LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Judge Clayton Davis refused to dismiss second-degree murder charges against Dennis Jerome Bartie after passionate arguments from defense attorneys that throwing out the case was the only remedy after misconduct by police and prosecutors, including a confession the defense calls forced and false.
Prosecutors dispute that and say they are determined to achieve justice for Rose Born – killed in her donut shop more than 20 years ago.
Bartie is charged with second-degree murder and armed robbery. A possible trial date of Nov. 30 was discussed.
Defense attorney Adam Johnson likened the state’s action to those in the George Floyd case saying someone in the process should have said, “get off his neck.”
“I think that their actions rise to a level of misconduct that we have not seen in a long, long time,” Johnson said. “And I think that those actions cumulatively justified a complete dismissal of this case. And that’s what I urged the court to do, to dismiss it and send a clear message, don’t do this again.”
Prosecutor Hugo Holland was aghast that Floyd was brought into it.
“It’s awfully sad when a criminal defense lawyer seeks to capitalize on a tragic death at the hands of police in order to attempt to protect somebody who robbed and murdered a completely innocent woman,” Holland said.
Holland said Bartie is the man responsible for Born’s death at her doughnut shop in 1998.
“I ain’t stopping,” Holland said. “He’s a killer. I’m putting him in prison and I ain’t stopping until that happens. Can I be any clearer about that?”
Defense attorney Todd Clemons says they are disappointed in the judge’s refusal to dismiss the case, in light of what he calls inappropriate conduct by the state. “Starting with the confession, false confession of Mr. Bartie, where they browbeat him for 7 1/2 hours,” Clemons said. “They always talk about how strong their case is, but they had to engage in police misconduct in order to get him to tell them what they wanted him to say.”
The Third Circuit threw out Bartie’s confession, saying it came after Bartie had invoked his right to remain silent.
“This disregard of a clear and unequivocal invocation of Defendant’s right to remain silent is the very type of police misconduct the Supreme Court prohibited in Miranda v. Arizona,” the Third Circuit wrote.
Judge Mike Canaday was recused from the case after motions from defense attorneys alleging that he was always siding with the state in the Bartie case.