Attorney Joseph Patituce and Attorney Megan Patituce filed a series of pre-trial motions on December 6, 2019, on behalf of Tevin Biles-Thomas, the brother of U.S. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles. In the court filings, our legal team claimed that our client was charged without evidence after being improperly questioned by police and prosecutors.
At his police interrogation in February, our 25-year-old client asked to speak with a lawyer—not once, but three times—before Cleveland homicide detective Aaron Reese made him testify before a grand jury. Biles-Thomas didn’t initially bring an attorney with him because our client assumed he was going to provide a witness statement because his cousins was one of the murder victims.
“He had no idea he was a suspect,” Joseph Patituce told cleveland.com. “He just wanted to tell the officer what he saw that night, and the next thing he knew he was being told he was a suspect in a serious crime.”
Reese informed our client that several witnesses had already testified to a grand jury and identified him or another man as the shooter and advised him to go along with the witness accounts or face consequences. Additionally, since our client is in the U.S Army, Reese told Biles-Thomas that he could be subject to a court martial and also said something about our client’s deceased grandfather to elicit a confession.
“Detective Reese perverted the sacred duty of the Grand Jury by turning it into a cudgel which he wielded against Mr. Biles-Thomas,” Megan Patituce wrote in one of the motions.
When he requested a lawyer a third time, Reese sent him to the grand jury room. However, Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Saleh Awadallah failed to properly advise him of his Fifth Amendment right to protect himself against self-incrimination.
“You have the right to say ‘I wish not to answer that question’ and, you know, depending on whether it’s something that’s going to incriminate you, that might be a question of law we’d have to take up with the judge or not, but that’s up to you,” Awadallah said.
Rather than asking our client if he wished to relinquish his right to self-incrimination, Prosecutor Awadallah told him that doing so would be an issue at a later time and encouraged him to testify immediately. Although Biles-Thomas provided the grand jurors with the same story he told Reese and maintained his innocence, the State of Ohio used his words against him to inform a later jury that he was a liar, according to the motion.
Biles-Thomas was indicted in August on multiple counts of murder, voluntary manslaughter, felonious assault, and perjury, despite telling the grand jury that he was not the shooter. Our Cleveland criminal defense lawyers requested that the Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court judge presiding over the case to suppress any statements made by our client after he asked for an attorney.
Furthermore, our legal team requested to appoint a special prosecutor and disqualify Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley’s office since the prosecutors who brought the case to the grand jury might serve as witnesses in trial or during a motion to suppress hearing. Because the prosecution has failed to hand over any evidence that leads to Biles-Thomas being the perpetrator of the alleged crimes, we asked for transcripts from the grand jury proceedings to figure out how our client was charged.
According to a motion, the statement made by Reese claiming multiple witnesses identified our client as the shooter was inaccurate because the evidence provided by the prosecution during the discovery process did not include a statement from a witness that claimed he was the gunman. Not only did any witness pick our client’s photo out of a lineup—including one of the individuals who was shot—but many also didn’t witness the shooting.
Lastly, Joseph Patituce said law enforcement officials discovered DNA on bullet casings from the shooting scene. However, our client’s DNA and the DNA found on the casings didn’t match.
For more information about our legal services in Ohio, contact Patituce & Associates today at (440) 471-7784 and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.