Nevada County denies motion to suppress in murder case of Maurice Rogers
Evidence of murder suspect Maurice Rogers’ initial detention by Sacramento police and any evidence gained from the seizure of his vehicle can reach a jury, a Nevada County judge ruled last week.
Rogers, 34, had sought to keep that information from jurors when his trial starts this month. He’d argued in court filings that police had no evidence of a crime or a warrant to detain him on April 8, 2016, after a Sacramento officer spotted his vehicle while on patrol.
Officer Jason Wacker testified in a hearing last month that Rogers’ vehicle matched the description of a car given in a bulletin about someone wanted for questioning about a homicide here. Additionally, Rogers’ 2003 white Cadillac DeVille had no license tags.
“The initial detention of Maurice Rogers was supported by reasonable suspicion,” Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger states in her ruling. “The seizure of the vehicle was lawful.”
Authorities accuse Rogers in connection with the April 4, 2016, death of Felicia Romaine Spruell-Jones, 46, of Reno. Her body was discovered that day off Interstate 80 near Truckee.
Arrested by Nevada County authorities after Wacker detained him, Rogers remained in jail Sunday without bond.
According to Wacker, he parked his patrol vehicle behind Rogers’ Cadillac after it stopped at a convenience store. Wacker ensured the bulletin remained active before drawing his weapon and telling Rogers to exist his vehicle.
Wacker then confirmed Rogers’ identity, placed him in handcuffs and in the back of his patrol car — detaining, not arresting, him. He then contacted Nevada County authorities, who told him to wait for their arrival, the officer testified.
“The use of handcuffs and placing defendant into the patrol car while waiting for the investigating officers to arrive on the scene was a reasonable response to legitimate safety concerns, was reasonably necessary under the circumstances for public safety and to maintain the status quo, and did not convert the detention into a de facto arrest,” the ruling states.
A Nevada County detective arrived about 30 to 90 minutes later, spoke with Rogers and then arrested him, the judge writes.
Sacramento police towed Rogers’ vehicle to their facility as a courtesy to Nevada County authorities, where any evidence gained from it could be preserved. That seizure was lawful, the judge ruled.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239.
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