Mother charged in son's death returns to court
A mother charged in the death of her two-year-old son was back in Travis County District Court Tuesday.
Meagan Work is charged with tampering with evidence and injury to a child. Both charges were filed after Work's son, Colton Turner, was found in a shallow grave in 2014.
This time Work’s attorneys hope to convince a district court judge to toss out statements she made to police regarding the disappearance of her son. They said because she wasn't arraigned within 48 hours of her arrest, she was being held illegally.
“They didn't comply with the law and that renders her statements inadmissible and the question now is going to be which statements,” said defense attorney Ariel Payan.
In 2016, Texas' Third Criminal Court of Appeals overturned the district court’s decision to throw out Work's statement. Now a district court judge is looking into how to apply the third court's ruling.
“Whatever he decides now, if he suppresses any of the statements, some of those statements were used to get search warrants. If he suppresses those particular statements, then, obviously, those search warrants become questionable and so we would have to challenge those as well,” Payan said.
Defense lawyers also claim Work's DNA, truck and phones were seized before she was told she was under arrest. That too, they say, should make the evidence inadmissible.
“How are you taking her car if she wasn't driving it and she wasn't under arrest at the time you took it? So that's quite a big step for law enforcement to take and not one that's legal,” said Payan.
Also mentioned in court Tuesday was how the Cedar Park police investigator who interviewed Work conducted himself. That is the same investigator who helped during the Greg Kelley case. Kelley was convicted, but his case has been sent to the Court of Criminal Appeals after a newly appointed District Attorney agreed he was unfairly investigated. Work's lawyers said because of that, they will bring up new questions about the fairness of her investigation.
“Certainly, when you have an individual who investigates offenses in a certain way, that should be relevant to how they conducted themselves in your particular case. So, yeah, that's pretty likely,” Payan said.
Meanwhile, Michael Turner, who was dating Work at the time of Colton’s death, pleaded to two counts of tampering with physical evidence and one count of reckless injury to a child by omission. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The judge is expected to make a decision on the motion to suppress March 21. Work's trial begins May 7.