July 26, 2013

Attorney for Lewiston arson suspect says confession inadmissible

The attorney says 13-year-old Brody Covey was not read his Miranda rights until more than an hour and 45 minutes into an interview with a Lewiston detective.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

LEWISTON — The police detective who interviewed a 13-year-old boy who is accused of setting a fire that destroyed three downtown buildings in April took the stand Friday morning in Lewiston District Court.

The boy’s attorney, Allan Lobozzo, questioned Lewiston police Detective Robert Morin about when, in his mind, 13-year-old Brody Covey turned from a witness to a suspect during the interview.

Lobozzo is arguing that statements in the interview, including a confession by Covey, are inadmissible because Morin did not read the boy his Miranda rights, letting him know he could remain silent and was entitled to a lawyer, until more than an hour and 45 minutes into the interview.

Morin testified Friday that he did not consider Covey a suspect when he took him into the police station to interview him. He started to consider him a suspect when he noticed inconsistencies in his accounts of what happened that day.

In a video of the police interview, shown in Lewiston District Court on Monday, Covey told police he started the fire with a lighter at his Blake Street home because of the poor living conditions there and as retaliation again his neighbors for calling authorities on his family.

After Covey said he put rubbing alcohol on a cardboard box to start the fire, Morin read him his rights.
The April 29 fire destroyed the building where he lived, 105-111 Blake St., and two adjacent buildings at 172 Bates St. and 82 Pine St. It was the first of three fires in downtown Lewiston within several days that, together, displaced nearly 200 people.

Another 13-year-old, Abdi Ibrahim, is accused of starting a fire on May 3 that destroyed four apartment buildings. Ibrahim, who denies the charges, was ordered by Lawrence in court Wednesday to be transferred from a detention center to a residential treatment facility while he awaits trial.

If convicted, he and Covey could be committed to a youth detention facility until they are 21.

Brian Morin, 30, and Bryan Wood, 23, are accused of setting the third fire on May 6 that destroyed two unoccupied buildings on Bartlett Street. Each is charged with two counts of arson, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

The hearing for Covey has been continued to Aug. 5.

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