Attorney says Griffin's comments should be suppressed
The attorney of a local man accused in a shooting death is requesting the court to nix statements he made to police on the night of the murder. In a series of the most recent motions filed in the case of John Chad Griffin — who is charged in the Jan.16, 2013, shooting death of David Stewart at a North 13th Street residence — Griffin's attorney, Janice Williams, is requesting the court to suppress any statements Griffin reportedly made in the moments following his arrest. In the living room of 232 N. 13th St., Griffin allegedly pointed a shotgun at the back of Stewart's head and pulled the trigger. Arkadelphia police arrived within minutes of receiving a 911 call from that residence and found Griffin in a bedroom inside that residence. He was taken into custody without incident. According to court documents, Griffin admitted to police that he killed Stewart. Investigators close to the case have said that both men consumed alcohol that evening, and that Griffin was intoxicated at the time he was arrested inside the home. Williams is arguing that Griffin's Constitutional rights were violated. "The defendant was highly intoxicated on the evening and night in question," she wrote, "and the law enforcement officers [from Arkadelphia Police Department and Clark County Sheriff 's Office] had knowledge of [Griffin's] intoxication by alcohol at the time statements were taken from him prior to his request to have an attorney present." Williams is requesting a hearing on the motion. A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 21. A separate motion Williams filed requests that prosecutors refrain from calling Griffin's integrity into question during trial. Prior to the shooting death, Griffin had a prior domestic violence conviction for which he had spent about a year in the Clark County Detention Center. In response to Williams' motion, Clark County Prosecutor Blake Batson wrote that it is "impossible for the court to rule on the admissibility of presumptive impeachment evidence before there has been any underlying testimony offered. As such, [Williams'] motion is premature." Batson did, however, agree to obtain a ruling from the court on the matter outside the presence of a jury. A third motion calls for Circuit Judge Robert McCallum to weigh in on the admission of crime scene photographs so they are used as evidence of proof rather than jury prejudice. Batson, in his response to that motion, agrees to identify photos the state intends to introduce prior to the jury trial. Finally, Williams is seeking the state to surrender fingerprint analyses, gunpowder residue analysis, clothing Griffin wore on the night of the murder, the weapon used and investigators' field notes for her inspection. Additionally, Williams wants to be provided all criminal convictions of the alleged victim and of witnesses prosecutors intend to call to the stand.