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Evidence disallowed in Wake County murder trial

Posted June 30, 2008
Updated July 1, 2008

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— A judge on Monday threw out evidence seized by Wake County deputies investigating the February 2007 slaying of a Wendell woman, ruling the search warrant used in the case was faulty.

Jurors selection and opening arguments began Monday for the murder trial of Jakiem Wilson, who is charged with killing his wife. Wilson admitted responsibility for her death last month, but said the case wasn't first-degree murder.

Nneka Wilson, 24, was found stabbed to death inside her 6637 Eagles Crossing Drive home on Feb. 12, 2007. She had been dead for up to 16 hours before Jakiem Wilson called 911.

Jakiem Wilson claimed at the time to have been out of town when she was killed. He said he found her dead on the kitchen floor, along with the message, "Your (expletive) is dead. You're next," scrawled in her blood.

Superior Court Judge Henry Hight ruled Monday that Wake County deputies lacked probable cause to search the house after the stabbing last year, so none of the evidence seized in the search can be introduced during the trial.

"There were no facts included in the affidavit to the search warrant application indicating that any crime had been committed," Hight wrote in his order. "Specifically, the search warrant affidavit does not allege that the woman located on the floor was dead."

Two hatchets, a sword and a bow and arrow were among the items collected by detectives. It was unclear whether the order affected blood-stained evidence collected by crime-scene analysts with the City-County Bureau of Identification.

Also Monday, Hight denied a defense motion to suppress Jakiem Wilson's statements to investigators.

Claudette Sutton Hill, Nneka Wilson's mother, was the first witness for the prosecution to testify. She remembered her daughter as a hard-working, mature, responsible woman.

Two other men, Jamie Russell Holder, 18, of 1418 Old Buck Horn Road in Garner, and Roderick Ryan Howell, 17, of 1337 Hodge Road in Knightdale, have been charged with being accessories after the fact of murder in the case.


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  • TheAdmiral Jul 1, 2008

    I think that if there is evidence that is on or about, and the police had probable cause, they need not a search warrant. Plain and simple.

    They search my truck every time they stop me. Dunno why - I am not a drug dealer, I fit no profile that they will tell me. But believe you me, the last time I was stopped I told them to put everything back where they found it or I would file a harassment lawsuit. And they can add that to the record for the vehicle that they have to file every nite.

    Amazingly, I stopped being stopped for no reason.

  • Jeff_W Jul 1, 2008

    As to some of the other comments about the ability to search....
    The landmark cases are Mincey v. Arizona and Flippo v. West Virginia which hold (in short)there is no crime scene exception to the 4th Amendment.

    This is a bit of an over simplification, but short of going into a Constitutional Law Lecture ... Items observed in plain sight can provide information leading to probable cause (assuming the Officers have a legal right to be there); however, to conduct an extensive search (excluding exigent circumstances) and collect evidence, one must have either CONSENT, or a SEARCH WARRANT.

  • Jeff_W Jul 1, 2008

    You are absolutely wrong on this. A defense attorney is not hiding behind the defendant's rights, he is protecting the rights of every person who is NOT accused of a crime. The warrant at issue is an illegal search and seizure pursuant to the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution. --- Pleshy

    Actually Pleshy, the Fifth Amendment guarantees our rights against self-incrimination, double jeopardy, and due process.

    At issue is the 4TH Amendment which guarantees our rights against unreasonable searches and seizures and that no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause by oath or affirmation....

    You might consider NOT making multiple posts attempting to represent yourself as an expert, when in fact, you don't have the slightest grasp of the law.

  • wcnc Jun 30, 2008

    "and he may get off because of a missing word in a search warrant."

    Who said anything about him getting off because of this evidence not being allowed in?? No where in the article does it state that the case has no merits. If the defense attorney did ask for a dimissal, it wasn't granted, which means the judge presiding over the case still says there is enough evidence to proceed.

    Evidence being thrown out is a long way away from dismissal of charges- let's not jumop to conclusions or make assumptions....

  • ghimmy51 Jun 30, 2008

    The judge is in error. The word "Homicide" is clearly on the application as probably cause.

  • hayco Jun 30, 2008

    Pleshy- I understand your point about following the letter of the law so we are all protected. But I have seen some crazy things happen even when the law is followed precisely as written- for example- a man serving life at CP for shooting a dog(true- it was a police dog), another serving LWOP for dwi (killed someone while driving drunk, but LWOP?), the murderer of my friends mother trying to run over a father and his child in a store parking lot with his truck (oh, he had served his time and was out on parole. The father had yelled at him for almost hitting his daughter, so he chased them down). So you can see why some people get upset when we have someone who confesses to brutally murdering a beautiful young woman, and he may get off because of a missing word in a search warrant.

  • pleshy Jun 30, 2008

    Lizard - JB Allen signed the warrant - not a magistrate. I would hate to be in the next judge's conference after this little flap.

  • lizard Jun 30, 2008

    Latent evidence, notaproblem. Also if the person in apparent control of the property (and a suspect) gave you permission he can take it back just as you're finding the good stuff.

  • notaproblem Jun 30, 2008

    Why should law enforcement officers be required to obtain a search warrant when they arrived on a scene with a dead body.... that doesn't make sense

  • lizard Jun 30, 2008

    Interesting paradox here. Simple grammatical error made on the warrant makes in invald when the US Supreme Court says it's OK to make minor mistakes. Judge should have let it go through the appeals process. I've seen warrants in the past thrown out because pages weren't stapled together. I don't really think either is a good example of the "underlying conspiracy" of the police trying to frame an innocent man. Nor do I think that we innocent types have anything to worry about.

    If he called the police to the house then plain view kicks in. Good reason to get a warrant is for the latent evidence. As long as they didn't leave and come back they had control of the property. It would be illegal for them to leave it there in plain view. Also, permission of the person in control of the home is good to have. Suspect was probably there and listed as co-owner.

    Magistrate should have read the warrant closer and it's always a good thing to run it by a DA before service.Wake one up.