Tuesday, September 26, 2000

Judge allows use of boy's confession

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A 17-year-old boy said Monday in court that police intimidated him into falsely confessing to throwing concrete that crashed through a car windshield and struck the driver on the head.

        The teen-ager said he confessed after more than three hours of questioning at the Hamilton police station.

        “I was scared,” the boy said at a Butler County Juvenile Court hearing on a defense motion to bar his statement to police from his trial. “The only thing I wanted was to go home.”

        But Judge David Niehaus ruled that the two police detectives who interrogated him did not violate his rights. He admitted the statement as evidence.

        The boy, who has been under home incarceration, is charged with felonious assault and criminal damaging. The Enquirer is not identifying him because he is a juvenile.

        On July 27, John Gentile was driving north on Kenworth Avenue near Franklin Street in Hamilton when a piece of concrete smashed through his windshield and struck him in the forehead.

        Mr. Gentile, 52, of Hamilton, underwent five hours of surgery to repair a tear in his brain lining and to reconstruct his forehead.

        Police said the boy threw the concrete from atop a backhoe that was being used for road repairs.

        Hamilton Police Detectives James Smith and John Nethers alternately interviewed the boy on Aug. 3 for about three hours.

        Detective Nethers said the boy admitted to throwing the concrete after police promised him he would be tried as a juvenile if he told the truth and after his mother talked with him.

        The boy's mother testified that when she visited him in the interview room, he was crying and shaking.

        “He was really upset and started yelling, "Why doesn't anybody believe me?'” his mother said. “I said, "Tell them the truth.'”

        She said she believes her son did not throw the concrete.


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