Some of what William Alvarez-Calo told police against legal advice can be used at his trial for first-degree murder, and some of it can’t.
That’s what Pierce Court Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson ruled Thursday after a pretrial hearing about whether Alvarez-Calo’s statements would be fair game during the proceedings against him related to a 2012 Lakewood drug hit.
Alvarez-Calo, now 30, said in February 2013 that he wanted to trade information about a drug cartel homicide to get off on lesser chargers: two misdemeanors for driving with a suspended license and a felony identity theft charge for handing an officer a different person’s driver’s license.
That trade led to four interviews between Alvarez-Calo and police, during which he allegedly implicated himself in the cartel case — the Nov. 12, 2012, fatal shooting of 32-year-old Jaime Diaz-Solis.
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Investigators allege Alvarez-Calo helped arrange the hit, aimed at a rival drug dealer, but the people he hired botched the job by killing the target’s cousin and roommate, Diaz-Solis.
Alvarez-Calo is one of seven charged.
Prosecutors argued his statements to investigators were voluntary, and could be used at trial.
Alvarez-Calo’s lawyers argued his constitutional right to an attorney was violated, because his lawyer at the time didn’t go with him to the interviews.
They also argued that investigators were too late in reading him his Miranda rights, which include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
Cuthbertson partly agreed with each side.
The judge noted an attorney told Alvarez-Calo that talking to police about the homicide was a bad idea, and that Alvarez-Calo was determined to do so anyway Feb. 22, 2013.
“This was a voluntary statement by Calo against his attorney’s advice,” Cuthbertson said, noting it was Alvarez-Calo who asked to speak with officers.
That first interview, and the second a couple of weeks after, can used at trial, Cuthbertson ruled.
But he said the two that followed cannot.
In the first interview, the judge said, Alvarez-Calo discussed his contacts and dealings with leaders of a local narcotics cartel.
In the second, he identified suspects from photos, and toward the end investigators started confronting him about inconsistencies between his account of the homicide, and other information police had obtained.
At that point, Cuthbertson said, Alvarez-Calo had become a suspect, and had not been read his Miranda rights.
The judge said that, by the third interview at the end of March 2013, Alvarez-Calo should have been read those rights. He noted that during that interview investigator Jason Catlett told Alvarez-Calo: “You had a role in this, too. You did something you shouldn’t have done,” and accused him of arranging the hit.
The judge found that at the start of the fourth interview in June 2013 Alvarez-Calo was read his rights and he waived them. It wasn’t until the end of that meeting that investigators told Alvarez-Calo he was going to be arrested, Cuthbertson said.
The judge decided that meant Alvarez-Calo couldn’t properly have waived his Miranda rights, “not knowing now that he’s a suspect for murder.”
The trial is to start this month.