Attorneys for Kathryn Sinkevitch moved to suppress a phone call police recorded in connection with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Agerter in December 2016.
Sinkevitch is accused of shooting Agerter, her ex-boyfriend, in the garage of his rental home in Rancho El Dorado. The two lived separately, but had an infant son together. Agerter was reportedly attempting to gain parental rights to the child, who was 1-month-old at the time of the murder.
March 4, defense attorney Bret Huggins motioned to suppress the recording, claiming it was in violation of Sinkevitch’s Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendment rights. Sinkevitch was initially taken into custody by U.S. Marshals.
“On Dec. 16, 2016, after work, Kathryn Sinkevitch was invited over to the home of her friend Bridget Hopkins,” Huggins wrote in his motion to suppress. “Bridget lived with her husband and children at a residence in Mesa… Kathryn arrived there and was visiting inside the home.
“Police surrounded the house and arrested Sinkevitch and locked her in the back seat of a patrol car.
“This activity by the police was not supported by either an arrest or search warrant from any court,” Huggins wrote in his motion.
Sinkevitch was taken to the Maricopa Police Department from Mesa and locked into an interrogation room with a video camera running for several hours according to the motion.
About 2:30 a.m., according to the motion, Sinkevitch “told police she was tired and needed to sleep. The detectives pushed on. Detectives gave Kathryn her Miranda rights. Kathryn told the police clearly, ‘lawyer, I want a lawyer.’”
Huggins continued, “At no time did police take Kathryn to a magistrate in Maricopa County prior to removing her to Pinal County. At no time did police make any effort to get Kathryn a lawyer.”
According to the motion, Maricopa Police influenced her friend Hopkins into recording a telephone conversation between them by threatening “to charge her as an accomplice to the homicide” if she did not assist them.
“At the police direction, Bridget sent a message to Kathryn asking her to call back,” according to the motion. “When the requested return call came back, police directed Ms. Hopkins to answer on speaker as they recorded and monitored the conversation. Indeed, Bridget conducted the conversation as she had been directed by police to do, in order to obtain incriminating information against Kathryn.”
Huggins maintains that police obtaining this “incriminating information” in this manner was in violation of Sinkevitch’s rights after she made a request for counsel, and an attorney was not present when the conversation was recorded.
Huggins asked the court to conduct a voluntariness hearing as he challenges Sinkevitch’s willingness to give a statement to police. He accused the police of overreaching their authority by using her friend to conduct the questioning.
“In assessing voluntariness, the court must consider the totality of circumstances to determine whether the statements were or were not the product of a rational intellect and free will,” the motion reads.
According the Huggins, the court must decide if Miranda warnings were given and waived by Sinkevitch, in addition to proving that her statement to police was voluntary.
“When a person asks for counsel, police may not question him about any matter until an attorney is present. In this case, Ms. Sinkevitch requested counsel, yet she was not provided with a lawyer. Instead, police sought to get around the express request through subterfuge and buy (sic) using her friend,” Huggins’ motion to suppress reads.
The attorney requested the court to hold an evidentiary hearing and to suppress the recording between Sinkevitch and Hopkins. The next hearing scheduled in Sinkevitch’s case is April 10.