Lawyer seeks to sup­press ar­son sus­pect’s state­ment

The Citizens' Voice - - LOCAL - BY JAMES HALPIN STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: [email protected]­i­ 570-821-2058

WILKES-BARRE — The de­fense for Laflin ar­son sus­pect Pre­ston Bon­nett on Fri­day filed a mo­tion to sup­press state­ments he made to po­lice dur­ing ques­tion­ing.

Bon­nett, 28, is await­ing trial on mur­der and ar­son charges al­leg­ing he set fire to his ex-girl­friend’s house on Oct. 25, 2017, killing her three chil­dren: Erik Dupree, 16, Devon Ma­jor, 12, and Ezekiel Ma­jor, 7.

The mo­tion by Car­bon­dale at­tor­ney Bernard J. Brown said po­lice ques­tioned Bon­nett on three oc­ca­sions and Bon­nett re­quested an at­tor­ney dur­ing the sec­ond meet­ing, which took place at the Luzerne County Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity while in­ves­ti­ga­tors were col­lect­ing his DNA.

Al­though Bon­nett re­quested an at­tor­ney dur­ing that in­ter­view on Oct. 26, 2017, po­lice again at­tempted to ques­tion him in an ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fice of the jail on Oct. 31, 2017, the mo­tion said.

The mo­tion said the state­ments in that in­ter­view should be sup­pressed be­cause Bon­nett had al­ready in­voked his Mi­randa rights.

Brown ar­gues Bon­nett’s state­ments in the first in­ter­view should also be sup­pressed be­cause he ap­peared “drowsy and lethar­gic” and was “un­aware of the rea­son he was be­ing ques­tioned.”

Court doc­u­ments filed by pros­e­cu­tors have not al­leged Bon­nett con­fessed to start­ing the fire. But Bon­nett as­serted he had not been hav­ing problems with the boys’ mother, Su­san Ma­jor, and main­tained he had not gone to her house at all the day of the fire, ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous fil­ings.

In fact, pros­e­cu­tors said Ma­jor re­ported in the weeks lead­ing up to the fire, Bon­nett posted porno­graphic im­ages of her on the fam­ily home’s win­dows and threw a bot­tle through a back win­dow of the home at 60 Oak­wood Drive.

Sur­veil­lance footage from the home also shows a man pros­e­cu­tors say was Bon­nett smok­ing a cig­a­rette and shin­ing a light around the back porch mo­ments be­fore the fire broke out.

Pros­e­cu­tors al­lege Bon­nett set the fire be­cause of an on­go­ing dis­pute he had with Ma­jor, who kicked him out of her house dur­ing the sum­mer of 2017. Bon­nett was charged with ac­cess de­vice fraud be­cause of ma­te­ri­als used to make fraud­u­lent credit cards found dur­ing the ejec­tion, ac­cord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors.

Bon­nett is be­ing held with­out bail at the Luzerne County Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity. His trial is set for Jan. 28.


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