INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The undocumented immigrant accused of killing NFL player Edwin Jackson and an Uber driver in a suspected DUI crash says his constitutional rights were violated.
Jackson and Jeffrey Monroe were both killed by an accused drunk driver earlier this month.
The suspect’s attorney believes the arresting officer violated his constitutional rights, according to WXIN.
Pulling up to the crash scene where the two men were killed, an Indiana State trooper claims he spotted an impaired suspect trying to run away and the trooper asked that man if he had driven the truck that caused the crash.
Prosecutors say Manuel Orrego-Savala admitted he had been behind the wheel, but the defense claims the trooper asked if he “was the driver of the black truck without first reading and advising the defendant of his Miranda rights.” That could be a potential violation of the Fifth Amendment.
“I think it’s appropriate to file this and have a judge lay out the boundaries of what the proper questioning was and what the proper time was,” said John Tompkins.
Tompkins represents Orrego-Savala, who investigators say had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the crash. Records also show Orrego-Savala had twice been deported from the country before the crash.
“This is not a frivolous motion. I don’t think ultimately it’ll be successful for him,” said attorney Jack Crawford.
Crawford isn’t connected to the case, but he doesn’t find fault with how the trooper handled the initial response on scene.
Still, he says the defense wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t try to have the suspect's admission thrown out and the suspect enjoys the same legal rights as any legal citizen.
“This was all in the nature of a preliminary officer investigation. It’s not protected by the 5th Amendment of the Constitution until the officer identifies the man as a true suspect in the crime,” said Crawford.
“It’s never a waste of time to enforce our constitutional rights,” said Tompkins. “If there’s a question about whether the suspect's constitutional rights were violated, that is what the defense is supposed to do, bring it up to the judge.”
If the motion is granted, Orrego-Savala’s statements at the scene regarding his involvement in the crash would be ruled inadmissible during the trial, according to Torres.
In Marion County, Orrego-Savala faces two counts of failing to remain at the scene of an accident and two counts of causing death when operating a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .15 or more. In a different case out of Boone County, he’s being charged with perjury, forgery, identity deception, false informing, and operating without a license.
Orrego-Savala, an undocumented immigrant who has been deported from the U.S. twice, is also facing a federal immigration charge.
Orrego-Savala denied his involvement in the crash during a court appearance on Feb. 6. He told a judge through an interpreter, “I don't know why I'm here. I wasn’t driving that car.”
Orrego-Savala is expected to appear for a pretrial conference on March 27.
A hearing has not been set for a judge to hear the defense’s motion.