Judge allows videotaped statements in Kansas City trooper shooting case

Sunday, October 21, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The videotaped statements a man made to police after being arrested for shooting a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper will be allowed into evidence at his trial, a Jackson County judge said.

On Friday Circuit Judge Stephen Nixon denied a request from a public defender for Tommy R. Rollins Jr. to throw out the statements. The public defender said Rollins may have been intoxicated when he made the statements or had been coerced by investigators.

Two Missouri troopers who participated in the arrest of Rollins testified that they read him his Miranda rights.

Rollins, 28, of Grandview, Mo., is charged with shooting trooper Brandon Brashear at least nine times after a May 2005 traffic stop in Lee's Summit, Mo. The trooper survived the shooting and attended Friday's hearing.

Sgt. Christopher Drenon testified that Rollins had a small cut on his face when he was arrested at an Independence pool hall. While Rollins was upset, Drenon said he didn't appear intoxicated and eventually calmed down.

His own words

Cpl. Darron Blankenship said the videotaped statement was Rollins' idea, who he said wanted the account of what happened recorded in his own words. The videotape was made in the Lee's Summit police headquarters.

Tammy Dickinson, chief trial assistant for the Jackson County prosecutor's office, said there were no signs that Rollins was being forced to make the recording or told what to say.

"For 27 minutes of it, he went on, by his own free will and off his own choice," she said.

Public defender Ned Shine said it was unclear what condition Rollins was in physically and mentally before the videotape and that police could have forced him to waive his right to remain silent. He said police may have also coerced him into leading investigators to a wooded area in Independence where Rollins said he dropped a gun.

Nixon denied the motion and said Rollins' trial is scheduled for March.

Prosecutors have said that Brashear intercepted Rollins before he could do any harm to Dred D. Scott, a principal with the Raytown School District who had fired Rollins, a custodian.

Brashear was shot after getting out of his patrol vehicle, and was chased into the median where he was shot several more times, officials said.

Rollins later showed police the assault rifle and two Molotov cocktails he had in his car at the time of the shooting. He pleaded guilty last year to federal charges of possessing the homemade gasoline bombs.

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