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Appeals court overturns suppression order

Circuit Judge Wendy-Wexler Horn recognized on Friday the reversal of a previously issued order regarding the suppression of statements made to police by Paul Jinkerson, who was charged in connection with the 2017 murder of Frank Ancona in Leadwood.

The statements in question were made in late February 2017, according to the text of the appellate court’s opinion, less than a month after Jinkerson’s arrest. Jinkerson had retained an attorney and was arraigned on Feb. 21 of that year, entering a plea of not guilty.

On Feb. 27, Detective Sergeant Matt Wampler of the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department received a search warrant to perform a cheek swab of Jinkerson to enter into evidence. When meeting with Jinkerson, Wampler reportedly identified himself as the investigator handling the investigation of Ancona’s homicide.

Wampler told Jinkerson that he would like to ask him some questions regarding the investigation and advised Jinkerson of his Miranda rights. Jinkerson then signed a form waiving his Miranda rights and, in the ensuing questioning, made statements related to the investigation.

Jinkerson’s defense counsel filed a motion almost nine months later on Nov. 1, 2017, requesting that the court suppress statements made during that interview in addition to the DNA evidence from the cheek swab performed by Wampler, as counsel had not been made aware the interview was happening.

On Nov. 16, 2017 a hearing was held regarding the motion, with only Det. Wampler testifying. Wampler testified that he had not contacted Jinkerson’s attorney prior to the interview because he was unaware Jinkerson had retained an attorney. Additionally, he said Jinkerson had not expressed any misgivings about speaking with the detective.

Eventually, Jinkerson did tell Wampler that he did not want to answer any more questions, at which time the interview was ended. Wampler testified that at no point during the interview had he coerced or otherwise deceived Jinkerson.

On April 6 this year, Judge Wexler-Horn granted the defense’s motion to suppress the statements made by Jinkerson, noting factually distinguishable features of the current case and the precedent case cited by the prosecution in arguing against the motion.

The St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, representing the state, appealed the ruling to the Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals, arguing that Jinkerson had consciously agreed to waive his Sixth Amendment rights, making his statements admissible as evidence.

St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney Jerrod Mahurin said the cited U.S. Supreme Court case in question, Montejo v. Louisiana, bore factual similarities to the circumstances of the statements made by Jinkerson.

In its decision filed Aug. 21 of this year, the appellate court agreed with the state and reversed Judge Wexler-Horn’s decision.

Trial dates of May 5-6, 2019 were also set for Jinkerson, on Friday.

As previously reported, Jinkerson was arrested in February, 2017 following the discovery of the body of his stepfather, Frank Ancona, who had been reported missing days before.

Jinkerson’s mother, Malissa Ancona, was also arrested. Ancona reportedly told investigators at the time that Jinkerson had shot Frank Ancona while he slept in his Leadwood home, before the man’s body was transported into Washington County and dumped.

Jinkerson was charged with first degree murder, armed criminal action, tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution and abandonment of a corpse.

Jinkerson

Jinkerson

Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at jscott@dailyjournalonline.com.

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