LIMA — A request for the same brand of cigarettes during an interrogation with detectives a man charged with robbing a gas station is accused of taking cannot be used against him at trial, a judge ruled.
But 16 minutes of statements Richard Stoneburner made to investigators before he asked for an attorney will be allowed into evidence against him, Judge David Cheney of Allen County Common Pleas Court ruled.
Stoneburner, 27, was seeking to have that evidence suppressed. He is charged with aggravated robbery along with Heather L. Stotler, 34. They are accused of robbing the One Stop Shop Marathon at 4170 N. West St. A man entered the gas station wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a black mask over his face. He had a long-barrel black revolver, and demanded cash and cigarettes before leaving the store.
During his interview with investigators, a detective asked Stoneburner if he smoked and what kind of cigarettes he smoked. Stoneburner requested a Newport cigarette. Cheney said the detective was aware of the brand of cigarettes stolen and the Sheriff’s Office did not have an inventory of cigarettes to fulfill requests for specific brands.
Stoneburner had not yet been advised of his constitutional rights and the judge said the investigator should have realized any discussion about the cigarettes could have elicited a potentially incriminating response. Cheney ruled that part of the video recording cannot be used at trial.
Stoneburner also was seeking to exclude 16 minutes of the interview that happened after he was advised of his constitutional rights. While he was given his Miranda warning advising him of his rights he made a statement “I might want a lawyer.”
When he made that statement, investigators told him if he wanted a lawyer to just let them know.
The judge ruled Stoneburner’s statement that he “might want a lawyer” did not clearly ask for an attorney, as required by law, so therefore whatever he told investigators is allowed in until the point he did ask for an attorney, when investigators then ended the interview.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.