Friday, September 24, 2010

Judge:?Statements stand for Irwin murder trial

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Staff Writer
LISBON - A judge overruled defense efforts to suppress statements made by murder defendant Andrew Irwin and testimony by a dispatcher who answered the 911 call after Emily Foreman was stabbed in August 2006.
Judge C. Ashley Pike of Columbiana County Common Pleas Court released his decision on the motions this week, noting Irwin's trial remains on the docket as scheduled on Jan. 18.
He based the ruling on written arguments by the prosecution and the defense, saying he was siding with the state based on the reasons noted in the response of county Prosecutor Robert Herron.
Irwin, 29, of East Liverpool, had already been found guilty of murder for causing Foreman's death and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, but the 7th District Court of Appeals overturned the conviction, ordering a new trial in Common Pleas Court. The state tried to appeal to the Supreme Court of Ohio, but the high court declined.
In his reply to the motion to suppress filed by defense attorney Jennifer Gorby, Herron said the admissibility of any statements made by Irwin had already been decided after a hearing on Oct. 5, 2006 regarding an identical motion to suppress. He said that Gorby participated in that hearing.
She had been appointed to represent him the first time around, but then private counsel was hired. That hired counsel, George Kafantaris, was part of the reason the appeal was granted, due to ineffective assistance of counsel. He later lost his license to practice law due to some of his dealings in Trumbull County.
Herron wrote that Irwin was not "...entitled to a 'second bite at the apple' on these legal issues."
He also argued against the motion to suppress the dispatcher's testimony about what she heard during the 911 call, writing it was not hearsay, but part of her recollection of the call in which she reported hearing a faint female voice in the background saying "help me."
Even though she can't identify who the person is, he said "a reasonable inference can be drawn that the victim for whom the ambulance is being summoned is requesting help."
Gorby tried to argue the voice wasn't part of the transcript of the recording of the call and couldn't be verified. She said Irwin's statements should be suppressed because he was interviewed by police at the scene before the Miranda warning was read to him.
A status hearing for the murder case is set for Jan. 14. Irwin is scheduled to face trial on Dec. 7 for another indictment alleging he assaulted one corrections officer and spit at another at the county jail in July. He's been staying at the county jail with no bond set since being returned from prison.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at

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