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Evidence in question

May 18, 2013
By ROBERT A. DEFRANK - Times Leader Staff Writer , Times Leader

ST. CLAIRSVILLE Belmont County Common Pleas Court held the first half of a hearing Friday to determine whether to include or suppress evidence in a vehicular homicide case.

Robert William Green, 56, 52235 National Road, St. Clairsville, faces charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, a felony of the second degree, and failure to stop at the scene of a fatal crash, a felony of the third degree, occurring Aug. 8, 2012. He is accused of hitting and killing Jason Cattane, 31, of Bridgeport, near the North Ebbert Road intersection. Cattane was reportedly walking home after attending the funeral of a friend's mother.

In April, Green saw the revocation of his bond after testing positive for the use of marijuana.

Article Photos

T-L?Photo/ROBERT?A. DEFRANK
Robert William Green sits in Belmont County Common Pleas Court Friday during his trial on vehicular homicide.

Andrew Warhola represented Green. Belmont County Prosecutor Chris Berhalter represented the state. Judge John M. Solovan II presided.

Warhola filed a motion to suppress all evidence found on Green's vehicle.

Sgt. Donald Britton, Trooper Rocky Hise and Trooper Ralph Hendershot, Ohio Highway Patrol, St. Clairsville post, testified. They related the response and investigative process and how the evidence was collected. The burden lies on the state to show that statements were taken in a voluntary and intelligent manner, and confiscation was done legally.

Britton, supervisor on duty at the scene, said a side view mirror from a vehicle was found at the scene.

"We knew that we had a side view mirror from a vehicle," he said, adding that the next step was to consult with GM dealerships to determine the type of vehicle they were looking for. He, Hise and Hendershot described the process which led to their suspicion of Green. A visit to his home revealed Green's vehicle, which appeared to match the type they were looking for and had damage apparently consistent with what would have been incurred in the accident.

Warhola questioned the methods by which evidence was collected and statements were taken.

The suppression hearing should be completed during another court session, where testimony from further investigative officers and the defense's witnesses will be heard. The date is to be set.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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