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Court admits two Mirandized statements given by subject who had sex with his daughter

Facts

In 2015, Robert Ellis lived with his wife and four children in New Albany, Mississippi. Kelly was a daughter that came from Ellis’ previous marriage. Kelly began living with her father at 11 when her mother had drug issues. Robert’s wife became suspicious about the relationship between Robert and Kelly one year after she moved in with them.

She confronted Robert who told her that if anyone found out about his relationship with Kelly, he “would kill the bitch and the body would never be found.” The wife’s grandfather reported this to police and Kelly was interviewed. Kelly said she had sex with Robert on three separate occasions. Twice it happened in the woods and once it happened at home. A forensic interview with Kelly confirmed that there was penetration.

Ellis turned himself into the police and he was Mirandized. Ellis stated that he would plead guilty and did not want to drag his daughter through the mud. Ellis also signed a written statement to the same effect and was then taken into custody. Detective David Garrison and Detective Johnny Bell, Union County S.O,  interviewed Ellis again the next day, after Ellis expressed interest in talking.  Garrison and Bell testified that Ellis once again agreed to waive his rights, and Ellis again signed a Miranda waiver and gave a statement.

Ellis told Garrison and Bell that he had a rough childhood and admitted that he had been attracted to younger girls for some time. Ellis stated that he knew he had a problem, but he had never forced his daughter to have sex with him. He admitted that he had sex with his daughter twice—once in the backseat of his car in a wooded area and once in the living room of their home. He also stated that he used protection both times.

Ellis was convicted of sexual battery and sentenced to 30 years. On appeal, he argued his confessions should have been suppressed. MCOA affirmed.

Analysis

Garrison read Ellis his rights and obtained a signed Miranda waiver on June 3, 2015, and again on June 4, 2015. In addition, Garrison and Bell testified that during the suppression hearing that they did not pressure or coerce Ellis to talk or make any promises or threats and that Ellis talked to them voluntarily. Furthermore, Dr. Lott found that Ellis had the capacity to knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive his rights. Ellis offered no contrary evidence during the suppression hearing. Ellis’s argument is without merit.

 

https://courts.ms.gov/Images/Opinions/CO138411.pdf