New details about the past of accused murderer Cobey Wade Lakemper were revealed in motion hearings on Monday and Tuesday.
North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Danny Mayes took the stand to testify about his encounters with Lakemper in August 2005. Mayes' testimony was part of a motion by the defense to make conversations between Lakemper and the special agent inadmissible.
Mayes said he, along with a detective, had traveled to the Madison County jail in Jackson, Tenn. in 2005 to serve Lakemper warrants for his alleged involvement in the murder of an elderly North Carolina couple.
After informing the suspect of the charges, Lakemper reportedly told the officers he was conscious of charges filed against him in Georgia and Missouri, but he was unaware of any crime in North Carolina. He then reportedly told Mayes he did not want to say anymore until he had a lawyer present.
Before Mayes and the detective left the room though, Lakemper began to speak again without being asked any questions. According to Mayes, Lakemper said if they could promise him the death penalty, he would waive the extradition process and would write out a statement.
The detective asked Lakemper to repeat what he had said and Lakemper reiterated his previous statement. Mayes called the N.C. district attorney, but the district attorney refused to commit to the death penalty at that time. In the entirety of his career as a law enforcement officer, Mayes said he had never had a person make such a request.
During a later exchange, when Mayes was alone with Lakemper, Mayes testified the suspect unexpectedly started talking about his ex-girlfriend and the child he had with her. Lakemper reportedly said he had been doing good until they had broken up, and after that he began to use drugs.
He then began to recount to Mayes his experience at a Kansas City hotel where he said the employees stole his money and a diamond ring. Lakemper is accused of robbing a hotel in Kansas City. The suspect also told Mayes he did not want to sit in jail for two years while this thing played out.
Lakemper's defense team argued both encounters should be inadmissible in court because Mayes never read the suspect his Miranda Rights. Judge Samuel Ozburn disagreed and ruled in favor of the prosecution. Ozburn said since the officers never asked Lakemper any questions, they did not have to read him his rights.
During Mayes' testimony, it was also revealed that the night of Lakemper's arrest, he tried to commit suicide at the jail.
On Monday, Ozburn ruled Newton County Sheriff Joe Nichols was within his rights to have moved Lakemper to the Putnam County Jail. After originally requesting relocation from Newton County because he suspected the guard had tampered with his mail, Lakemper and his defense did not like the move to Putnam.
Lakemper's lawyers, William McGuire with the Georgia Capitol Defender's office and Anthony Carter of the Alcovy Judicial Circuit Public Defender's office, argued the move made it more difficult to communicate effectively with their client. Ozburn said as long as they are allowed to be in touch with their client, the location of the prisoner is up to the sheriff.
The defense was also turned down in their effort to suppress evidence taken from the Lakemper's room at the Comfort Inn in 2005. Deputies entered the room after gunshot victim Wendy Carter told them where to find her attacker. Carter was working at the front desk of the hotel when she was shot.
She died Nov. 4, 2005, from a heart attack. The medical examiner determined the heart attack was a result of complications due to the gunshot wound.
Further motion hearings are tentatively set for September 5-7. At these hearings, Ozburn said he hopes to make final rulings on previous motions including whether the defense is entitled to Carter's medical records and if he should quash, or void, the indictment made by the grand jury.