Clegg motions to suppress evidence denied

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Logan Clegg, charged in the murders of Djeswende and Stephen Reid, watches proceedings at a May hearing in Merrimack County Superior Court. File Photo

CONCORD, NH – The cellphone data that led police to Logan Clegg in Vermont, and evidence gathered there, will be allowed at his trial, as will most of his conversations with police after his Oct. 12 arrest, Merrimack County Superior Court Justice John Kissinger ruled Tuesday.

Clegg is charged with second-degree murder and several other charges in the April 2022 shooting deaths of Djeswende and Stephen Reid. 

Clegg’s attorneys in a three-day hearing last month argued that police didn’t properly seek a warrant from Verizon to track Clegg’s location before he was arrested Oct. 12. A second motion asks to suppress evidence from Clegg’s conversations with police after his arrest, arguing that his right to silence and to counsel were violated. Clegg was initially arrested on a fugitive warrant out of Utah and charged with the Reid homicides on Oct. 19.

Kissinger’s rulings, released Tuesday, denied the two defense motions, except for the portion asking to suppress evidence after his right to an attorney was violated Oct. 19. It’s not clear if the evidence suppressed – Clegg asking if he’ll get back money police seized from his backpack – is relevant to the state’s case.

A status hearing related to the timing of Clegg’s trial, which is scheduled for next month, was set for Friday afternoon.

Defense attorneys Caroline Smith and Mariana Dominguez argued May 24, 25 and 26 that Concord police should have gotten a warrant for three requests for location information data they made to Verizon Oct. 11 and 12.

The police had used a cellphone number Clegg used when he bought an Oct. 14 airline ticket to get location data, historical cell phone data, and RTT data from Verizon, using the “exigent circumstances” provision that allows police to get information in certain emergency circumstances without a warrant. 

The defense argued that there was enough time to get a warrant, and that all evidence obtained as a result of the searches must be suppressed, which included Clegg’s laptop and a loaded gun. They also argued that flaws in the initial investigation damaged probable cause police cited in order to make the exigency request.

A search warrant must show probable cause for the action, as a way to protect individuals from unlawful search and seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Showing probable cause means that a judge determined there is a good reason for the search, and then signs the warrant that allows it.

Logan Clegg being led into Merrimack County Superior Court April 21 for a motions hearing. File Photo

Prosecution attorneys Assistant Attorneys General Joshua Speicher and Daniel Sakowski argued that Clegg didn’t have a legitimate expectation of privacy in his location as revealed by cellphone location data, but even if he did, the exigent circumstances justified the data request. The state also argued that they would have inevitably gotten the same information if they’d gotten a warrant.

Kissinger found that the state met its burden on proving the warrantless search of the cell data falls within the exigent circumstances provision. He also ruled that probable cause existed for the data request. 

“The State has demonstrated that, at the time the requests were made, Mr. Clegg was a strong suspect for the Reids’ murders,” the ruling said, and listed much of the evidence in the investigation leading to the conclusion Clegg is a suspect.

“Taken together, the Court finds the State has shown there was probable cause to believe Mr. Clegg had committed the offense of murdering the Reids-a significant factor to consider in determining whether exigent circumstances exist,” Kissinger wrote.

He added that other important factors that weigh in favor of a finding of exigent circumstances are that the weapon hadn’t been recovered and that Clegg had a ticket to fly to Germany on Oct. 14, 

“Presumably, Mr. Clegg would not have attempted to bring a firearm with him to the JFK airport given the level of security the public encounters when attempting to board a flight,” meaning he may dispose of it, Kissinger wrote. 

It said there was reason to believe Clegg was armed. “His criminal history in Utah showed that he armed with two different handguns when arrested on two different occasions.”

Kissinger also cited the “strong need” to prevent Clegg’s escape, and that in the past he’d bought a ticket to fly out of the country, but not followed through. “From this evidence, it is reasonable to infer that Mr. Clegg could have decided to travel elsewhere in the United States, or perhaps Canada (a short distance from Burlington, Vermont), to avoid apprehension.”

The randomness of the Reids’ killings also added to exigency, providing “[Concord police] with reason to believe Mr. Clegg might likewise randomly endanger others, particularly given the assumption he was likely armed.”

The ruling said that police were “under the impression that a request to Verizon made with a warrant could take days or weeks to process before cellphone location data would be produced.” Even if the impression was mistaken, “it was reasonable for the officers to rely on their personal experience in determining how long it would take to receive location data from Verizon.”

“Considering the totality of the circumstances, the police faced a compelling need for immediate action and there was a grave risk that the delay of even a few hours caused by seeking a search warrant would create a substantial threat of imminent danger to life or public safety and a likelihood that evidence would be destroyed or Mr. Clegg would flee,” the ruling said.

Post-Arrest Interrogation

The defense motions also argued that conversations Det. Wade Brown and  Danika Gorham had with Clegg on Oct. 12 and 19, while he was in custody, violated his invoked right to silence and right to a lawyer.

Brown interrogated Clegg in South Burlington, Vermont, in the hours after his arrest on Utah fugitive charges Oct. 12. He interviewed him again at the jail in St. Albans, Vermont, on Oct. 13 and Oct. 19. Gorham also talked to Clegg.

Kissinger ruled that Clegg waived his rights on Oct. 12 and the fact that the Miranda portion of the interview, where his rights are explained, was not recorded because of a technical glitch “did not have a meaningful impact.” 

The defense also argued the waiver form Clegg signed was invalid because it did not specifically mention right to counsel, but Kissinger ruled the form was valid. The state had argued that the portion of the Miranda form in which the rights are spelled out took care of the right to counsel information.

Kissinger ruled that Brown asking Clegg to look at some photos (Clegg declined) after Clegg invoked his right to silence by asking Brown to stop, as well as Brown asking Clegg’s clothing size so the police could replace the clothes they were taking into evidence, also didn’t constitute interrogation, and therefor didn’t violate his right to silence.

The defense contended that Clegg’s right to an attorney was violated in the Oct. 19 interview with police. By that point, Clegg had been appointed an attorney for the fugitive from justice charges that he’d been arrested on Oct. 12. He had yet to be charged in the Reid homicides.

Brown and Gorham asked Clegg if they could update him on the case, and also ask him more questions.

Clegg said, “I’m fine with you updating me, but I’m going to need my attorney here if we’re going to talk more questions.”

After being told he had to specifically invoke his right to an attorney, Clegg more clearly stated that he was invoking his right to counsel.

Kissinger ruled that the detectives went beyond the update and violated Clegg’s right to counsel when Gorham told him, “Concord detectives worked tirelessly on this case and there is no doubt in my mind that you were involved in the incident back in April of 2022.” Brown then asked if Clegg had any questions.

Djeswende (Wendy) and Steve Reid of Concord were found dead on April 21 near the Broken Ground Trails in Concord. Both suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Image provided by the NH Attorney General’s office

Kissinger ruled that the detectives’ questions functioned as an interrogation, and they likely knew they were “likely to elicit an incriminating response,” and therefore they didn’t honor his right to counsel.

Clegg, after that, asked if he was going to get back money the police had taken from his backpack. Kissinger ruled that that conversation is suppressed from being evidence at trial.

Kissinger, in a footnote, also said he was concerned that Clegg was not read his Miranda rights on Oct. 13, and that the state will have to request admissibility at the trial, and the defense will have a chance to object.

Clegg is charged with two counts of knowing second-degree murder, two alternative counts of reckless second-degree murder, four counts of falsifying physical evidence, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, all related to the Reid killings. Djeswende Reid, 63, and Stephen Reid, 62, were shot multiple times while they were on a walk through the Broken Ground Trail system near the Loudon Road apartment in Concord. Their bodies were found April 21, 2022.

Clegg was arrested and charged with the Reid killings on Oct. 19. His Oct. 12 arrest was on a fugitive charge out of Utah, where he’d violated probation on a robbery conviction by fleeing the state.

Concord police asked Utah to expand the extradition area for the fugitive warrant east of the Mississippi after learning Clegg’s identify weeks before his arrest. When Concord police tracked Clegg to Vermont, they brought police there into the investigation so Clegg could immediately be arrested on the fugitive charge while Concord police worked on getting a warrant to arrest him on the New Hampshire charges. That warrant was completed Oct. 18. The affidavit leading to the arrest warrant, 24 pages long, was released to the public Jan. 30.

As of Friday morning, Clegg’s trial is scheduled to begin July 11, with jury selection July 10.


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.