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|Judge to hear motion on teen's confessions in Woodland murders|
A motion to surpress "admissions and confessions" given by 16-year-old Conner Wood concerning the murders of his parents and friend in 2007 will be heard by Judge Leo Boothe on February 13th in Seventh Judicial District Court in Vidalia.
Wood's attorney, Paul Lempke of Harrisonburg, has filed a motion "for hearing on voluntariness of any admission or confession" given by Wood and asked that during the jury trial of Wood "to excuse the jury before any evidence of an admission or confession, whether written or oral, is admitted in the presence of the jury."
His motion asks that the prosecution be limited "from using the same for any evidentiary purposes."
Wood, 15 at the time of the murders, has pled not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. He was indicted by a parish Grand Jury on three counts of first degree murder and is being held at the parish correctional facility under a $900,000 bond.
Judge Boothe, after reviewing a Sanity Commission report, determined that Wood was competent to stand trial. He will be tried as an adult.
The murders occurred at Wood's home at 119 Shady Lane in the Woodland Subdivision in Ferriday on March 14, 2007. He is charged with shooting to death his parents -- Geraldine Trevillion Wood, 40, and John David Wood, 42 -- and his friend Matthew Whittington, 16.
Lempke's motion says that while Wood was talking to "certain law enforcement officers" that Wood "was either under arrest or substantially deprived of freedom by the attendant conduct of the officers and surrounding circumstances and that his statements made were not knowingly made and voluntarily given and were made without assistance of counsel."
Specifically, Lempke asserts that on March 14, 2007, the day of the murders, that Wood "made a statement during a 911 call, an inculpatory statement when the first responders arrived on March 14, 2007, a recorded inculpatory statement to the Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office, without assistance of counsel, and in violation of defendant's rights, when counsel was denied access to the client by law enforcement, before and during the taking of the statement..."
He adds that on March 17, 2007, "law enforcement took a second inculpatory statement" from Wood "without his counsel..."
This week, 1st Asst. Dist Atty. Brad Burget, who will prosecute Wood, filed a motion for discovery asking that the defense provide the prosecution with any evidence it intends to introduce during the trial.
Other matters concerning the case will also be heard during a trial of motions in Boothe's court on February 13th.
A Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office incident report on the night of the murder revealed that at around 3 a.m. a 911 dispatcher was "advised that someone just shot his parents and he has shot the shooter in the hallway. Needs assistance."
The caller was Conner Wood, who told the dispatcher that he "thought that the shooter was still alive in the hallway."
The dispatcher advised Wood that "someone would be there very shortly" and quickly dispatched officers from the sheriff's office and the Ferriday Police Department.
"I asked him (Wood) was the guy in the hallway still alive," according to the dispatcher. Wood advised the dispatcher that "he just shot him again."
At 3:20 a.m. a deputy advised that officers had "cleared the residence" and there were "2 bodies in bed and 1 body in floor in hallway. They are taking medical personnel in to check for any signs of pulse on subjects."
At 4:15 a.m., after ambulance and rescue workers had worked the scene, the dispatcher was told to notify Coroner Sara Lee "to respond," a sign that some or all of the victims were dead.
Deputies advised the department to call Comer's Funeral Home at 5:54 a.m.
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