Not all statements Daniel Wildman made to law enforcement officials after his arrest will be inadmissible at his trial.
Judge John Bauercamper recently granted a prosecution motion for him to reconsider his previous ruling suppressing evidence in the case.
Wildman, 23, of Cresco, has been incarcerated at the Winneshiek County jail since last fall on three counts of attempted murder for shooting a 12-gauge shotgun at Cory Numedahl, Andrew Massman and David Cheney of Calmar as they were exiting their vehicle in Calmar Oct. 16.
Several law enforcement agencies were dispatched to apprehend Wildman, who was wanted on an outstanding warrant for his arrest from Howard County on a probation violation for felony offenses. A special response team and an Iowa State Patrol airplane assisted in the search for Wildman, who was believed to remain armed, and was observed driving an all-terrain vehicle, hiding in a barn and running into a cornfield, according to court records. Wildman eventually surrendered to Iowa State Patrol officers and was taken into custody at about 9 a.m. Oct. 16.
On June 6, Bauercamper ruled in favor of a defense motion to suppress statements Wildman made to police at the Decorah Law Enforcement Center following his arrest.
"The constitutional right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment was subverted by the deceptive interrogation tactics used by the officers in this case. Defendant was told the officers had his cell phone, which was an untrue statement. The clear impact of this misrepresentation was first, to cause the defendant to invoke his right to counsel, and then shortly thereafter, decide to waive his right to counsel and try to bargain or talk his way out of the fix he was in when he could not contact his attorney," Bauercamper said in his ruling.
"Looking at the issue of voluntariness of the defendant's admissions in the context of the totality of the circumstances, including his rather spectacular arrest, custodial interrogation, drug-use history, current drug use and deceptive, false confrontation with evidence against him, renders his decision to waive his Miranda right involuntary," the judge concluded.
Asked to reconsider
Winneshiek County Attorney Andy Van Der Maaten then filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider his decision.
"The defendant made numerous statements to law enforcement officers prior to the deception found by the court as the basis for 'deceptive interrogation tactics'," Van Der Maaten argued.
"Statements made by the defendant, whether volunteered or in response to questions from law enforcement officers prior to the claim that law enforcement had the defendant's cell phone, should be admissible at trial, as those statements were not made involuntarily."
In a ruling late last month, Bauercamper granted the prosecution's motion and expanded his previous ruling to exclude from evidence only statements the defendant made after he was told authorities had possession of his cell phone.
After the arrest
In his "findings of fact" issued after a hearing on the defense motion to suppress evidence, Bauercamper summarized what took place after Wildman's arrest.
Troopers questioning Wildman were concerned about Wildman's possible intoxication, including his use of drugs due to his prior drug- related offenses. While they found no evidence of alcohol intoxication, they felt there were signs of drug impairment. Wildman consented to a urine sample for drug testing, the court document said.
A trooper trained to perform a drug influence assessment evaluated Wildman, who admitted past drug use but nothing currently other than marijuana. Wildman volunteered comments about the events of the morning of his arrest but denied being in Calmar. The trooper decided to stop the drug evaluation and continued the conversation about what had happened.
Wildman repeatedly denied being in Calmar, but did acknowledge hearing a helicopter and seeing officers looking for him, probably due to the arrest warrants for him from Howard County.
"Wildman admitted talking to his girlfriend on a cell phone and getting some vague information. (The trooper) told him that the police had possession of Wildman's cell phone and that the cell phone would prove that Wildman was in Calmar and that he had lied about this. Statements were also made to him that the police had the evidence to convict him on the events in Calmar," Bauercamper wrote.
Wildman became agitated and said he no longer wanted to talk, but would contact his lawyer, Mark Anderson of Cresco. The attorney was in court and unavailable at the time. Wildman was placed in a cell where he was held for five to 10 minutes. He began yelling and pounding on the door of his cell, and officers responded. Wildman said he wanted to resume talking to officers. The trooper who had been questioning him earlier, told Wildman he had invoked his right to counsel and they could not talk to him, Bauercamper wrote.
Wildman said he no longer wanted his lawyer and wanted to talk to the officers. He was released and returned to the interview room.
"Wildman was adamant that he wanted to talk, in particular about an arson case. The officers presented a written Miranda waiver form to Wildman, read it to him and obtained his signature. Wildman then admitted he had been in Calmar earlier that morning and had fired a gun in the air, merely to scare some people, and not to harm anyone ... he implicated two individuals as responsible for the arson, who happened to be two of the victims (Numedahl and Massman) in the shooting incident in Calmar earlier in the morning. This was information that Wildman wanted to trade, apparently to explain or deflect any responsibility by him for the shooting incident in Calmar," Bauercamper wrote.
Wildman's court file does not provide specific details of the arson case the defendant was referring to.
While officers acknowledged physical signs consistent with drug use, none believed Wildman was impaired to the point he did not know what he was doing.
"They all noted that he remained calm and cooperative most of the time, was given food and drink and advised of his Miranda rights several times," Bauercamper wrote.
The Department of Criminal Investigation lab analysis of Wildman's urine sample revealed the presence of oxycodone and oxymorphone, although the reports were unable to disclose the quantity of the drug in his system or how long it was present.
Jurors summoned Aug. 1
In his recent ruling on the prosecution motion to reconsider the suppression of evidence, Bauercamper said the state possesses an audio recording of Wildman's interrogation. He said the prosecutor should be able to accurately determine what statements were made by the defendant prior to law enforcement telling him they had his cell phone.
Wildman's trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday, July 31, with hearings on all pending pretrial motions. Up to 80 potential jurors are to be summoned to the courtroom 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, to be available for jury selection.
Wildman's attorney is relying on a "defense of intoxication by drugs" strategy.