Attorneys for Crocker move to block evidence in pre-trial hearing

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 5:56 PM EDT
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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - One of the defendants accused of killing two Effingham County teenagers five years ago appeared in court Thursday for a pre-trial hearing.

Elwyn Crocker, Sr. is charged with two counts of malice murder and two counts of felony murder for the deaths of his son Elwyn Crocker, Jr. and daughter Mary Crocker. The bodies of the two teens were found buried in their family’s backyard back in 2018.

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Crocker’s lawyers are asking the court to block evidence obtained through searches and seizures of their client’s property.

Thursday’s hearing centered on whether officers used a tactic on Crocker called “question first, Miranda later.”

Crocker’s defense team claims officers obtained incriminating statements from their client about his involvement in Elwyn Jr. and Mary’s death before reading Crocker his Miranda rights.

Attorneys say that’s important because Crocker may have chosen to invoke his Miranda rights cutting off the flow of information to law enforcement if he had been given the choice.

During questioning from state prosecutors, members of the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office testified that no evidence was collected without a search warrant.

Sergeant John Bradley testified that Crocker freely went in for formal questioning at the sheriff’s office in the early morning hours of December 20, 2018.

The defense played a video of that questioning as Bradley said, he told Crocker he was not being detained at that time and could leave whenever he wanted.

Bradley also testified that Crocker signed a consent form allowing law enforcement to search his phone and informed investigators that Mary was buried in his backyard.

It was then during a smoke break that Sergeant Bradley testified Crocker told him that Elwyn Jr. was also buried 10 feet away from Mary.

That’s when Bradley says he and a captain at the sheriff’s office became suspicious and gave Crocker a Miranda warning document.

Captain Rick Dailey from the sheriff’s office was questioned about 11 search warrants used to collect evidence from Crocker after he was taken into custody.

The defense spent most of their questioning trying to piece together a timeline of what investigators knew and when that night saying that’s crucial to determining what evidence should be allowed in trial.

Court resumes Friday morning at 9.