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February 11, 2008 05:07 PM

Accused Killer Argues Evidence

A Sioux Falls man charged with killing his father would like evidence thrown out before the case goes to trial. 

Aaron Thomas is accused of shooting his father Gary Thomas in his garage last November during an argument. 

According to this search warrant, while sitting in a police car, Aaron Thomas admitted to an officer he killed his father. Thanks to the squad car camera, the officer says Thomas is on tape talking, but the audio did not work. So the defense wants those statements tossed.

Officer Scott Reitmeier with the Sioux Falls police department was the one who handcuffed Aaron Thomas after arriving at the scene of the crime. 

Reitmeier says he noticed a body lying in the open garage, and that Thomas said, "I shot my dad." 

Reitmeier testified that another officer brought a squad car close, Reitmeier placed Thomas in the back, and joined him inside to watch over him. 

The officer says he read Thomas his rights, and Thomas chose not to be interrogated, but still made unsolicited comments. 

That's where the defense claims the facts get cloudy. Officers wear wireless microphones that send audio to the video cameras in their squad cars. But since Reitmeier was in a different officer's vehicle, his mic recording didn't correspond with the camera in the car. His microphone also may have been turned off. 

But Reitmeier took notes of Thomas' direct quotes, which include: 

"I shot him with buck shot." 

"He was breathing when you got here." 

"This is an old routine. This goes back to when I was ten. This don't ever quit." 

"He's still treating me like a third grader." 

"It's not like it's a slug." 

The defense would like statements like these thrown out before a jury hears the testimony, since jurors would only get to see a video of Thomas talking without audio. But the prosecution argues it should be up to the jury to decide how believable they find the officer's word.

The defense has a long list of motions, including one to dismiss the case altogether. The judge hasn't ruled on any of them yet, because there will be one more hearing like this before the case goes to trial.


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