BOULDER, Colo. –
Despite psychological pressure employed by Boulder detectives, the man accused of raping and killing a University of Colorado student a decade ago never cracked during interrogation.
Diego Olmos Alcalde, 39, and his two lawyers are in Boulder County District Court this week for a marathon of motions hearings before Judge James C. Klein.
The hearings resumed Tuesday with the defense questioning the lead detective about how he handled Alcalde’s Jan. 26, 2008 arrest and subsequent interview with police.
Alcalde’s attorney, Mary Claire Mulligan, asked Boulder Det. Chuck Heidel to explain what happened after Alcalde was finally told at Boulder police headquarters that he was a suspect in the death of Susannah Chase â who was raped and beaten to death Dec. 20, 1997.
Heidel said he showed an emotional Alcalde a picture of Chase that was taken just two days before the slaying. The photo was developed from the camera of Chase’s boyfriend after her body was found.
Detectives offered to let Alcalde take the picture with him to his jail cell.
“You wanted him to look at that picture, didn’t you?” Mulligan asked.
“Yeah,” the detective responded.
The defense went on to read from a transcript of Alcalde’s interrogation, in which detectives told Alcalde to confess because Chase’s family, “deserves to know what happened to her” â and because it’s a “death-penalty case.”
But through it all, Mulligan and Heidel agreed, Alcalde denied any connection to the homicide.
“He said, ‘I don’t have no idea about that,” Mulligan said. “He said, ‘I have nothing to hide.'”
Heidel described how the interrogation ended that Saturday afternoon.
“(Alcalde) said, ‘On my own death, on my own death, ” Heidel recalled. “I finished the sentence for him, and I said, ‘you’re going straight to hell.”
Following a break for lunch, the hearing resumed with the defense questioning Pamela Schaner, an administrator for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s Combined DNA Index System.
Schener was asked to explain how the CODIS DNA database operates, and what procedures were taken after a DNA sample Alcalde was required to submit after a kidnapping conviction in Wyoming matched evidence taken from Chase’s body.
Next, Donald Keeler, a maintenance supervisor at the Boulder County Jail, and Marci Lieberman, an investigator for the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office, testified that all of Alcalde’s phone calls made from the jail were recorded. The judge allowed a transcript of one call to be admitted into evidence. The call had to be translated from Spanish by an expert in the Chilian dialect, prosecutors said.
Judge Klein agreed with a request by Alcalde’s attorneys to seal from the public and the media any existing or future phone calls that Alcalde makes from the jail.