Judge: Not all Kzoo shooting spree suspect statements OK for trial

Jason Dalton is charged with killing six people, injuring two others on Feb. 20, 2016

jason dalton, kalamazoo shooting spree
Kalamazoo shooting spree suspect Jason Dalton appears in court for a hearing at the Kalamazoo County Courthouse. (April 13, 2017)


KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) —  Some statements made by Kalamazoo area shooting spree suspect Jason Dalton will not be allowed in his murder trial, a judge ruled Thursday.

“I’m very happy with the decision,” said Prosecutor Jeff Getting at a press conference following the Thursday afternoon decision.

Getting said the families of the victims are also pleased.

“They’re anxious for this matter to get to trial,” the prosecutor said. “It’s been over year now and the delays are difficult for the victims and their families.”

Dalton faces 16 criminal counts in connection to the Feb. 20, 2016 shootings that left six people dead and two more seriously wounded.

The six people killed in the Kalamazoo shooting spree. Top, left to right: Judy Brown, Barbara Hawthorne and Mary Jo Nye. Bottom, left to right: Mary Lou Nye, Rich Smith and Tyler Smith.

Judge Alexander Lipsey ruled that some statements Dalton made during his first interview with a Kalamazoo Public Safety detective would be suppressed during his trial

The defense team argued last week that during that first interview, Dalton used phrases such as “I’d rather not say” and brought up his right to remain silent.

However, Lipsey said all statements Dalton made during the second interview with Michigan State Police are admissible in court.

Lipsey said Thursday it was clear Dalton was read his Miranda rights and disagreed with the defense’s argument that Dalton’s 6th Amendment right to a speedy, fair and impartial trial was violated.

Prosecutor Getting said he would not appeal the judge’s decision.

>>WATCH: Prosecutor responds to judge’s ruling in Dalton case

The prosecution admitted that investigators pressed Dalton for information, but said they were never unconstitutional in the way they spoke with him. They said Dalton explicitly told them that he understood he did not have to speak to police, but offered to do so despite that. The prosecution also said the interrogation was a matter of public safety.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Complete coverage of the Kalamazoo shooting rampage

Judy Brown, Barbara Hawthorne, Mary Jo Nye, Mary Lou Nye, and father and son Rich and Tyler Smith were killed in the shooting spree. Tiana Carruthers and Abigail Kopf, now 15, were injured but survived.

Tiana Carruthers, Abbie Kopf, Kalamazoo shooting rampage
Left: A file photo of Tiana Carruthers. Right; Abbie Kopf after a surgery in February 2017.

Dalton, 46, of Cooper Township, is pleading insanity in the case.

He was working as an Uber driver the night of the shooting spree, though none of the shooting victims were his passengers. According to police reports, he told investigators that a “devil” showed up on his Uber app and controlled his body. He said the app would make different noises to tell him who he should kill.

His trial is expected to last two weeks starting on June 13.

–24 Hour News 8’s Heather Walker contributed to this report.