Saturday, August 29, 2015

Social media v. Miranda

Police say Joseph Zysk voluntarily confessed; Zysk says he was texting dad to "get me a lawyer."

Social media v. Miranda

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It was inevitable: the question of whether a murder suspect voluntarily talked to police could come down to the significance of text messages he purportedly sent asking his father to “get me a lawyer ASAP.”

That’s the substance of a motion filed by the lawyer for Joseph Zysk, the 28-year-old Roxborough man accused of pummeling to death his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son because the infant wouldn’t stop crying.

Defense attorney Jack McMahon on Wednesday asked Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner to quash Zysk’s Jan. 17 statement in which police say Zysk admitted beating Jason Larkin.

Zysk, being questioned in Jason’s death two days earlier, allegedly admitted “thumping” the boy several times when Zysk, the child and Danieala Gonzalez, 21, the child’s mother and Zysk’s girlfriend, were staying overnight at the Roxborough home of Zysk’s mother.

An autopsy showed the child had been hit at least 11 times and had a torn liver that caused him to bleed to death internally.

Although police say Zysk never asked for a lawyer as he was being questioned, McMahon said police let Zysk keep his cell phone and as Zysk was questioned he continuously texted his father to “get me a lawyer ASAP.”

Lerner told Assistant District Attorney Beth McCaffery and McMahon to return to court Nov. 7 to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a full hearing on McMahon’s motion to throw out Zysk’s statement.

McMahon said police have Zysk’s cell phone and over the next few weeks investigators will try to retrieve any text messages to see if they corroborate Zysk’s contention.


Case Update: More than two years after East Mount Airy grocer Jongyoun Kim was gunned down, the woman who allegedly shot the 61-year-old Korean immigrant has been ordered to stand trial for murder.

Nicole Dolby-Becham, 40, was held for court Tuesday following a preliminary hearing before Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni.

Police say Dolby-Becham, who has a history of mental illness, allegedly opened a bag of potato chips and walked out of Andy’s Food Market, on Chew Avenue near Phil-Ellena Street, shortly before 1 p.m. on July 18, 2009.

Kim, who owned the store with husband Chong Chin Kim, left the store and chased after Dolby-Becham. A scuffle ensued that allegedly ended with Dolby-Becham shooting and killing Kim.

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About this blog
Inquirer reporter Joe Slobodzian covers the courts and writes about the people who find themselves there and what they face.

You can reach Slobodzian at 215-854-2985 or jslobodzian@phillynews.com. Reach Joseph A. at jslobodzian@phillynews.com.

Joseph A. Slobodzian
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