BLUE EARTH - The next step in the murder trial of Brian Daniel Freeman of Ceylon is an arraignment hearing set for Nov. 19.
District Judge Douglas Richards recently decided not to throw out any evidence against Freeman after the Feb. 20 attack that killed Christopher Fulmer, 37, of Blue Earth, and severely injured Freeman's wife, Candice Freeman, and her two teenage daughters.
Freeman is accused of breaking into Fulmer's residence and attacking him and the three females with a hammer, causing head injuries to all four.
Freeman's attorney, Scott Cutcher, chief public defender for the Fifth District, argued five statements and the clothing collected as evidence should be thrown out because it was gathered before Freeman was advised of his Miranda rights.
"You always hope, but we were prepared for it to go this way," Cutcher said. "I think we're right, but [the judge based his decision on the fact that] Mr. Freeman was not in custody."
The defense's argument was based on officers questioning Freeman in a "coercive atmosphere, and Mr. Freeman should have been read his Miranda rights earlier," Cutcher said.
Prosecuting attorney Troy Timmerman felt differently.
"We were not surprised by the decision," he said of his team. "It seemed it was well-thought out [by the judge] and reasoned along the same lines as the argument we were making in our memorandum."
At the arraignment, Cutcher says Freeman will enter a plea of not guilty and the judge will make sure everything is in order to set a trial date.
Neither attorney expects the trial to start until after the first of the year.
If there's a way to avoid scheduling the trial during the holiday season, "it's in everyone's best interest," Cutcher said, adding "jury selection takes two weeks minimum, closer to three."
Timmerman said the court is currently scheduling trials in January and February, and that is for trials expected to last just one day.
"A week-long trial could be later than that," he said.