Prisoner Will Get New Trial in 1984 Murder of Elderly Woman
By Ashley H. Grant, The Associated Press
ST. PAUL (AP) -- A man convicted of first-degree murder in the 1984 rape and death of a 69-year-old Minneapolis woman will get a new trial, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
Billy Daymond Bailey's appeal involved 10 separate issues, including several dealing with the destruction of evidence and another with his Miranda rights.
The judges were split on many of the legalities, but overall, ruled 4-3 that Bailey should get a new trial because he wasn't read his Miranda rights before he made statements to police.
All parties agreed that statements Bailey made to police prior to being informed of his Miranda rights were inadmissible, but the district court ruled statements Bailey made to police after receiving the warning were voluntary and admissible.
A majority of the Supreme Court disagreed.
"Our decision is consistent with the purposes of Miranda," Justice Sam Hanson wrote for the majority, which also included Justices Helen Meyer, Alan Page and Kathleen Blatz.
"If police are permitted to cure the illegality of a coercive unwarned custodial interrogation by merely providing the warning after they have already obtained inculpatory evidence, they would have little incentive to give the warning at the beginning of their custodial interrogation," Hanson said.
In the new trial, Bailey's statements to police would be prohibited as evidence. It appears, however, that DNA evidence Bailey also wanted to suppress will be allowed.
Peter Cahill of the Hennepin County Attorney's office said prosecutors planned to pursue the case.
Bailey was convicted in 2002 of killing Agnes Fafrowicz in her northeast Minneapolis home.
He was charged with murder shortly after the May 1984 killing, but the charges were dismissed due to insufficient evidence. An autopsy determined that Fafrowicz died of either suffocation or heart failure from the stress of the assault. Advanced DNA testing led to the latest charges.
Bailey is currently in federal prison serving a 20-year sentence on drug and counterfeiting charges. He was projected to be released in 2014 and then transferred into the Minnesota system to serve time for the first-degree murder conviction, which is mandatory life in prison.
Three justices disagreed on the Miranda issue, saying Bailey's statements after hearing his rights were voluntary.
"Bailey was 29 years old," Justice Russell Anderson wrote in a dissent joined by Justices Paul Anderson and James Gilbert. "He had significant prior experience with the criminal justice system, including Miranda warnings and waivers of those rights in connection with offenses dating back to the early 1970s. He had recently been released from prison and he informed the police that he was familiar with the law, having had access to the prison law library."
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