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November 18, 2017

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Teens want statements stricken in shooting death of Palo Verde student

Christopher Privett

Christopher Privett

Two teens charged in the slaying of 15-year-old Christopher Privett last year have filed motions in District Court to have their statements to police stricken as evidence, citing coercion and lack of legal counsel.

Ezekiel Williams, 19, and Gerald Davison, 17, are charged with murder in the death of Privett in a drive-by-shooting near Palo Verde High School on Feb. 15, 2008.

A hearing is scheduled for March 27, when District Judge Stefany Miley will make a decision regarding both motions.

Davison and Williams have pleaded not guilty and were granted separate trials earlier this year. Davison’s trial is set for Aug. 3 and Williams’ trial is set for Aug. 24.

Davison’s attorney, Osvaldo Fumo, said in his motion that when his client was arrested at 3:30 a.m. the day after the shooting, it took about 40 minutes before he was read his Miranda rights.

Police records show that during his interview, Davison confessed that he was the shooter and said his intent was to scare Privett and his friends after an earlier altercation.

Fumo argued in his motion that Davison was chained to a pole for about two hours in a “freezing” interview room. He also cited Davison’s lack of familiarity with the justice system, sleep deprivation and lack of parental or legal counsel as reasons the statement should be thrown out.

Prosecutors argue in their counter-motion that Davison’s mother was asked to come to the police station and she did not. Davison then agreed to give a statement without his mother present, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also said that during Davison’s statement, detectives asked him if any threats or promises were made to him during his time in custody and he said “no.”

Williams, meanwhile, was first questioned by police — before he was arrested — the day after the shooting, his attorney, E. Brent Bryson said in a motion.

Bryson said he requested that no further communication take place between his client and police unless he was present, according to the defense motion.

Several days later, about 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2008, Williams — who police allege was in the car during the shooting and handed Davison the gun — was arrested.

During an interview with police that night, Williams admitted cleaning out his car to dispose of evidence and lying to police about the location of the pistol used in the shooting, according to the arrest report.

Bryson, who said he missed calls from Metro detectives because of a family emergency, said in his motion that Williams’ statements should be suppressed because his attorney was not present at the time.

Prosecutors argued in their counter-motion that only the person being interviewed can invoke his right to an attorney.

They also said that during the second interview, Williams knew he had legal representation but chose to waive his right to have his attorney present and speak to the police.

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