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State v. Grimes

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

September 29, 2015

STATE OF NEBRASKA, APPELLEE,
v.
TROY E. GRIMES, APPELLANT

Page 163

Appeal from the District Court for Douglas County: GARY B. RANDALL, Judge.

W. Patrick Dunn for appellant.

Jon Bruning, Attorney General, and George R. Love for appellee.

IRWIN, INBODY, and PIRTLE, Judges.

OPINION

Page 164

[23 Neb.App. 305] Inbody, Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Troy E. Grimes appeals his jury-based conviction of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. He contends that the district court erred in allowing the State to adduce evidence of statements, made by him in his postarrest interrogation, obtained in violation of his constitutional rights. Specifically, he contends police threatened to arrest his mother in order to obtain inculpatory statements from him.

II. STATEMENT OF FACTS

On January 17, 2013, at approximately 9 a.m., three Omaha police officers went to contact Grimes, who was living at his mother's house, based on information obtained in a separate and unrelated investigation. Present at the house at the time officers arrived were Grimes; his mother, Barbara Grimes; Grimes' girlfriend; and a friend of Grimes', who was allowed to leave the home after it was determined that he did not have any outstanding warrants. Barbara granted the officers' request to search the house. During the search, an unregistered gun was found in the basement of the house, wrapped in a black [23 Neb.App. 306] bag and placed in an old, unused furnace. The gun had eight live rounds inside the magazine and chamber. Grimes was arrested and transported to the police station and taken to an interview room where Steven Kult, an officer with the Omaha Police Department's child victim unit, conducted an interview of Grimes. A video recording was made of this interview which was received into evidence during the suppression hearing, and a redacted copy of the interview was received into evidence at trial.

A review of the video recording establishes that Kult began interviewing Grimes at 10:47 a.m. The interview began with Kult asking Grimes questions about his medical status, education, alcohol and drug use, amount of sleep the previous night, work, and hobbies. At 10:51, Kult advised Grimes of his Miranda rights, which Grimes waived. At 10:53, Kult explained to Grimes that the reason for the interview was an allegation by Grimes' two daughters of child sexual abuse and Kult informed Grimes that the police were not proceeding with that investigation; however, Kult informed Grimes that during the children's interviews regarding the abuse, the children talked about marijuana use in

Page 165

the home and described seeing Grimes with a gun in the home. Kult told Grimes that because of these disclosures, the police had to follow up at Grimes' home, and that these disclosures are what led to the finding of the gun. At 10:56, the following colloquy occurred between Kult and Grimes:

[Kult:] So, I guess that I'd like to talk to you a little bit about the gun, 'cause what I don't want to end up happening is anything going back on mom, 'cause the gun's in a common area of the house, so I'll just ask you straight up: Was it your gun?
[Grimes:] No, but I'm not gonna let my mom take the rap for it.
[Kult:] OK.
[Grimes:] If it--you know--if it comes to that then, fuck that, then I'll take it.
[23 Neb.App. 307] [Kult:] Well, they're gonna--right now the crime lab's pulling the gun out and they're gonna do DNA. You know your DNA's on file, and are we going to find your DNA on the gun?
[Grimes:] You shouldn't.
[Kult:] I mean it's gotta be straight up yes or no, 'cause they're gonna know, you know.
[Grimes:] No, I'm sayin' you shouldn't.
[Kult:] I mean if you ever even touched the gun, it's gonna be on there for years.
[Grimes:] Oh. Um, I don't know. Why, we'll just say yes.
[Kult:] Come on, I mean, your girls weren't trying to throw you under the bus or nothing. They, they weren't trying to fuck you and put you in this position. They were just telling a story, man.
[Grimes:] Yeah, it's cool, you know. Like I said, man. Just, I don't know, just leave my mom out of it, man.
[Kult:] I would, I want to leave your mom out of it.
[Grimes:] All right.
[Kult:] But we, you and I got to establish who's the gun belong to.
[Grimes:] It's mine, it's mine.
[Kult:] OK. I'm not trying to hem you up. But I am trying to keep your ...

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