Judge denies motion to suppress evidence in aggravated vehicular homicide case




  • In US
  • 2022-11-30 10:50:35Z
  • By Mansfield News Journal

A judge has overruled a motion to suppress evidence in a case of alleged aggravated vehicular homicide.

Phil Naumoff, Richland County Common Pleas judge, issued his ruling in writing in the case against Craig Franklin, 53, of Lexington.

He is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and two misdemeanor counts of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse or a combination of them.

Franklin was the driver who reportedly struck Richard Castle, 51, of Marion, as he was attempting to cross the street on July 11, 2021. Castle died July 24.

Gavel and scales
Gavel and scales  

According to the Mansfield police crash report, Franklin was driving a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado south on North Main Street in front of 19 N. Main, when Castle attempted to cross.

"He was found lying in the roadway, alive but unresponsive," Prosecutor Gary Bishop previously told the News Journal. "It was determined he had been struck by a car while crossing the street."

Franklin reportedly showed signs of impairment and had a blood-alcohol content of 0.197, more than two times the legal driving limit of 0.08.

Defense attorney challenges legality of blood draw

Defense attorney Cassandra Mayer filed a motion to suppress, saying police lacked probable cause to get a search warrant for Franklin's blood and/or urine and failed to give Franklin his Miranda warnings.

"The best evidence in this case is the video wherein it is clear that defendant did not have slurred speech and is not unsteady on his feet or weaving," Mayer wrote in her motion.

Mayer said her client admitted drinking less than one 12-ounce beer at a social club.

In his judgment entry, Naumoff noted that Franklin immediately returned to the scene, where he was questioned by Mansfield police Officer Trey Hecht. The judge said there was probable cause.

"The officer observed defendant, who had bloodshot eyes, odor of alcohol, slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet," the judge wrote. "It was at that time that the officer requested defendant to submit to a BAC test, which he refused. The officer, at this time and after talking to his supervisor, requested a search warrant for a blood draw."

The accident happened at 9:39 p.m. with the blood draw taking place at 12:13 a.m., "well within the three-hour window."

"The court furthermore heard testimony from Melissa Rinehart, a nurse at OhioHealth, who administered the blood draw and testified that it had been done in accordance with the requisite requirements," Naumoff wrote.

Evidence about calibration of equipment disputed

Mayer also contends the state did not provide any evidence about the calibration of the equipment used to test Franklin's blood.

"Defendant's argument that the testing and collection procedures were not conducted properly is not well-taken and is hereby overruled," Naumoff wrote.

Regarding Mayer's contention that Franklin was never given his Miranda warnings, Naumoff wrote, "The court will note that through the course of this, when the defendant was placed in custody, he was never questioned by law enforcement, and therefore, Miranda warnings were not necessary or applicable."

Franklin is scheduled for trial on Dec. 12. If convicted, he could receive up to eight years in prison.

mcaudill@gannett.com

419-521-7219

Twitter: @MNJCaudill

This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: Richland County common pleas judge overrules motion to suppress

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