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April 3, 2014

Plea offer likelyin murder case


“The court will make a written decision,” said Otsego County Court Judge John F. Lambert, who is presiding over the case.

Both Hegeman and Muehl said, in comments after the proceedings, that they had chosen not to argue the motions because there was no real disagreement between them.

“Once I saw his answers … there was no reason to argue,” said Hegeman.

“I had nothing to argue and neither did he,” said Muehl. “Everything that he request I consented to.”

In broad terms, Hegeman, in his omnibus pretrial motion asked the court to examine the grand jury minutes to determine if adequate evidence was presented to them, order the people to furnish any discovery or exculpatory evidence (a basic legal requirement), and asked the district attorney not to introduce any previous convictions or uncharged crimes without notice, and asked for a Huntley hearing to determine the admissibility of statements made by the defendant. Hegeman also asked the court that any hearings or motions be held no less than twenty days prior to the start of the trial.

In his response, in broad terms, Muehl agreed to the court examining the grand jury minutes, but asked that they not be handed over to the defense, agreed to hand over any exculpatory evidence as required by law, said that no uncharged or charged crimes would be used in trial or cross examination and, while maintaining that any statements made to the police were lawfully obtained, agreed to a Huntley hearing.

According to Hegeman and Muehl, a Huntley hearing is standard procedure when determining the admissibility of statements made to the police.

“It's really for the court to decided whether the statements were freely and voluntarily given,” said Muehl.

When asked about the statements themselves, Muehl said, “They were just statements made to the police prior to his arrest.”

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