Defense Dealt Blow In Manhattan Murder Case

By: Lindsey Rogers Email
By: Lindsey Rogers Email

MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- A Riley County judge says the alleged confession of teenage murder suspect can be used as evidence during his upcoming trial.

Attorneys for Cole Drake, 16, tried to suppress incriminating statements he gave to Riley County detectives after the 2011 shooting death of 14-year-old Tyler Dowling.

Dowling’s body was found in a field near the 500 block of Walters Drive in Manhattan on April 13, 2011 near Eisenhower Middle School. He had been shot twice with a .22 caliber handgun.

Police say Cole Drake was the last person seen with Tyler Dowling and Drake was questioned by Riley County detectives after Dowling’s body was discovered.

Investigators say Drake admitted to shooting Dowling twice during an interview at the Riley County Police Department and told them where they could find the murder weapon.

A hearing on the motion to suppress the confession was held on August 9, 2012 in Riley County District Court.

Drake’s attorney said Drake (who was 14 at the time) did not fully understand his rights when he was questioned by police, calling the actions of investigators “coercive, deceptive and intimidating.”

Last year, on September 1, 2011, a similar motion was filed to suppress Drake’s statements when he was being charged as a juvenile in the case. He is now being charged as an adult and the judge handling the case agreed to a second hearing when the defense said they had additional arguments and facts to present that were not previously offered.

Judge David Stutzman denied the motion last year, saying the young murder suspect should have known that he had the option to ask for a lawyer to be present when he was being questioned by police. Stutzman watched the videos from the interrogations and said Drake gave extended and apparently careful consideration to the matter of invoking or waiving his right to have a lawyer present for any questioning. He said Drake had ample opportunity to get the advice or counsel of his mother "at perhaps the most critical times, when his Miranda rights were being explained and his waiver was being considered."

In an order dated August 21, 2012, Stutzman once again denied the motion to suppress Drake's statements to police.

"After considering counsels' latest arguments, the Court finds that the issues the Court previously engaged, analyzed, and decided, still control," Stutzman said in the new order.

Cole Drake's trial is scheduled for September 24-28, 2012. He remains in custody.

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