- Associated Press - Thursday, April 20, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Attorneys in a Bismarck homicide case are fighting over whether to allow an alleged police station confession to be used at trial.

An attorney for suspect Morris Brickle-Hicks argued during a hearing on Wednesday that his client lacks cognitive abilities and couldn’t understand Miranda warnings, The Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/2ouS4qB ) reported. But the prosecutor alleges Brickle-Hicks is faking mental psychological impairments to keep self-incriminating statements out of the courtroom.

Brickle-Hicks is accused of killing Misty Coffelt behind a store in Bismarck last year. Police interviewed him the night after the incident under the pretense that authorities wanted to discuss an assault he reported the night of Coffelt’s death.

Brickle-Hicks‘ attorney, James Loraas, said his client realized he was being interviewed as a suspect in the homicide case after signing away his right to remain silent.

Two psychologists were called by the defense and prosecution to give their opinion on Brickle-Hicks‘ during the Wednesday hearing.



Psychologist Shannon Weisz, called by Loraas, said Brickle-Hicks‘ has less than a sixth-grade reading ability and might be susceptible to interrogation tactics.

But psychologist Robert Lisota, called by Burleigh County Assistant State’s Attorney Julie Lawyer, said the defendant seemed to be in the “normal range” based on his presentation and interactions.

Lisota determined Brickle-Hicks was feigning symptoms after three malingering tests.

“He’s underperforming on the tests on purpose,” Lisota said.

South Central District Judge John Grinsteiener didn’t immediately rule on the suppression motion.

Brickle-Hicks‘ trial is scheduled to begin in July.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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