Judge to rule on evidence as murder case heads to trial
Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office
A judge will rule on three motions argued Wednesday at a hearing in the Washtenaw County Trial Court related to the case of 32-year-old Jonathan Aiden, who is accused of helping kill a man during a car dealership break-in.
Judge Archie Brown heard arguments from the prosecution and defense concerning three motions to suppress certain evidence at the trial and said he will issue written rulings Thursday or Friday.
The first motion was to keep a jury from hearing what Aiden's uncle Shane Roscoe allegedly did following the fatal beating of William Kenney at the Jim Bradley Pontiac GMC dealership in August 2006. Roscoe was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole last year.
Steve Tramontin, Aiden's attorney, said there is no evidence the two men tried to cover up anything.
"(The prosecution goes) by their theory of guilty by association and that's it," he said.
Roscoe's computer showed he searched his own name, Aiden's name and the car dealership's name on local media websites, according to testimony at Aiden's preliminary examination. Roscoe also attempted to change his appearance after the crime, said Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Dianna Collins. Brown will decide if these and several other actions the prosecution says Roscoe performed following the break-in and murder will be admissible.
"All of the acts have no connection to (Aiden)," Tramontin said.
The second motion Brown will consider has to do with the suppression of recorded phone calls Collins said Aiden and another Washtenaw County Jail inmate made in an attempt to line up an alibi.
"What I wanted to show with these phone calls is that (Aiden's) a liar," Collins said, adding he has stated he was not in Michigan at the time of the fatal beating, when in fact he was.
Collins said the phone calls to friends and family members included a "sort of lingo" because Aiden and the other inmate knew they were being recorded. Aiden would use the other inmate's sign-in information and pretend he was the other inmate while talking to his mother, Collins alleges. Aiden would then refer to "that other case," when referring to his own case. Collins said the other inmate also would occasionally call Aiden's mother.
During the phone calls, Aiden and the other inmate tried to get Aiden's mother to enlist one of Aiden's former girlfriends to testify she was with him the night of the murder, Collins said.
The third issue argued Wednesday has to do with Aiden's criminal past, which includes breaking and entering in Florida, where he was serving time when extradited to Michigan on the charge of open murder.
Collins argued the history reveals a pattern and a possible motive -- Aiden was fired from the car dealership for stealing. Tramontin said the history had no bearing in the car dealership incident.
Brown denied the defense's last motion to dismiss the case in December, but earlier that month he approved two previous motions granting the defense $2,000 to hire a private investigation firm and a cell tower expert.
The motions are related to Aiden's jury trial, which is set to begin Feb. 4.
Aiden is accused of helping Roscoe beat Kenney to death during a break-in at a Scio Township auto dealership in August 2006. Roscoe was convicted of breaking into the dealership, stealing auto equipment and materials and beating Kenney, who worked at the dealership.
Aiden now faces five charges: open murder, breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony, safe-breaking, conspiracy to commit breaking and entering and conspiracy to commit safe-breaking.