Manning was orgionally held at the Luna County Juvenile Detention Center since the allegded crime occured in Grant County. A potentially damning interview of Manning, conducted during the investigation of the slaying of the youth’s father, has been excluded as evidence because the recorded interview’s audio quality is so poor, said the prosecutor in the case. According to a report in the Albuquerque Journal.
Now the question facing the court is whether the contents of the interview will be excluded as evidence as well, said George Zsoka, a Silver City-based deputy district attorney.
Prosecutors will seek an adult sentence against Manning if the teenager is convicted.
District Judge J.C. Robinson ruled last Friday, after a July 17 hearing in the case, that the recorded interview “as it is now, is not
properly audible and could not be used as evidence.”
The judge said he would reconsider the ruling if the recording’s audio can be improved to the point that the conversation between
Manning and a detective is intelligible.
Asked how harmful the exclusion of the recorded interview is to the prosecution’s case, Zsoka said he could not discuss the recording’s contents but added: “He (Thomas Manning) makes statements which the state considers to be self-incriminating.”
With the exclusion of the recorded interview, a defense attorney argued at a hearing Monday that the contents of the interview should also be barred as evidence, Zsoka said.
“I took the position that if the recording is problematic, fine, but there’s no reason the detective can’t testify to what
the defendant told him,” Zsoka said. Before a ruling is made on that question, the defense and prosecution must both file briefs on the issue, Zsoka said.
Manning’s attorney, public defender Stacey Ward, could not be reached for comment Thursday.