Defense wants remarks tossed out
LISBON – Defense attorneys attempted to get incriminating statements thrown out in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Friday, statements which were reportedly made in the Salem Police Department by Robert Harmony, the man accused in the stabbing death of 23-year-old Gerrod S. Lanzendorfer last November.
Harmony is charged with murder in the death of Lanzendorfer, a bouncer at the Side Door tavern who reportedly was found with 14 stab wounds in the street on South Broadway in Salem in the early morning hours of Nov. 13.
After the stabbing, Harmony reportedly dialed 911 and told a dispatcher he had left the bar, and he had just stabbed someone. He walked to the Salem police department himself and sat in the lobby, reportedly with blood on his clothes and crying.
Testifying on Friday, Lt. Charles Shafer said he went into the lobby, ordered Harmony to turn around. Harmony went to his knees and was taken to the floor. Shafer then began handcuffing Harmony and was soon joined by Sgt. Karl Toy, due to Harmony requiring two handcuffs because of his large size. After securing him, Shafer said they helped him to get upright, and as Harmony sat in the lobby with his back against the wall, Shafer said he read him his Miranda Rights.
Shafer said Harmony nodded his head and said “yes” when asked if he understood. Toy returned, and they helped Harmony to his feet and took him into the booking room. Shafer testified there are two cameras in the lobby, so video is available, but there is no audio recording in the lobby.
Defense attorney Jennifer Gorby questioned Shafer about reading Harmony his Miranda Rights in the lobby where there was no audio of him doing so. She asked why he did not re-Mirandize him in the booking room, where there was both audio and video. Shafer said he did not think about it.
In the booking room, Harmony told Shafer he wanted an attorney. Shafer said he did not question Harmony, but reminded him seven or eight times not to say anything. Gorby also asked if Shafer got him an attorney or allowed him to contact one, which Shafer said he did not.
Shafer did admit to speaking with Harmony, but said they discussed things involving their prior family relationship, not the incident involving the knife.
Detective David Talbert testified Friday when he arrived he spoke to Shafer, who told him Harmony had been Mirandized. Talbert said he asked Harmony if there was anything he was willing to tell him about it, and Harmony responded “I ain’t got (expletive) to say. Get me a lawyer.”
Talbert said at one point Harmony asked for assistance with a drink of water and blowing his nose. Talbert said during that conversation he asked again if there was anything Harmony wanted to tell him.
“I was harassed. I was followed. I felt threatened, and as a soldier, I did what I had to do,” Harmony reportedly responded.
Before Judge C. Ashley Pike took the matter of suppressing Harmony’s statements at the police station under consideration, Gorby reiterated her point, stating what Talbert characterized as conversational was in her opinion interrogation. Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones responded Harmony was never subjected to interrogation, but offered the statements freely.
Harmony faces between 15 years and life in prison if convicted.