Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Accused kidnapper files motion to dismiss

Harrison alleges flawed evidence lead to indictment

Express Staff Writer

Robert Joe Harrison Jr.

Accused kidnapper Robert Joe Harrison Jr. has filed a motion requesting that the charge against him be dismissed, alleging that evidence used to indict him is "fatally flawed."

The motion claims that "fatally flawed out-of-court eye witness identification" resulted in "fatally flawed evidence and testimony presented to the grand jury."

Harrison, 50, is charged in a grand jury indictment with second-degree kidnapping for allegedly enticing a 10-year-old Hemingway Elementary School student into his vehicle on April 10. According to Ketchum police, the boy was released unharmed later that day.

The motion to dismiss was one of several motions filed last month by Hailey attorney Kevin P. Cassidy, of The Roark Law Firm. Cassidy is representing Harrison as a public defender.

Arguments and testimony on the motions were heard Thursday, Aug. 31, by Blaine County 5th District Court Judge Robert Elgee. The hearing is scheduled to resume today at 1 p.m.

Harrison has also filed a motion for a change of venue, claiming that "this case has received significant publicity and there exists a reasonable likelihood that such pretrial publicity has affected prospective jurors."

A motion to suppress alleges that evidence taken from Harrison's apartment in Ketchum and from his 2003 Dodge Dakota pickup was seized illegally in violation of Harrison's Constitutional rights. It also alleges that statements made by Harrison were taken illegally.

A second motion to suppress alleges that out-of-court identifications made by the 10-year-old boy violate Harrison's due process rights "because they were obtained as a result of procedures so unnecessarily suggestive that they create a very substantial likelihood of misidentification."

Harrison is currently free on $20,000 bond and living in the Walla Walla, Wash., area.

Prior to his arrest, he was an airport security guard with the federal Transportation Security Administration at Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey.

His trial is scheduled to start in 5th District Court on Sept. 20.

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