BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A judge threw out the police interrogation of a woman charged with murder in connection to the shooting of Brevard County Sheriff's Deputy Barbara Pill, ruling that Andria Kerchner made an "unequivocal demand for a lawyer," and police should have stopped questioning her.
Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports other spontaneous statements Kerchner made before and after the interrogation are still admissible as evidence.
An attorney representing Kerchner said the suppression effectively clears his client of the murder charge, as the state would have to prove that she either participated in the robbery of the EconoLodge, or acted in the shooting.
Andria Kerchner and Brandon Bradley were arrested following the shooting death of Pill in March 2012. Bradley, 24, is accused of pulling the trigger on Pill, 52, during a traffic stop shortly after a robbery at a motel on U.S. 192. Kerchner, 21, was a passenger in the vehicle and is also accused of murder.
"Merely being an occupant in a car, as a witness, does not make you complicit in a crime, unless you make an overt act in furtherance of the crime," Attorney Michael Bross said, later adding "She committed no overt act in furtherance of the commission of the crime of robbery with a weapon, theft or the murder."
Bross said Kerchner could be prosecuted for an alleged burglary that happened after the killing.
After she was arrested following the shooting, Kerchner said several things that were captured on police recordings.
At the scene of her arrest, Kerchner feigned a seizure and was taken to Viera Hospital – court documents show a doctor there determined she had several drugs in her body, including "valium, narcotics, THC, cocaine and barbiturates."
A doctor said the only drug not in her system was PCP, "which is disappointing frankly because then she would not be unconscious." To get her alert, the doctor orders staff to administer charcoal and a drug that counteracts opiates. On the recording, she howls as a tube is inserted either down her nose or throat.
Though Kerchner was under the influence, Judge Morgan Reinman ruled her state of intoxication didn't rise to a state of "mania," that would invalidate what she was saying.
"While Ms. Kerchner's words were slurred at times, she was very well aware of her surroundings, the gravity of the situation, and the reality of what had happened to Deputy Pill," Reinman wrote. So some of the recordings will be allowed as evidence in her trial, including statements in which she says Deputy Pill was shot and she is going to get charged because she was in the car.