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Circuit court to hear motions in Griffith case

BY ANDREA MOORE amoore@paducahsun.com

Motions filed in the Keith Griffith case will be heard by McCracken Circuit Judge Tim Kaltenbach next Wednesday.    

Griffith, 55, is facing charges of murder, first-degree arson, tampering with physical evidence and second-degree animal cruelty after his home burned and his wife of 36 years, Julie Griffith, was found dead inside.  

Griffith's attorney, Mark Bryant, has moved to preserve evidence at Griffith's Tudor Boulevard home in Reidland. Bryant stated that he is concerned about a July 31 hearing on a property code violation filed against Griffith in McCracken District Court.  

Bryant stated that comments from the county attorney and the judge during the hearing suggest that Griffith may be forced to destroy the crime scene before counsel can complete the investigation.  

Bryant went on to argue that any nuisance caused by the burned home pales in comparison to the potential punishment that Griffith may receive if not allowed to mount a complete defense.  

The attorney also filed a brief in support of the motion to suppress what was heard by Kaltenbach on July 28. 

In the brief, Bryant argued that Griffith was lured to the sheriff's office by Coroner Dan Sims under the assumption that he was going to the office for an explanation of the fire investigation's progress.

Bryant stated that when Griffith arrived at the sheriff's office to see Sims, Griffith and friend Murray Looper were met by Deputy Coroner Ryan Johnson, who told Looper that they only needed Griffith.

Bryant argued that Griffith had to spend 45 minutes in a waiting area and then was put in a small interrogation cell with an automatically locking door and interrogated by Detective Sgt. Matt Carter and Johnson. Bryant stated there were no questions related to the Griffith home and that Griffith was lured on a false pretext or simply deceived.  

Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Raymond McGee argued in his response that the interview of Griffith did not present a serious danger of coercion or deprive the defendant of freedom in a significant way. 

He also stated that Griffith did not ask to leave or express that he no longer wished to answer questions.  

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

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

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