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October 28, 2013

Porn suspect's interview statements won't be suppressed

- — A federal judge Thursday denied the suppression motion of a man accused of making and possessing child pornography.

The ruling hinged on whether U.S. District Court Judge Arthur J. Schwab believed the testimony of a state police trooper and an FBI agent or the defendant, Earl D. Warner, as to what happened when authorities interviewed Warner April 3, 2012, in the state police barracks in Jackson Township.

Schwab said the accounts of Trooper Troy Owen and FBI Special Agent Thomas Carter were “more credible” than those offered by Warner and his mother.

The ruling means authorities will be able to use at trial admissions made by Warner that it is his voice that can be heard on a child pornographic video directing a girl, and that he took still photographs of naked girls.

Warner was asked to be interviewed and was told straight up that Armando Cruz had identified Warner as someone who had taken photographs of naked children, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch.

Defense attorney David B. Chontos said Carter had interviewed Warner about Cruz in February 2012 at Cruz’s home in Mercer.

According to the prosecution, Warner was met for the April 2012 interview in the lobby of the barracks by Owen.

Warner and his mother testified that Warner immediately requested a lawyer, but Owen said Warner did not request a lawyer and that he would not have conducted the interview if Warner had asked for a lawyer.

Owen escorted Warner to a small office, where Carter already was seated.

Warner was not handcuffed and was told that he was not under arrest, was free to leave at any time, and that he would be permitted to leave the station upon the conclusion of the interview.

Warner claimed the officials intimidated him.

Owen sat so close he could smell Owen’s breath and, at one point, got up and threw a chair against a wall, Chontos said.

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