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Griffith's defense argues no Miranda rights read

BY ANDREA MOORE amoore@paducahsun.com

Keith Griffith, 55, appeared before McCracken Circuit Judge Tim Kaltenbach Monday for a hearing in an attempt to suppress statements he made the morning after his Reidland home burned and his wife of 36 years, Julie Griffith, was found dead inside.  

Defense attorney Mark Bryant questioned Detective Matt Carter during cross-examination on whether Griffith was free to leave the interview the morning after the fire and whether or not Miranda rights should have been read if he were in fact detained.

Carter testified that Griffith was free to leave and that Griffith did not give any indication of wanting to leave.  Carter said it was implied that Griffith was free to leave and he did not feel the need to read Griffith his Miranda rights.  

Bryant focused on the locked door to the interview room and whether Griffith understood that he was free to leave because of the locked door.

On direct examination, Bryant called Griffith's best friend, Murray Looper, who testified that Griffith was interviewed for four hours and that afterward Griffith started to cry and told him that he felt the sheriff's office believed he had something to do with his wife's death.  

Bryant also called Aaron Griffith, the son of Keith Griffith, who testified that he had communication with his dad the night his mother died and that his dad was not secretive about his whereabouts. They did not talk about where his dad was, Aaron Griffith testified.

Bryant called one other witness, Temple Bradley, who supported Aaron Griffith's claim that Griffith was not secretive as to his whereabouts.

Griffith is facing charges of murder, first-degree arson, tampering with physical evidence and second degree animal cruelty.  An autopsy after the fire revealed that Julie Griffith had been shot three times before the fire began.

Detectives have said that Griffith told them he was staying in a Louisville area hotel the night of the fire, but that a video showed Griffith leaving the hotel at 11 p.m. and returning about 5:30 a.m.  Detectives have also said that video from a surveillance system showed a truck similar to Griffith's driving through his neighborhood right before the fire started.

Kaltenbach did not rule on the suppression motion and wants both sides to file briefs and return to court Aug. 19 to review their findings.  

A trial date of Feb. 2 was set. Griffith's bond remains $1 million.

Contact Andrea Moore, a Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8684.

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