay enough to run a police department — we shouldn’t have these kind of problems.

First they ignore a highly relevant tip, then they fail to give a timely Miranda warning.

They were incompetent in the Ramsey killing, and it sure looks like they haven’t learned since then.

ziggle

3/20/2009 4:04:36 PM

Are you kidding me?

theatv

3/20/2009 6:19:45 PM

The BPD is completely incompetent.I worked for a non-profit that helps victims of crime for 6 years.On the whole, the majority of the officersfrom Boulder are not bright, treat crime victims horribly (and with an advocate there – are you stupid or what?), and don’t know how to do their jobs.

There is so much crime in Boulder that this paper doesn’t cover.The police department is the main reason.Miranda rights are police 101.

LouisvilleResident

3/20/2009 6:21:39 PM

no surprise…

bandelier

3/20/2009 9:52:04 PM

The cops have wanted this guy for 10 years.They made a mistake, so what?It’s a slam dunk DNA case.

tara

3/20/2009 10:12:43 PM

You, mister anti-cop type, are very silly. Mr. Louisville Resident. Where are you from? I think I know where you’re from. You are a silly man. Please get a job. Your six years were a waste for those you wanted to serve. I’m sorry for you Mr. Louisville. Please keep telling us of your wonderful non-profit work. Silly man.

ObamaRules

3/20/2009 10:27:26 PM

LouisvilleResident

Incompetent?What would you have done?Run up to the guy and tell him that he is a murder suspect, quickly read him his Miranda rights and then expected him to answer questions?That would be incompetent!!The Police have to walk a fine line when they interrogate a suspect.Years and years of case law involving Miranda provides a lot of gray area for the Police to operate in.Sometimes, the Police push those limits too far and parts of the suspects statements are later suppressed in court.BPD’s creativity with Alcalde’s arrest and interrogation is nothing new and is not unique to Boulder.They were just operating in those “gray” areas.

Safehouse

3/20/2009 10:40:19 PM

I’m sure there were also language barriers, and the excitement for the cops finally closing in on this guy they wanted to get for so long.The DNA will nail this creep.

tara

3/21/2009 3:04:44 AM

You’re all idiots.

bobmobber@hotmail.com

3/21/2009 8:29:16 AM

Boulder Police cannot even get the Miranda stuff correct.

Further reason, Pelle and Beckner need to go!!!

GabeMc

3/21/2009 10:25:52 AM

Mr. LouisvilleResident, aka; Clueless

comcast777

3/21/2009 10:33:33 AM

No,the Boulder cops are NOTORIOUS SCREW UPS.I’m not even going to go into the Jon Benet stuff.I know at least a half dozen people who have had horrible experiences with them.The lying is standard operating proceedure.They told one friend of mine his car had been stolen, then recanted a half hour later after shackeling him in chains.He was 17 years old and smoking pot.Did 3 months probation and his record was wiped clean. A realy serious criminal huh?The cops were completely out of control.

Not reading someone miranda rights before discussing a possible murder is down right stupid.

smithomon

3/21/2009 11:03:36 AM

The Boulder Police Dept. and Boulder Sheriff’s Office need to make an emergency request to Pres. Obama for cop “bailout funds” so they can provide every cop and meter-maid with a TelePrompTer(TM).

No statements by cops would be made until their TelePrompTers are set up and the proper script downloaded. It works for Obama most of the time so this would be a trickle-down bonus for Boulder. But reducing Miranda rights violations and other alleged infractions would not solve the bigger problem – wanna guess what it is?

Anyhow, then these kinds of things would not happen as often … but missing clues will continue.

I bet O.J. Simpson wishes now that he had committed his crimes in Boulder.

MayorMfumbo

3/21/2009 11:15:21 AM

It is the law that cops HAVE TO READ SUSPECTS THEIR RIGHTS BEFORE THEY QUESTION THEM. It is not “stupid” to read them their rights, its the law. BPD blows this case for 11 years, when basic police work would have solved it a long time ago, and now they blow the case because their officers are so breathtakingly stupid that they can’t follow basic police procedure and read the miranda warning to a suspect.

And yeah, they treat victims of crime like criminals, because they resent having to do actual police work and prefer spending their time bullying people at random.

choderlos1741@yahoo.com

3/21/2009 3:17:44 PM