Detectives testify in murder hearing; smith allegedly said he used meth with edwards news glasgowdailytimes.com gas house pike frederick md

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Jeremy Hodges, who has become the public affairs officer for KSP Post 3 since Edwards’ death but was then a detective, was the first of three people called as witnesses Tuesday morning in a hearing to determine whether one or more statements Smith may have made to police may be used during his trial, which is set to begin in three months.

Few details from the content of those statements were revealed during the hearing, as the questions from Commonwealth’s Attorney John Gardner and defense attorney Lucrecia Diaz Hudson were centered around Smith’s state of mind and mental capacity during his interactions with KSP personnel the date that search warrant was executed and later with a psychologist.

The hearing was scheduled in response to a motion from Smith’s defense attorney, Lucrecia Diaz Hudson, to have those statements suppressed, or precluded from use at trial. As the hearing began, and Alexander was describing its purpose, he said the reason the defense did not want the statements used was that she felt they were not voluntary, which Hudson said was correct.

Hodges described their entrance into Smith’s Cave City apartment via an apartments master key after not hearing a response from him to their knocks and announcing they were there with a search warrant. Hodges said he had also interviewed Smith three days prior to this date, so he was calling out to him by his first name.

As Hodges stood in the bedroom doorway, Smith raised the gun toward Hodges’s general direction but then pointed it at himself, Hodges said. He warned the other KSP detectives behind him – Wes Medley and Adam Morgan – about the gun and drew his own, pointing it at Smith, but then the trio backed into the living room and then outside the residence, near the front door, where they negotiated for some time for him to come out, and eventually he did with no further trouble.

Kentucky State Police Capt. Tim Adams, who was a lieutenant when Kristen Rae Edwards’ death occurred in 2016, describes during a hearing in Barren Circuit Court on Tuesday the layout of Clark W. Smith’s apartment. The hearing was to help determine whether whether statement(s) made to investigators will be allowed during the trial for Smith, who is charged with murder in connection with the death. Melinda J. Overstreet / Glasgow Daily Times

After approximately half an hour, the role of talking with Smith was passed to then-Lt. Tim Adams with KSP, Hodges said, and that probably lasted well over an hour. Smith’s cell phone had been called so they could talk without having to raise their voices to be heard, according to the testimony.

Smith was transported to the Bowling Green KSP post for questioning, and he described what happened the day Edwards died, Hodges testified. Hodges said he asked Smith whether he would go back to the apartment with him and walk him through the occurrences that led to Edwards’ death, and Smith consented and did so. Smith had been advised of his right to not speak and signed a form waiving his rights that had been read to him as well, and audio and video recordings were made of both the conversation at post and the subsequent visit at the apartment, Hodges said. Discs with those recordings were entered as exhibits during the hearing.

Hodges said Smith continued to be respectful, courteous, sincere and honest during the “conversations” – not interrogations – he conducted with him, and whenever he was with Smith, he was awake, coherent and able to follow questions, and Hodges saw no indications of hallucinations or, as Gardner put it in his question, that “he was not in his right mind.”

He said Smith did not appear to be under the influence of any drugs while being interviewed, and Hodges said the details of what Smith told him were consistent with other details uncovered in the investigation and from one conversation to another with “specific details that we didn’t even know.”

“Usually, if I can carry on a conversation with him, which I did, … I just try to take people at face value,” Hodges said. “He seemed coherent other than that he had brandished a firearm. … I could carry on a conversation with him just like we’re having right now.”

Adams, who is now a captain and whose new position as commander of the Bowling Green post was announced later Tuesday morning, also testified to essentially the same types of behavior and information, although he said he did not have as much direct contact with Smith as Hodges had.

Drogin, who was hired by the defense to evaluate Smith, testified about the assessments he had conducted over the four times he visited the defendant, noting he had also seen him in court once, presumably at the pretrial conference at which Drogin appeared in March to discuss his availability for trial.

Drogin said he assessed Smith for the possibility that he was faking “any sort of functional disability” and found no indication of such. He was cognizant of the charges he was facing, the psychologist/attorney said, and the potential consequences of those charges, including being sent to prison for the rest of his life.

He said possible factors for the difference included Smith’s being clean of drug use longer and getting regular meals and care while in custody, with the latter being the most likely explanation for the substantial improvement in his opinion.

The psychologist also said that Smith told him he had been taking methamphetamine at the time of the police interviews and that he had been up – without sleep – four to five days already when Hodges first interviewed him the first time and was “still going” by the time of the Aug. 19 conversations.

Drogin also testified under questioning from Gardner that Smith was able to have conversations and answer questions from him as well, and Drogin said that at the worst that he saw Smith, Smith would have been capable of generally describing what was happening in his life.

Alexander gave the attorneys a choice after the testimony concluded of doing oral arguments about the suppression of the statements or written arguments, and Hudson said she preferred to do them in writing. She has one week to submit those, and Gardner then has a week to respond. Alexander said he would try to get them a ruling soon afterward.