NASHVILLE - Twin motions to suppress evidence in the first degree murder trial of James Wesley Stallings were denied during a special hearing held last week, clearing the way for a trial, possibly in March.
Judge William C. Griffin denied two motions put forth by Stallings' attorney David Sutton. The motions were to suppress evidence found during a search of Stallings' home after the murder and to suppress statements made by Stallings during questioning after the murder.
The body of Freda M. Medlin was found on the morning of Sept. 1, 2005 on Erkin Smith Road with a gunshot wound. Medlin was Stallings' girlfriend. Stallings was charged with first degree murder and has been in Nash County Jail since.
Sutton argued that evidence found at Stallings' home was discovered during an illegal search. Sutton contended that officials with the Nash County Sheriff's Office retrieved some of the evidence before a search warrant was issued.
District Attorney Keith Werner argued that the evidence was in plain view where officers could clearly see it.
"Nothing was taken from that location until a proper search warrant was executed," Werner said.
Several officers with the Nash County Sheriff's Department testified that upon arriving at the home of Stallings, they noticed a distinct puddle of water, which indicated a vehicle had been washed. Stallings' Nissan truck was at the residence and officers said they also noticed the truck had water droplets on it as well, so they walked around the truck and noticed blood and some flesh inside. However, all stated they did not touch anything until after the warrant was issued. Pictures were taken of the items before the warrant was issued.
Sutton again argued the officers went out looking for evidence and could not have seen what was in the truck unless they were looking for it. "Plain view is very clear," Sutton said. "You can't have plain view if you're looking for something."
Sutton also argued that a "No Trespassing" sign on the property was clearly visible from the road and should have also deterred officers from going on the premises until the warrant had been issued.
The second motion was to suppress the statement made by Stallings after the murder. Stallings allegedly confessed to killing Medlin during questioning by investigators.
Sutton argued that Stallings was a known alcoholic and during the 12 hours he was in the interrogation room, he was experiencing withdrawal symptoms common among alcoholics. Those conditions caused Stallings to confess, Sutton added. Friends of Stallings and his father testified about Stallings' excessive alcohol use.
Sutton also said Stallings was offered no food during his 12-hour stay.
During testimony from several investigators with the Nash County sheriff's office, it was said Stalling was offered food and drink and was allowed to smoke cigarettes. He also was made aware of his rights. Stallings made three statements, which were voluntarily made and during his time being questioned, he never asked for an attorney and never said he wanted to leave, investigators contended.
Investigators also said Stallings did not appear to be intoxicated when he was arrested or during his time he was questioned.
Judge Griffin allowed both the statements and the evidence in the trial. No trial date has been set yet but Werner indicated he would like to have the case tried in March.
this person will never suffer for the death of my sister,I only hope that he will be punished to the fullest of the law,he will never know what he did to our family and the pain that this has caused us,I only pray that someday he will rot in jail and that someone will show he what pain is...I only wish that you could fry him,but that would give him alot of time to appeal and he does not deserve that.GO GET HIM BUBBA...