The intersection of 5th and Cumberland streets, near where Ndeko Mutijima was killed in May 2012, for which Daysean Brock is charged. Credit: Google Maps
An outlandish story of blatant drug use inside police headquarters and beatings by several officers, told by a man charged with murder, was deemed not believable by a Philadelphia judge on Wednesday.
Daysean Brock, 28, is charged with the May 2012 murder near Reese and Cumberland streets of Ndeko Mutjima, 33, of Allentown, in what prosecutors say was a robbery gone bad.
"It's ridiculous, it's insulting, it's absurd," said prosecutor Bridget Kirn of Brock's tale during closing arguments on the defense motion to suppress the statement Brock allegedly gave to police from his impending murder trial. "We've had little or no honesty from the defendant in this case."
Brock testified during the three-day motion hearing that a statement to police in which Brock admits to involvement in the attempted robbery and fatal shooting of Mutjima in the early morning hours of May 19, 2012 was not made by him.
He claimed that he was unconscious of what text he was initialing and signing, that he didn't say the things he is quoted as saying in the statement, and he even implied that he might have signed blank pieces of paper that later had text printed onto them.
“I didn’t pay attention to what was written on it. I just signed,” Brock testified. "I was exhausted, I couldn't think straight, I was stressed."
According to Brock, who was already jailed for a separate incident at the time, after being transferred to the homicide unit, reportedly around 7:30 p.m. on August 28, 2012, he claims he was left there for hours while various random individuals who he believes were police detectives or officers came into the room, shouted taunts at him and smacked him around. He testified that four such incidents occurred, and possibly more.
Then, the story continues, around noon the next day, the homicide unit detective who came to take Brock's statement brought him to a bathroom, gave him a marijuana joint to smoke and forced a yellow pill into his mouth, which made Brock "high," he said. He claims that the detective kicked him and punched him when they were back in the interrogation room, and then brought out papers which Brock signed and initialed, before being transferred back to Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center.
Capt. James Love of the Philadelphia Prisons System testified that an investigation into Brock's claims was opened after he told a prison nurse on Aug. 30, 2012, that he had been beaten and drugged by detectives. The investigation found that Brock tested positive for THC and had bruises on his knee, left arm, and lip. No report of the investigation or complaint was ever forwarded to police or to internal affairs, Love said, as to do so would have required an order from a warden or the prisons commissioner.
The detective Brock accused in his tale of abuse testified that the entire story is false.
Defense attorney Tom Malone, during closing arguments, said he didn't believe Brock's story at first either.
"It seemed incredibly unlikely to me, but then I got the records," Malone said, referring to the prison investigation records.
Beyond the drugs, Malone argued that Brock's approximately 18-hour wait before interrogation violates Pennsylvania's "six hour law."
"This motion really should be granted on that alone. He's there for just about 18 hours -- no food, no bathroom, no sleep. Everytime he nodded off, someone came in with a loud noise," said Malone, who called this "a classic scenario for a false confession."
However, Kirn argued that Brock never made an official complaint about his allegations of abuse to anyone besides prison authorities, while a nurse at the homicide unit who evaluated Brock before he left found no injuries and received no reports of abuse from Brock.
During the 10-hour gap between when Brock was signed out of homicide at about 2 a.m. on August 30, 2012 and the time he reported to a prison nurse that he had been abused and drugged, "he's crafted this story," Kirn said.
Kirn said that a positive THC test and pictures of injuries did not establish Brock's tale as they could be the result of other incidents.
Judge Lillian Ransom agreed, finding Brock's tale of drug use and abuse "incredible" and dismissing the motion in a decision delivered from the bench Wednesday morning. She found that while the 18-hour wait was "lengthy," it was likely caused by ongoing investigations at that time into the murder of Officer Moses Walker, and did not invalidate Brock's statement.
She ruled that the statement was "intelligently and voluntarily made" and can be introduced into evidence at Brock's trial, which is currently scheduled to begin June 2.
Beyond the statement, other prosecution evidence against Brock includes his fingerprint reportedly being found at the scene of the crime and surveillance camera footage that allegedly shows Brock at the scene of the crime.
The second individual named during police testimony as also allegedly being involved in Mutjima's murder and possibly being the shooter has no criminal charges listed against him in online court records, or any listing of being incarcerated in Philadelphia or Pennsylvania at this time.