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Friday, September 5, 2014

Man shot by Nashua police wants statements made from hospital bed thrown out of court

NASHUA – After being beaten and shot by police and then placed under 24-hour guard while in a hospital bed, Craig Riley was in no condition to then be interrogated by a State Police detective and his statements should be thrown out of court, according to a motion filed by Riley’s attorney.

Public defender Anthony Sculimbrene filed two motions to toss out statements Riley made at his arraignment and to a New Hampshire State Police trooper, both of which came from his hospital bed following the March 22 officer-involved shooting. ...

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NASHUA – After being beaten and shot by police and then placed under 24-hour guard while in a hospital bed, Craig Riley was in no condition to then be interrogated by a State Police detective and his statements should be thrown out of court, according to a motion filed by Riley’s attorney.

Public defender Anthony Sculimbrene filed two motions to toss out statements Riley made at his arraignment and to a New Hampshire State Police trooper, both of which came from his hospital bed following the March 22 officer-involved shooting.

Riley, 41, was shot twice by Nashua police officer Steven Morrill inside a building at Knightsbridge condominium complex following a foot pursuit and several physical confrontations. Morrill has been cleared of any wrongdoing by Nashua police and the attorney general’s office, which found he feared for his safety because Riley was about to hit him with Morrill’s own baton.

Riley faces a slew of criminal counts including attempted first-degree assault and has indicated in previous motions he may use the state’s “stand your ground” law at trial.

One of the motions Sculimbrene filed asks a judge to bar Riley’s statements at a trial because state police Sgt. Marc Beaudoin
improperly questioned Riley at the hospital while he was under 24-guard by Nashua police, after he had recently been beaten and shot and was under the influence of pain killers, according to court documents.

Beaudoin told Riley he was only investigating the shooting and not “other criminal behavior” and never read Riley his Miranda warnings. Beaudoin should have known, Sculimbrene wrote, that Riley would have to incriminate himself to describe the shooting, according to the motion.

“The notion that Sgt. Beaudoin expected answers only related only to the shooting is simply not credible nor is it relevant,” Sculimbrene wrote.

Riley was effectively in custody at the time by the same agency that had recently done him “horrendous violence,” according to the motion.

“He was under guard on a 24-hour-a-day basis and his bruised, battered, and bullet-riddled body could barely move,” Sculimbrene said.

“Finally, no one denies that members of law enforcement put him in the hospital, (stood) guard over him while in the hospital and, at the same time, were seeking to interrogate him.”

County prosecutors have not yet responded to the motions to suppress Riley’s statements.

Morrill first met Riley outside the condominium complex and was looking for him in response to a request from Bedford police looking for a theft suspect.

Police say Riley ran from Morrill the evening of March 22 and assaulted Morrill several times during a series of altercations and foot chases in and around the condo complex.

Riley eventually took Morrill’s baton and was in the process of swinging it toward the officer’s head when Morrill fired, police said.

Morrill, a Nashua officer since 2010, returned to patrol duty in May after several weeks of paid administrative leave and desk duty while the attorney general and Nashua police investigated the shooting. The attorney general released a report May 16 that said Morrill was justified in using deadly force because he had a reasonable belief he was in danger of death or serious injury.

A second motion to suppress filed by Sculimbrene asks a Hillsborough County Superior Court judge to throw out statements Riley made at his arraignment in front of Nashua district court Judge James Leary, which also took place at the hospital.

Riley said during the hearing, “I am no angel. I was only defending myself. I was trying to get to my mother’s door when I was shot in the back,” according to court records.

Later during the hearing he said, “The only reason that I took the baton was because I was tired of being hit with it,” according to Sculimbrene’s motion.

Defense attorneys have said previously it appears Riley was shot in the back at least once based on his injuries.

“The emergency room doctor, having analyzed Mr. Riley, believed that both shots were fired in Mr. Riley’s back,” Sculimbrene wrote. “One is indisputably a gunshot wound to the back as there is (an) entry wound, but no exit wound as the bullet is still lodged in Mr. Riley’s body.”

A resident of the condo complex told police Riley was unarmed when he was shot. Prosecutors say the witness is unreliable though because he only saw the aftermath of the shooting.

Riley was indicted in April on a number of charges, including attempted first-degree assault, taking a firearm from a law enforcement officer, criminal threatening, resisting arrest and simple assault, among others, according to court documents.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).