In 2014, Henry Brown and two others burglarized a hunting camp while high on methamphetamine. They took two four wheelers and damaged them in the process. After Brown was arrested, he was interviewed several times by Scott County Investigators Willie Anderson and Billy Patrick over the course of several months.
Brown sent multiple handwritten notes to the investigators asserting Moore’s participation in the crime and expressing an interest in receiving a bond setting. At Brown’s fourth interview, after waiving his Miranda rights, Brown provided a four page handwritten statement asserting that he never entered onto the victim’s property but that Harris and Moore had called him asking to store the four wheelers and other items at his mother’s house and asking for help selling the stolen items.
Anderson testified that over the course of the approximately thirty minute interview, he asked Brown about the discrepancies between his written statement and other evidence the police had collected. He stated, “I asked Brown specifically did he break into the facilities with Mr. Moore and Ms. Bridget. He held his head down and he said yes. I said, did you take the four-wheelers there? He stated, yes, he did.”
Brown expressed an interest in receiving bond, but they never offered Brown the promise of bond in return for a statement. Brown was convicted of burglary and sentenced to 23 years. On appeal, he argued the statement should have been suppressed. MCOA affirmed.
The trial court must determine beyond a reasonable doubt whether a challenged confession was voluntarily offered, and the State bears the burden of proving that the confession was voluntary. In Morgan, MSC said that a confession is involuntary and thus inadmissible if given as a result of inducement, threat, or promise.
We do not find that the trial court erred in determining that Brown’s inculpatory statements were made voluntarily. Brown requested to speak with the investigating officers, who refused to accept any statement from Brown until he voluntarily waived his Miranda rights. The officers testified that they have no authority to grant bond and that they did not promise Brown bond as an inducement to provide a statement. The court weighed the credibility of the suppression evidence and issued a ruling within its discretion. This issue is without merit.