Clegg defense questions police about post-arrest interrogation

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caroline smith and clegg WMUR screen grab
Logan Clegg consults with his defense attorney, Caroline Smith, in Merrimack County Superior Court Wednesday. Clegg, charged with the April 18, 2022, murders of Desjwende and Stephen Reid, of Concord, was in court for a hearing on a motion by his attorneys to suppress evidence in the case. WMUR livestream screen image

CONCORD, NH – The police interrogation after the arrest of the man charged with killing a Concord couple was questioned by his defense attorney Thursday during a hearing on two motions to suppress evidence before the case goes to trial in July.

Defense attorneys for Logan Clegg, 27, are asking that the court suppress statements he made to Concord police after his arrest in October as well as cellphone location evidence that led police to Clegg in October. Clegg is charged with second-degree murder in the gunshot deaths of Djeswende and Stephen Reid.

The hearing in Merrimack County Court, which began Wednesday and was originally scheduled for two days, will continue Friday.

Defense attorney Caroline Smith Thursday cross-examined Concord Det. Wade Brown about whether Clegg’s right to invoke silence was violated Oct. 12, when police continued to find ways to communicate with him after he said he was finished talking. 

Clegg had been arrested a few hours before on a fugitive charge out of Utah, and Concord police were still waiting for a warrant to arrest Clegg for the Reid killings. The couple was shot to death as they walked on a trail near their Loudon Road apartment on April 18, 2022.

Clegg’s arrest in Vermont came a day before he was booked on a flight to Berlin, Germany. The arrest on the Utah warrant was made by South Burlington, Vermont, police, who were brought into the case by the Concord investigators, who’d just the day before tracked Clegg to that city.

In Clegg’s interrogation, Brown told him about some of the evidence police had uncovered, including Walmart surveillance footage showing him buying items linked to the case. Clegg denied he frequently went to the Loudon Road Walmart, and denied he had anything to do with the homicides. When the interview continued after a 36-minute break, Clegg told Brown he didn’t have any more to say.

“He said he didn’t have anything more to say, but that didn’t stop the conversation,” Smith said to Brown. Referring to a video of the interrogation, Smith said Brown then asked Clegg if he wanted to talk about movies and other non-investigative topics, but also asked about his family, school and travels. Smith pointed out that those topics were relevant to the investigation.

After the interrogation, Brown visited Clegg in his cell with new clothes police had bought for him, so they could take the ones he was wearing as evidence. Brown reminded Clegg of his name and told Clegg to contact him if he needed anything. 

After that, Concord Det. Danika Gorham, the lead investigator, asked Clegg to give a DNA sample. Clegg declined.

Smith said those were all examples of the police attempting to draw Clegg out after he’d invoked his right to silence. 

Smith had planned to play portions of the Oct. 12 interrogation video in court and ask Brown questions about it, but there was a technical issue with the court’s equipment, so that portion of the cross-examination was postponed to Friday.

Smith also went point-by-point through the Miranda warming Clegg was given by Brown, which hadn’t been recorded. A Miranda warming is the explanation of a suspect’s rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, which protect a suspect from self-incrimination and establish their right to an attorney. Brown said that Clegg indicated he understood his rights, checked off each one and initialed it.

Smith and Brown sparred over whether Clegg waived his right to an attorney, since the waiver portion of the Miranda form doesn’t mention counsel.

Brown said that Clegg had checked “yes” next to the line that explained his right to an attorney, showing he understood that right. He said the fact that Clegg could waive the right was implicit. “That’s the form we’ve used for decades,” Brown said when Smith pressed him on the topic.

The first 13 minutes of Clegg’s interview, which included the Miranda discussion between Brown and Clegg, was not recorded, something that police didn’t discover until later. Gorham, outside of the interrogation room, was trying to view it while it was going on, and wasn’t able to. She was logged onto the video system by a sergeant at the South Burlington police station, where it was taking place, 13 minutes into the interview.

Concord police realized days later that the issue wasn’t just with the video link, but that the interrogation itself wasn’t being recorded until the link was enabled. There is no statutory requirement in New Hampshire that custodial interviews must be recorded.

Wednesday’s hearing, and much of Thursday’s, was about the motion to suppress the cellphone ping evidence. Investigators, in an attempt to find Clegg before he left the country, made three exigent circumstances requests for cellphone information from Verizon on Oct. 11 and 12. An exigent circumstances request allows police to get information without a warrant if there is a pressing need to get it fast. The defense asserts there was time to get a warrant, and the request for evidence didn’t meet exigency standards.

Lt. Mark McGonagle testified that the information from Verizon was key to finding Clegg.

The hearing is scheduled to continue Friday at 10 a.m.

Clegg is being held without bail in Merrimack County Jail. His trial is scheduled to begin July 10.


 

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About this Author

Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken is a contract reporter and content producer for consumer financial agencies. She has worked for northern New England publications, including the New Hampshire Union Leader, for 25 years, and most recently at Mainebiz in Portland, Maine. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.