The attorney for accused murderer Jamaal Marquez Pridgett requested that his signed Miranda waiver be suppressed because he was under the impression he had to sign the form in order to give his side of the story.
Pridgett, 19, is accused of shooting several men and killing 20-year-old Jerome Glover on Oct. 7, 2008, during a dice game being played on West Street. According to witness statements, the five men were playing dice when Pridgett reportedly stood up, produced a pistol and ordered the other four men to the ground. The victims were robbed and then shot, according to detectives. Pridgett allegedly fled the scene, but officers in Porterdale located the vehicle he was last seen in parked in front of a home on Hazel Street and several officers from both CPD and PPD surrounded the residence.Originally charged with several counts of aggravated assault, his charges were changed to malice and felony murder after Glover succumbed to his injuries. His cause of death was listed as multiple gunshot wounds.
Covington Police Captain Craig Treadwell took the stand and read from transcripts what transpired the evening he first brought Pridgett to the interview room at CPD. According to Treadwell, Pridgett initially declined to speak with him and requested an attorney. He was transported to the Newton County Detention Center and from there to the Jasper County Detention Center. It is unclear at this time why he was transported to Jasper County but prisoners are often housed in surrounding counties when there is a possible concern for their safety.
Pridgett took the stand and told Judge Eugene Benton that while on the way to Jasper County, he told the transporting officer that he was nervous and asked for his mother. Pridgett said that the transporting officer — whose name he did not know — said that he would have to speak with Treadwell if he wanted to see his mother.
When asked if he would have agreed to speak with Treadwell if he had been able to see his mother, Pridgett responded, "nope."
Pridgett was transported from the jail in Jasper County back to the CPD and agreed, with his mother present, to sign the waiver of rights and speak with Treadwell. According to Treadwell, he did so of his own free will and did so with his mother in the room. At no time during the interview did Pridgett decide he no longer wanted to speak with Treadwell.
Pridgett testified that he did not want to waive his rights but his desire to speak with his mother caused him to do so.
"The only reason was because he [Treadwell] promised me a little visit time with my momma," he said.
He also testified that he felt like he had to answer questions posed to him by Treadwell in order to tell his side of the story and did not understand that he had the option to tell Treadwell his version of events without allowing him to question him.
Teri Smith, Pridgett’s public defender, requested that Pridgett’s statements be suppressed because he did not fully understand his rights. Assistant District Attorney Layla Zon argued that the state should have the right to question the transporting officer and complained the state was not given the opportunity to identify and call that officer to testify at the status hearing.
Benton agreed to continue the hearing until his next date on the bench, allowing the state time to bring the transport officer in for questioning on whether or not he told Pridgett he had to speak with Treadwell in order to see his mother.