INDIANAPOLIS | The Indiana Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether a Gary man voluntarily confessed to murder, or was improperly influenced by a Gary police detective who told him a black man couldn't get a fair trial in Crown Point.
On Feb. 13, 2011, Detective Edward Gonzalez questioned McLynnerd Bond Jr., now 27, about the 2007 murder of Kadmiel Mahone, 28, who was shot in the head and neck in an apartment in the 4200 block of West 23rd Place in Gary.
According to court records, Bond repeatedly denied killing Mahone during more than two hours of interrogation, and even after Gonzalez told Bond, who was under arrest on an unrelated matter, that if he confessed he'd get to see his family and said the prosecutor would reduce the charges.
Gonzalez then told Bond, who is black, that if he went to trial there'd be no one "from your part of the hood" on the jury, just 12 white or Hispanic people "from Schererville or Crown Point."
"They're not gonna put people on there who are from your neck of the woods. You know that. They're not gonna be the ones to decide what happens to you. You know that. I know that. Everybody knows that," Gonzalez said. "All they’re gonna see is, oh, look at this, another young (expletive) who didn’t give a (expletive). Don’t let them see that."
Following another hour of questioning, Bond confessed to shooting Mahone.
Lake Superior Judge Diane Ross Boswell said she had "great concern" about a detective telling a suspect he couldn't receive a fair trial due to the location of the courthouse.
But she denied Bond's motion to suppress his confession, because she could find no similar case invalidating a confession based on police suggestions of possible jury bias.
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 in May that Bond's confession can be used when he's tried for murder because there's no evidence the confession was involuntary, even though the court said Gonzalez's comments were "inappropriate."
Appeals Judge James Kirsch was the dissenter. He said the court should have sent a strong message by suppressing the confession and explicitly condemning Gonzalez's actions.
"Each time courts allow such conduct, they implicitly sanction it and encourage the next police officer in the next interrogation to go a bit further, to be more offensive, more racist and more deceptive," Kirsch said.
The Supreme Court likely will hear oral arguments in the case during the next few months and issue a ruling sometime next year.