Cynthia Hankins and Terry Hankins

Cynthia Hankins and Terry Hankins

DA's office intends to appeal ruling

Prosecutors to challenge suppressed statements

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The 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office filed a notice Friday announcing its intent to appeal a judge's ruling to suppress key statements in a first-degree murder case.

Terry Hankins, 71, of Craig, is charged in Moffat County District Court with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse in connection with the June 2007 death of his wife, 36-year-old Cynthia Hankins, also of Craig.

He has pleaded not guilty.

During a motions hearing in the case earlier this month, Michael O'Hara, chief judge of the 14th Judicial District, ruled that three statements Hankins gave investigators Aug. 24, 2007, be suppressed because of a Miranda violation.

The notice of appeal was sent Friday to the Colorado Supreme Court.

According to the notice, signed by 14th Judicial District Attorney Bonnie Roesink, prosecutors stated the appeal is "not taken for purposes of delay and the evidence suppressed is a substantial part of the proof of the charges pending against the defendant."

Prosecutors have until mid-November to file a brief outlining their case for challenging O'Hara's ruling on the statement suppressions, and Hankins' public defenders will have an opportunity to respond.

O'Hara also ruled during the motions hearing that trial venues in the case be changed from Craig to Steamboat Springs to ensure Hankins receive a fair trial. That trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 1 in Routt County District Court.

It is unclear whether the appeal will delay the trial, although a timeline under the Colorado Appellate Rules seems to indicate it could.

The statements under review included three separate, recorded interviews between Hankins and local investigators. Recordings of the interviews were played during the motions hearing.

On the recordings, Hankins was heard describing his wife's murder and later, dismemberment, after an altercation at the couple's Breeze Street apartment in Craig. He buried Cynthia Hankins near his gold mining claim 23 miles north of town, near the Wyoming border.

However, the judge ruled Hankins had implicated himself and was, in reality, in police custody before the first confession and should have been read his rights. He found that the tainted first confession remained throughout the following interviews and that statements Hankins made were not admissible.

Hankins has told authorities the killing was self-defense.

Hankins, who has been in custody at the Moffat County Jail since his arrest 14 months ago, has no other court appearances scheduled between now and Dec. 1, according to court records.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 875-1791, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

Comments

JDR4 6 years ago

The Police in Craig screwing up?? That just doesn't happen.

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