A circuit court judge is hammering Baltimore City police detectives for the handling of a suspect interview in the death of 7-year-old Taylor Hayes.
Judge Wanda Heard threw out 11 hours of the 12-hour police interrogation.
Hayes died from a single gunshot wound during a shootout last July on Lyndhurst Street in west Baltimore. The bullet went through the car trunk and struck the little girl in the back. According to police, the car belongs to 34-year-old Daneka McDonald.
McDonald's attorney attorney, Latoya Francis-Williams, said, "My client was not in a car involved in a shootout, period."
McDonald is charged with accessory after the fact of murder, obstruction of justice and altering physical evidence. Baltimore City's State's Attorney's Office will not comment on an open and pending matter.
"I do believe much of this is retaliatory. I do believe from what we have gleaned, my client asked for an attorney up front, and it went downhill from there," Francis-Williams said.
Police questioned McDonald for 12 hours about the shooting. Court records indicate her request for an attorney was ignored. When McDonald tried to remain silent, the questioning continued.
"The court took great issue with the profanity used towards my client during the interrogation, what anyone would consider verbal abuse, the threats, the intimidation, the length of the interrogation," Francis-Williams said.
During a motions hearing Tuesday, Heard threw out the 11 hours of the police interrogation. After listening to it in open court, she likened the police behavior to the Eliott Ness days of Prohibition. She characterized the interview as disgraceful, an embarrassment and not justice.
"We are confident that once my client has her day in court that we will not only be vindicated, but hopefully the community can finally hear the truth," Francis-Williams said.
Next month, the judge will hear arguments to dismiss DNA evidence. The defense also claims police unlawfully searched McDonald's phone. They are asking that information be dismissed, as well.
McDonald's trial is set to begin in September.