Thursday, July 24, 2008

Merlin Overholt - Child Sexual Predator - Whining Pedophile

Merlin Overholt took the stand in a Logan County Courtroom Friday during a suppression hearing to determine if a taped confession by Overholt can be used by the Commonwealth in its case against him.

Overholt's Attorney Stewart Wheeler made the motion to suppress his client's confession on June 30 saying Kentucky State Trooper Brad Bowles who conducted the interview did not read Overholt his Miranda rights before interviewing him.

According to Bowles, he was not required to Mirandize Overholt before the interview because he had not placed him under arrest at that time.

Overholt was arrested in January and again in February on numerous charges of sexual crimes against children under the age of 12 and was indicted on 149 counts ranging from rape, sexual abuse, sodomy, unlawful transaction with a minor to engage in sexual activity and one count of incest.

According to the indictment, there are 10 children under the age of 12 involved in the case, which is still being investigated by the Kentucky State Police. The alleged abuse, according to the indictment, began as far back as 1992 and has continued until his January arrest.

Overholt's wife, Ruth, has been operating a home daycare for years.

During questioning Friday by Commonwealth Attorney Gail Guiling Overholt admitted he told Bowles on the night of January 30 that he knew his actions were illegal and he would rather take the fall now and make it to heaven. When Guiling asked Overholt if he had been struggling with this for sometime now his answer was “yes”.

Bowles also took the stand and gave a descriptive account of what happened during the late hours of January 29 and the early morning hours that followed. Bowles told of how he was called to the Medical Center at approximately 10:16 p.m. on Jan. 29 about a possible child sexual abuse case.

He said when he arrived at the hospital he spoke with the hospital staff, the emergency physician and the parents of the alleged four-year-old victim who had told her parents Overholt had touched her sexually.

Upon hearing what he thought was enough to open a case against Overholt, Bowels went to Overholt's home at approximately 12 a.m. He said he asked Overholt to come to the Logan County Sheriff's Department with him to talk. Bowles said he wanted to go to the Sheriff's Department because he wanted to tape the conversation and that was the only place in the county he knew was set up for that. Bowles testified that he did not force Overholt, who drove himself, to come with him.

Bowles further testified that he told Overholt repeatedly that he was there voluntarily and could leave at any time because he wasn't under arrest.

When questioned by attorney Wheeler, Overholt he said he felt he didn't have a choice but to go with Bowles because he thought the police would come after him if he didn't. Overholt did agree under cross-examination by Guiling that Bowles told him he wasn't under arrest while interviewing him.

Bowles said Overholt immediately started talking when they sat down in the interview. He said he asked few questions and just let him talk. Bowles admitted he was surprised at Overholt's confession.

“Overholt freely told me he was doing this because he would rather answer now and be punished rather than not get into Heaven,” said Bowles, adding that Overholt said it was a weight off his shoulders.

“I was overwhelmed,” said Bowles who taped the interview. The tape was entered into evidence.

Bowles said Overholt began telling of other victims but was having trouble recalling their names. Trooper Bowles said he left the interview room and upon returning arrested Overholt because he felt he had confessed to a felony. He said he took him immediately to the Logan County Detention Center.

Both the Commonwealth and the defense will have to submit a memorandum of support to Circuit Court Judge Tyler Gill by Aug. 4. Gill will then decide on Wheeler's motion to suppress Overholt's confession.

Overholt has plead not guilty to 149 counts of sexual abuse against a child less than 12 years of age. A jury trial has been set for Sept. 8. Overholt is still being lodged in the Logan County Detention Center.

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