Monday, September 10, 2012

Butler, NJ: Defense seeking to bar Butler woman's confessions in husband's slaying

A Butler woman with multiple sclerosis, accused of shooting her husband to death in May 2010, allegedly told police “I think I shot my husband” and later said she was “never going to see the kids again and neither was he because I shot him.”

But the attorney for Amalia Mirasola, who uses a wheelchair, is seeking to have those confessions dismissed on grounds they weren’t voluntary, as the long delayed case returns to the front burner.

During a conference today in Superior Court in Morristown, Judge Robert Gilson scheduled a hearing for Oct. 24 on the motion to suppress the statements, and scheduled the case for trial on Dec. 4.

Mirasola, now 47, allegedly shot Carl Mirasola, 43, six times on May 22, 2010 while he slept and their three children were nearby in the house. She is accused of murder and a weapons charge.

When police arrived at the home that morning, Mirasola said, “I think I shot my husband,” according to Butler Police Sgt. Robert Findura.

Defense attorney Kalman Geist, in court papers, said that statement should not be allowed because the officer had asked Mirasola “what happened” and “elicited a confession” without reading her rights.

The second statement regarding the children, made to Detective Colleen Pascale, should be ruled inadmissible, Geist said, because at that point Mirasola had been arrested and had said she didn’t want to talk anymore.

Morris County Assistant Prosecutor David Bruno argued in court papers that both statements should be allowed because they were “spontaneous’ and Mirasola was “under no obligation to talk.” Even though she had invoked her Miranda rights, Mirasola “actually initiated the conversation” when she made the second confession, Bruno said.

Mirasola, who has been free since posting $250,000 bail on June 11, 2010, did not attend today’s hearing. In a letter to the court, Geist said she waived her right to attend because she is hospitalized at Chilton Memorial Hospital in Pompton Plains for treatment of a urinary tract infection.

In a separate letter to the court, Mirasola asked the judge to get the long delayed case to trial as soon as possible. Under a court order, she said, she has not been allowed to see her children since her arrest in May 2010. “I have not even heard their voices,” she said.

The three children have been placed with relatives, according to court records.

The oldest daughter, who was 13 at the time, said she “heard her mother shoot her father,” according to Detective Pascale. The girl said she had been sleeping but was woken by gunshots. The girl also said her father was dating another woman and that she wanted to live with her younger siblings with that woman, according to Pascale.

Amalia Mirasola, meanwhile, said her husband “had stopped paying the mortgage and the house was in foreclosure,” Pascale said.

At the time of the shooting, Mirasola’s attorney and others said the couple had been having marital problems since Mirasola was diagnosed with MS and were in the process of getting a divorce.

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