Attorneys for Corbin man facing murder charges argue police interview coerced

Brock

WHITLEY COUNTY — For nearly six hours members of the Whitley Circuit Court heard from witnesses regarding a police interview of a man accused of killing three people, one of whom was pregnant.

Paul Brock, 39, of Corbin appeared in Whitley Circuit Court for a suppression hearing Wednesday.

Brock’s defense team which includes Andrea Kendall believes his interview may have been coerced by police and he may have been under the influence while he was being interviewed.

The court watched the two hour body cam video of Brock being interviewed by Corbin Police Detective Coy Wilson and Corbin Police Chief Rusty Hedrick. Then both Wilson and Hedrick answered questions from Commonwealth Attorney Ronnie Bowling and Kendall.

During questioning Bowling asked both Wilson and Hedrick if Brock was aware of his Miranda rights. Both officers said "yes" and signed copies were logged into evidence.

The videoed interview watched by the court on Wednesday was one of two interviews that happened between Brock and law enforcement on February 18, 2018. The first was early morning between Chief Hedrick and Brock after Brock was picked up by a road unit and brought to the Corbin Police Department as a person of interest. Although this interview was recorded via body cam as well by the road unit’s camera, it was not in court on Wednesday.

In regards to the second recorded two hour interview the defense claimed errors on time stamps of the videos and the time stamp of the arrest citation. Kendall created a chart in court noting that according to the time stamps on the computer screen the first segment of the video began at 3:32 p.m. and the last segment began at 5:57 p.m. Kendall noted the arrest citation was time stamped for 5:18 p.m.

Bowling objected to the time stamps on the videos. Bowling also noted that the time the arrest citation was filled out and the time Brock was made aware he was under arrest are two very different things. Bowling also asked if at any time during the interview officers held Brock down or shackled him to which the answer was, "no".

Last, Kendall called Dr. Don Nelson a professor of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at University of Cincinnati. Nelson is a published research professor with 50 years experience. Nelson’s opinion was that Brock had been taking three controlled substances in large doses during the videoed police interview.

Nelson determined Brock to be under the influence of Neurontin, Suboxone and Xanax. He determined this by two factors; after watching the video interview and after a one-on-one hour long interview with Brock in July where Brock told Nelson that’s what he was taking.

Bowling asked Nelson if there are other more reliable ways to know if Brock was under the influence, such as blood work. Bowling explained that the court has no way of knowing if he was under the influence except to go by what Brock told Nelson.

“He could have been wrong or even lying?” said Bowling.

“Yes,” said Nelson.

Again Bowling asked if there are more reliable ways to know if Brock was under the influence, such as blood or urine.

“Not more reliable, no,” said Nelson.

Bowling asked if going into surgery, wouldn’t Nelson want blood or urine to which he said, no, not necessarily.

Bowling went onto to say that in Nelson’s report Brock stated he was overmedicating and asked why. Although Kendall objected, Nelson said it was because he was anxious and suicidal due to police questioning.

“But this man has been to prison before,” said Bowling.

On Feb. 17, 2018, Mary Jackson, 74, and her pregnant granddaughter, Tiffany Byers, 33, were found shot to death at an Ellison Street residence in Corbin. Byers’ younger brother, Justin Collins, who was in a bedroom of the home at the time the shooting began, jumped out of a bedroom window and fled to a neighbor’s home to call 911.

Brock was quickly developed as the main person of interest by the Corbin Police Department.

When Brock was initially brought in for questioning the day following the shooting, officers did not believe there was enough evidence to warrant placing him under arrest, so he was released. He was brought back in later that day, where police said that Brock admitted to knowing Tiffany and her husband, Aaron Byers, 45. He also said, according to police, that he had taken Aaron Byers to the residence on the day of the incident, but that he stayed in his truck while Aaron Byers went inside the home.

He was arrested following the second interview and charged with three counts of murder.

The body of Aaron Byers was found Feb. 19, 2018, in a shallow grave in a wooded area off Corinth Cemetery Road. At that time, Brock was then charged with a fourth count of murder and tampering with physical evidence.

He was indicted in April 2018 by a Whitley County grand jury, formally charging him with three counts of murder, first-degree fetal homicide, tampering with physical evidence and first-degree persistent felony offender.

Brock is due back in court at 11 a.m. on November 12 for a status hearing. A trial date is being looked at for summer 2020.

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