However, roughly five hours worth statements Dunlap made during an interrogation at the Christian County Sheriff’s Office are not suppressed, according to court records.
Dunlap, 36, was charged in November last year with the Wednesday, Oct. 15 murder of Kayla Elayne Williams, 17, Kortney Lan McBurney-Frensley, 14, and Ethan Zane Frensley, 5, and the attempted murder of their mother, Kristy Frensley, as well as rape, kidnapping, burglary and tampering with evidence at their Roaring Springs home.
According to police reports, Dunlap murdered the three children, raped and tried to kill their mother, left her for dead and then set the house on fire.
When law enforcement arrived at the residence, Dunlap was placed in “flex cuffs” due to the nature of the crime he was suspected of and for the safety of the children that were thought to be inside, it was said at the trial.
At an evidence suppression hearing, held at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 22, at the Livingston County Justice Center in Smithland, Woodall gave Trigg Commonwealth’s Attorney G.L. Ovey 10 days, which started on Tuesday, May 26, to prepare a written case explaining why the tapes shouldn’t be suppressed, and gave Dunlap’s defense council, James Gibson, 10 days after that to prepare a written case for suppressing the tapes.
At the May hearing, three Kentucky State Police detectives testified that when the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team and the other officers searched Dunlap’s residence, KSP Detective Sergeant Steve Steger asked Dunlap if he knew why they were at his residence.
According to them, Dunlap said they were at his Hopkinsville residence because of “the Roaring Springs incident.”
However, Steger and KSP Detectives Jerry Jones and Steven Silvies also testified that Dunlap hadn’t been Mirandized before Steger asked him that question.
Woodall ruled that the single question asked at the residence counts as an interrogation, and as Dunlap hadn’t been read his Miranda rights at that time, that statement must be suppressed.
At the hearing, Gibson argued that asking that question without reading Dunlap his rights was a “taint” on the entire line of questioning, including the five-hour interview at the Christian County Sheriff’s Office, even though he was Mirandized prior to being interviewed at the CCSO.
As Dunlap was read his Miranda rights prior to being interviewed at the CCSO, there was no evidence that his statements there were given involuntarily, his statements at the sheriff’s office will stay in, Woodall said.
“There is no ‘taint’ of the statement made after voluntary waiver of his constituional rights to remain silent or to have an attorney present,” Woodall said.
Ovey, and the detectives that testified, argued that the one question asked during the execution of the search warrant didn’t count as an interrogation, and as a result it wasn’t necessary to read Dunlap his Miranda rights at that point.
The location of all proceedings in the case was changed from Trigg to Livingston County on Monday, March 30, according to a document that was signed by Woodall, Ovey and Gibson.
There will be a pre-trial conference at the same place at 9 a.m. on Friday. The criminal trial will be begin at the same place at 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 9.
Ovey has said that he will seek the death penalty in this case.