A defense motion seeking to suppress much of the evidence the authorities used to indict a Stockton man who is suspected of killing a California Highway Patrol officer remained in a holding pattern Tuesday in Stanislaus County Superior Court.
One of the two lawyers who represent suspect Columbus Allen Jr. II was ill, so Judge Hurl Johnson said he will consider the defense request on Sept. 19, or only a few weeks before the high-profile trial is expected to begin.
Allen's lawyers are expected to bring a motion to move the trial from Modesto in Stanislaus County to another county before jury selection gets under way Oct. 14.
In the meantime, the judge held a lengthy hearing with defense attorney John R. Grele and Chief Deputy District Attorney Alan Cassidy to ensure that both sides share the findings of their investigations and exchange witness lists before trial, as required.
The motion to suppress is a meatier matter, as it strikes at the heart of the case against Allen, who could be sentenced to death if he is convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of officer Earl Scott.
Allen, 32, of Stockton is suspected of killing Scott during an early morning traffic stop Feb. 17, 2006, on northbound Highway 99, just south of Hammett Road, near Salida. The officer was gripping registration papers for a Nissan Maxima registered to Allen's wife, Bertera.
In legal papers, defense attorneys argue that statements Allen gave to authorities before he was arrested should be suppressed because Allen was not advised of his right to remain silent nor provided with a lawyer when he was questioned by a detective.
Authorities said statements Allen made when he and his wife went to the Stockton Police Department to report that their car had been stolen are fair game because they were made voluntarily.
Bee staff writer Susan Herendeen can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2338.