David Sanchez's alleged confession could be thrown out.
A murder case in Waynesboro may have to go on without a vital piece of evidence. A civil-rights attorney says the defendant's alleged confession should be tossed out of court because it violated his right to an attorney.
Soon after the June stabbing of Eduardo Herrera in Waynesboro, police arrested 22-year-old David Sanchez in the state of Florida. Sergeant Becky Moran, through a Spanish-language interpreter, questioned Sanchez about the killing. It continued even after Sanchez asserted his right to an attorney.
Sanchez was indicted this week on a second-degree murder charge. A transcript of a partial confession last July is in the circuit court case file. Just minutes into that interview, an interpreter reads Sanchez his Miranda warning but fails to pass on his response: "Yes, I would like to have a lawyer present."
Later, with Moran out of the room, Sanchez again says he needs a lawyer, and again, the detective is not told.
Civil rights attorney David Whitehead says it appears the Florida-based interpreter "muddled" his job, and "became the cop." Whitehead, from the Rutherford Institute in Charlottesville, doubts a judge would allow the confession.
Waynesboro police and prosecutors will not talk about the case, and Sanchez's attorney has not returned a phone call seeking comment.
Sanchez will be back in court in two weeks, to enter a plea of guilt or innocence.