The Richmond Register

Crime

December 27, 2012

Defense challenges detective’s tactics in murder probe

Attorney wants defendant’s statements in Singleton case excluded from trial

RICHMOND — The defense attorney for the woman accused of Angela Frazier-Singleton’s murder questioned a police detective’s interview tactics Thursday morning during the second round of evidence-suppression hearings in the case.

However, it will be several weeks before Madison Circuit Court Judge William G. Clouse rules on whether all or some of Christina Marcum’s statements to police should be excluded at the March 11 trial.

Marcum, 29, and Jason Singleton, 36, are accused of beating and strangling Frazier-Singleton to death in January 2011. The Singletons had been married for only about a month.

Frazier-Singleton’s dismembered body was found in trash bags on Jan. 19, 2011, on Tattler Branch Road in the Valley View community.

Earlier this month, an evidence-suppression hearing was conducted about the legality of a search warrant used to gather evidence from Singleton’s home.

Clouse ruled at the end of the first hearing that Singleton’s rights were not violated in that search, and the Kentucky State Police did not intentionally mislead or provide false information in the affidavit used to obtain a search warrant.

Thursday’s hearing

KSP Detective Brian Reeder testified for about an hour and a half Thursday morning about three interviews he had with Christina Marcum while he investigated Frazier-Singleton’s death.

The first interview with Marcum occurred a day after Singleton was arrested and charged with murder. During that interview, Marcum told KSP detectives that Singleton had “strangled Angela on Tuesday (Jan. 18),” according to the search warrant affidavit for Singleton’s home.

Reeder said because it was so early in the investigation, police did not know if Marcum was a suspect, witness or potential victim. He did know Marcum and Singleton were close and had previously dated, Reeder testified.

“That point in time we didn’t know what her involvement was, if any,” Reeder said.

Marcum was not in custody during that interview and was free to leave at any time, Reeder testified. She talked on her cell phone, and also later brought a friend into the room, Reeder added.

Although she wasn’t in custody, Reeder said “to be on the safe side” he had advised the woman of her rights at the beginning of the interview.

The second encounter between the detective and Marcum occurred Feb. 10, 2011. Reeder contacted her attorney to notify him that a search warrant had been obtained to get a saliva sample, also known as a buccal swab, from Marcum.

Marcum met Reeder at KSP Post 7 and the swab took less than a minute, according to Reeder.

However, Marcum spoke to the detective for 36 minutes about the case. Reeder had a digital recorder in his pocket at the time.

“You never know when you bring someone in what they’ll say,” Reeder said when Marcum’s attorney, Theodore Shouse, asked why he recorded the encounter.

Reeder admitted he did not explicitly tell Marcum she was being recorded then but said he had previously told her he often recorded interviews during investigations.

Finally, on April 8, 2011, Reeder spoke to Marcum again at the Fayette County Detention Center. Marcum had been charged with intimidating a witness in the case against Jason Singleton, and she was turning herself in, Reeder said.

Reeder said he did not question Marcum about the murder case, but she made statements about it which were again recorded by the digital recorder in his pocket.

“Did she volunteer what’s on that recording?” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith asked.

“Yes, she did,” Reeder responded.

Marcum was charged with Frazier-Singleton’s murder in December 2011 after she was indicted by a Madison County grand jury.

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