Verdict reversed in 2013 killing in Gresham
Detectives with the Gresham Police Department have been rebuked again for continuing to interrogate a murder suspect after they asked for a lawyer.
This time, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the manslaughter conviction of a Gresham man accused of fatally shooting his first cousin, who had revealed they were in a gay sexual relationship together.
District attorneys say there's nothing in the ruling that prevents a second trial.
Brandon Alexander Hickman, now 32, remains behind bars at Snake River state prison for allegedly killing 37-year-old Makeitho De Monz Herring with a single gunshot to the head in September 2013 at Pine Square Apartments, 665 N.E. 178th Avenue.
After being arrested in Las Vegas a month later, Hickman told two investigators that "I really don't wanna say too much [unintelligible] I would rather have my lawyer with me but—" before being cut off, according to court transcripts.
"That's completely your right" said Det. Timothy Snider. After six seconds of silence, Snider continued: "If that's the way you wanna go with it then that's the way we play it. We came here to try to get your side of it, though, because we believe that there's more to it."
Hickman went on to make several incriminating statements, including that "it was an accident" and it "wasn't no premeditated thing" — all of which have been ruled inadmissible. The right to legal representation is enshrined in the Sixth Amendment.
Hickman pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter during a 2015 jury trial. At the time, prosecutors wrote that Hickman had been put "on blast" by his cousin Tito Herring, who was known to have sex with gang members, causing some in the community to fear for his safety.
On the day of his death, Sept. 9, police allege that Herring told Hickman's girlfriend that she wasn't "taking care of her man."
Around 11 p.m., two witnesses said they saw Hickman walk out of his girlfriend's apartment, walk down the stairs and shoot Herring, who was calling out taunts and describing their sexual activity from the parking lot, police say.
A judge ruled late last year that Gresham Det. Aaron Turnage violated certain Miranda Rights during a follow-up interrogation of Russell Courtier, who is accused of intentionally running over and killing a teenager in Rockwood in 2016.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misreported the name of the detective involved in the interrogation of Russell Courtier. It was Det. Aaron Turnage.
The Outlook regrets the error.