VALPARAISO — When a local judge threw out the bulk of a police interrogation in a Chesterton murder case earlier this month, he did not go far enough, according to a motion filed Thursday. The accused, Christopher Dillard, is asking the same local court to allow the state appellate court to consider a request to throw out all of the April 19 and 20 interrogation by Chesterton Police Chief David Cincoski, according to the motion filed by defense attorney Bob Harper. The balance of the interview targeted by the motion reportedly contains a confession and/or self-incriminating statements.
Harper continues to argue that Cincoski violated Dillard’s rights by not stopping the 12- to 14-hour interrogation after any of the three or more times Dillard requested an attorney. Police are also accused of violating Dillard’s rights by keeping him in an interrogation room at the police station for so long that he slept on the floor. “Much of the state’s case is based on evidence that Christopher Dillard believes should be suppressed,” the motion reads. Dillard claims his Miranda rights and due process were violated.
Senior Judge Thomas Webber threw out the bulk of the interrogation based on Cincoski’s failure to stop the interview when Dillard requested an attorney. But the judge said prosecutors can use a later part of the conversation that included a confession tendered by Dillard after Cincoski reminded him of his Miranda rights, according to the ruling. Self-incriminating comments made by Dillard to his girlfriend in the recorded police interview room can also be used, according to Webber. Dillard, 51, of Hobart, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Nicole Gland, 23, of Portage, on April 19 by stabbing her in her vehicle in a parking area behind the former Upper Deck Lounge, 139 S. Calumet Road, in Chesterton where they both had worked.
Dillard, who was picked up by police the same day, told his girlfriend while at the Chesterton Police Department, “I killed that girl. I didn’t mean to,” according to the charging information. “He indicated to her that the drugs had a hold of him,” police have said. Webber, who had a temporary assignment in the courtroom, has since been replaced by newly appointed Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer. The interlocutory appeal sought by Harper is used to challenge contentious issues while the overall criminal case is still pending. It is up to the local judge to approve the request to refer the issue to the state appellate court and then it is up to the appellate court to agree to hear the matter, Harper said.
A trial is scheduled for May 21, with preliminary hearings March 9 and April 13.