There was a hearing today to find out the judge’s ruling on the defense’s motion to supress Manling’s statements to the sheriff’s department. The defense had argued that her Miranda rights were violated. The back and forth on this motion all took place last Thursday, but the judge took the weekend to review all of the video tapes of her interaction at the station, audio tape of interviews by the detecives, transcripts of such, and transcripts of all of the arument for and against.
Judge Martinez spoke for at least 45 minutes, outlining everything he saw and what it meant, and seemed to address every argument by counsel. In the end, he ruled against the motion. He found that the deputies all acted appropriately, and that all of her statements were made voluntarily and were the product of a rational intellect and free will. She never asked to see a lawyer or invoked her 5th amendment rights. In fact, she was eager to cooperate with the investigation and said she understood the need to quickly eliminate her as a suspect. When she finally said that she wanted to go home and get some sleep, Detective Walls, returning from the crime scene said that he didn’t think she could go home. Blood had been found in her car and on a box of cigarettes. He informed her that she was under arrest and explained her rights. She understood and finally said that she was “torn between wanting a lawyer and wanting to let it all out”. Detective Walls clearly told her he couldn’t make her talk to them and she said she knew that. Judge Martinez said that Manling made the decision to exercise her free will and cooperate in order to “relieve herself of torment, anguish and self reproach.” The fact that her parents tried to hire an attorney for her and his arrival at the station did not “negate her free decision to speak.”
It was difficult to hear some of his summing up of the events of August 8, 2007. At least it was difficult for me. It’s going to take me a few days to really get a handle on everything that was said, even though I wrote everything down. Some very emotionally charged words were used, such as “horrific”. The judge described the crime scene as “horrific”, and said that she was brought to the station as a material witness to a “multiple murder – the deaths of two children and a vicious assault on a male adult.” What mother wants to hear that her child suffered a “vicious assault” and “horrific” death? Intellectually I know how bad the attack on Neal was. He bled out in only a few minutes and had multiple fatal wounds among the nearly hundred stab wounds. The heart is another thing althgether. In my heart I hold them all safe and intact. The stark reality of the courtroom makes it hard to hold on to that.