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|Confessions stay; investigator says Conner Wood's demeanor 'kind of strange'|
Judge Leo Boothe has denied a motion to suppress two confessions given by accused murderer Conner Wood in the shooting deaths of his parents and a teenage friend.
Boothe said this morning (Wednesday) in Seventh Judicial District Court in Vidalia that law enforcement officers and investigators "did everything they could" to make sure" Wood, 16, understood his rights and that there was "no intimidation."
He said the "court was impressed" on several levels with the handling of the matter by authorities and that Wood's comments and statements were voluntary and that he was made fully aware of his rights.
Wood's trial is scheduled for April 14th.
He is accused of shooting to death his mother, Geraldine Trevillion Wood, 40; his father, John David Wood, 42; and a friend, 16-year-old Matthew Whittington. All were slain 11 months ago -- March 14, 2007 -- in the Wood's home on 119 Shady Lane in the Woodland Subdivision of Ferriday.
Wood is being represented by Harrisonburg attorney Paul Lempke, while 1st Asst. Dist. Atty. Brad Burget is prosecuting.
In court today, investigator Jack Fletcher said he was in the parking lot at Riverland Medical Center in Ferriday on the morning of the crime when shortly after 3 a.m. he was advised that there was a shooting on Shady Lane in the Woodland Subdivision. He was told there "were multiple victims."
At the scene, Fletcher said he first saw Conner Wood sitting inside a police patrol car. Wood told him that he heard two shots fired during the night, got out of bed, and went into his parents' bedroom to retrieve a gun. Fletcher said Wood told him that he did not see his parents.
Wood told Fletcher he met an intruder in the hallway and shot him. Because the intruder did not appear to be dead, Wood said he later shot the intruder again.
Unsure what was inside the house, Fletcher said he and other deputies made a "full tactical entry" with guns drawn.
Fletcher and other officers used flashlights to see their way. He recalled that before entering he could see a body lying in the hallway through a rear door.
Fletcher found Whittington's body there and Wood's parents in their bed. None had a pulse and all were later pronounced dead at the scene.
Fletcher said Wood appeared nervous at the scene, but "wasn't real upset," and not hysterical. Although Wood was not considered a suspect at the time, Fletcher said, "I had a weird feeling something wasn't right."
Wood was not crying nor showing great emotion, said Fletcher.
"It was kind of strange," Fletcher said, "he wasn't real upset," although Wood "had a little quiver" in his voice.
Then Fletcher said Wood made a statement that bothered him.
"The juvenile said he wanted to tell me something," Fletcher testified. Wood told the officer that his fingerprints would be on all the guns in the house because "they had shot all the guns the past weekend."
Fletcher said he made a "mental note" of that comment and continued on with the investigation.
One thing at the crime scene didn't make sense early on, said Fletcher.
An outer pane of a window on the rear door was broken, but the inner pane was not. However, shattered glass was found inside the house, not outside, indicating that the door may have been open when the glass was shattered.
|Frank Morris Murder Series|