A key ruling on evidence moves Heidi Grant’s trial in the death of Christopher Franklin one step closer. At question was whether four pieces of evidence in the case could be introduced at trial. In the motion to suppress, the defense argued oral and written statements Grant made to members of the Antwerp police department should not be allowed because Grant was not given proper Miranda warnings.

The first piece of evidence involved a flash drive containing bodycam video clips of the statements given by the defendant to the Antwerp police department. The second piece of evidence was a one page written voluntary statement Grant gave to Antwerp police officer Damien Esparza. The third exhibit was a four-page written voluntary statement given to Antwerp police captain Victoria Clemens, and the final exhibit was a one-page document entitled Miranda Rights and signed by the defendant.

The court ruled that the written statements were admissible because they were either given prior to Grant being taken into custody or after she had already been given her Miranda warnings. However, it ruled that parts of the bodycam evidence are inadmissible because Grant was not given Miranda warnings at the time the statements recorded were made.

The court stated that “upon review of all the videos in State’s Exhibit 1 in chronological order, the questioning initiated by Chief Clemens of the Defendant did initially appear to be of the kind of questions that one would ask to elicit information about a missing person.” It added that while Grant appeared at the police station voluntarily. During questioning, Grant kept her personal and work cell phones and “by all accounts was free to leave.”

As such, the court found that from the time that Grant entered the Antwerp police department until “approximately 0:01:13 on the video titled ‘heidi 2126 confession,’ she was not in custody and Miranda warnings were not required.”

At the 0:01:13 on the video mentioned above, the tone of inquiry changed, and Chief Clemens took Grant’s phone before mentioning needing a search warrant to obtain information from it, and the tone of questioning changed from “when did you last see him” to “tell me where he is.”

The court ruled that, “Given the totality of the circumstances, at that time a reasonable person would not have felt as if they were free to leave. It is at that point that Ms. Grant should have been informed of her constitutional rights as contained in Miranda and the Court finds that viewing the evidence and considering the totality of the circumstances, that Defendant’s Motion to Suppress Statement shall be granted as to this part of Defendant’s statements only.”

After Grant admitted to harming Franklin, Clemens administered the Miranda warnings to her, and she waived those rights in writing. Anything Grant said after those warnings will be admissible, as they were “given by the Defendant knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently” after she was advised of her rights.

A final pre-trial conference is scheduled for Monday, October 3rd. The trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Tuesday, October 18th.