Murder suspect’s booking room statements tossed

Taunton Superior Court Judge John Connor has suppressed statements allegedly made by a defendant at a police booking desk because they violated the defendant’s Miranda rights.

Mark Hayden,20, is on trial for the July, 2008 murder of Mansfield High School senior Matthew Colwell. Prosecutors allege that Hayden shot Colwell in the head during a drug deal gone awry. During the booking process, Hayden allegedly made several statements that prosecutors wished to introduce into evidence. One of those statements, “I didn’t mean to do it,” was allegedly made to Hayden’s parents. Hayden’s attorney, Francis O’Boy of Taunton, argued that the statements were made in violation of Hayden’s rights, specifically that they were made after he had asked for a lawyer. 

Bristol County Prosecutor Cynthia Brackett argued that Hayden’s statements made while on the telephone were voluntary and not part of his “custodial interrogation.” She has filed a notice of intent to appeal Connor’s ruling. A single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court will hear the request and decide whether the prosecution has grounds for an appeal.

In his ruling, Connor threw out Hayden’s booking room statements on the telephone because they were made “in the midst of a chain of events that began with his interrogation and continued without interruption to his booking.” Connor said Hayden had no opportunity for legal advice “even though it had been requested after his initial statement” during interrogation.

According to the Attleboro Sun Chronicle, before asking for a lawyer, Hayden admitted he was with Colwell and another passenger in an SUV for the purpose of buying marijuana. Hayden stated that he was in the back seat when the passenger pulled a gun and it discharged, striking Colwell, when he pushed it away.

This is the second blow to prosecutors regarding admission of statements made by Hayden. In a previous challenge, Judge D. Lloyd MacDonald threw out the confession Hayden made during an hour-long videotaped interview with police because it was made after he requested a lawyer.

Hayden was arrested at South Station in Boston the day after the killing and has pleaded innocent to murder. He is currently being held without bail.

O’Boy has also filed a motion to throw out statements Hayden made to Transit Police during the arrest, in addition to statements he made to Mansfield and state police after his arrest.

A motion hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 11.

About Attorney John J. MacLaughlan

John MacLaughlan is Massachusetts licensed attorney as well as a Boston police officer. John is currently assigned to the Youth Violence Strike Force (Gang Unit). He is a graduate of the Massachusetts School of Law with a concentration in Labor Law. He holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell as well as a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. John has taught Defensive Tactics, Firearms, Use of Force, Applied Patrol Procedures, and Police Response to Active Shooters to sworn police officers and police academy recruits. Prior to becoming a Boston Police Officer, John served for 9 years as a police officer in Lowell, where he was a member of the Police Dive Team and Patrol Rifle Team.
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