The defense attorney for a woman charged in a stabbing death at the Batavia Apartments complex in 2012 argued in court on Thursday that her client didn't understand her Miranda rights before being interviewed by Batavia police.
Latoya Baines, 27, who lived at the Batavia Apartments complex at the time of the stabbing, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the April 30, 2012, stabbing death of Chicago resident Gerald J. Jackson, 25. Police said the stabbing was the result of a domestic dispute.
"Here is a young woman whose only prior arrest was driving on a suspended license," Baines' defense attorney, Sandra Byrd, told Kane County Judge Susan Clancy Boles. Byrd has filed a motion seeking to suppress evidence obtained through four interviews that Batavia police had with Baines.
While Byrd acknowledged that Batavia Police Detective Kevin Bretz read Baines her rights before interviewing her, "he didn't make any attempt to ensure she knows what these rights mean," she said. "The mere fact that she said she understood her rights doesn't mean she understood them."
Bretz testified in court Thursday that Baines "said she [understood] her Miranda rights." He also testified that he did not interview Baines when she was initially brought into the police station because she was intoxicated.
"She was placed in a cell so she could sleep," Bretz said.
Bretz also testified that Baines told him she was bipolar after she was told she was being charged with first-degree murder.
In arguing against Byrd's motion, prosecutors contended there is no evidence to show that Baines had any mental or physical issues that would prevent her from understanding her Miranda rights.
Boles said she plans to watch the interview tapes before ruling on the motion on Wednesday. She had recently ruled that Baines is fit to stand trial after citing the results of a psychological evaluation of her.
Byrd had raised concerns about whether Baines was fit to stand trial.
Baines remains in the Kane County Jail on a $750,000 bail. She has been in custody for more than 800 days.
Police responding to the initial incident in 2012 found two women, one of them Baines, struggling with each other at the bottom of a stairwell. Officers said they later found three knives in the hallway where the women had been struggling.
“Evidence in this case points to [Baines] being in possession of three knives before the stabbing of Jackson, and being in possession of one knife at the time that Jackson was stabbed,” according to court records.
After conducting a field investigation, police said they were able to determine the incident occurred as a result of a domestic dispute between the victim and Baines.