A state appeals court on Wednesday refused to throw out a Baton Rouge man's admission that in 2011 he had killed and dismembered his wife, Brusly High School teacher Sylviane Finck Lozada.
Attorneys for Oscar Lozada, 43, say prosecutors shouldn’t be able to use the confession in court because an East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office detective failed to honor Lozada’s request for a lawyer.
Ad hoc Judge Bruce Bennett had denied Lozada's motion to suppress the confession, ruing in April that Lozada "wanted to do the interview more than he wanted an attorney there."
A state judge ruled Monday that statements Oscar Lozada gave to sheriff’s detectives about the 2011 death of his wife, a Brusly High School te…
A divided 1st Circuit Court of Appeal voted 2-1 on Wednesday to uphold the lower court’s ruling.
Lozada, who is charged with second-degree murder, initially told Maj. Todd Morris that he wanted a lawyer but later said he wanted to cooperate, according to a portion of Lozada's Oct. 5 interview played in court this year.
Circuit Judge Guy Holdridge wrote that when a trial court denies a motion to suppress, “factual and credibility determinations should not be reversed in the absence of a clear abuse of the trial court’s discretion.”
But Circuit Judge Mitch Theriot, who cast the lone dissent, said Lozada “clearly and unambiguously invoked his right to counsel, at which point the detective should have ceased further inquiry.”
Seven and a half years after Brusly High School teacher Sylviane Finck Lozada disappeared and her blood was found on the walls and ceiling of …
“When an accused has invoked his right to have counsel present during custodial interrogation, a valid waiver of that right cannot be established by showing only that he responded to further police-initiated custodial interrogation even if he has been advised of his rights,” Theriot added.
Quintillis Lawrence, an East Baton Rouge Parish assistant public defender who represents Lozada, said he agreed entirely with Theriot’s reasoning and will take the issue to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said the 1st Circuit majority correctly deferred to the factual and credibility determinations made by Bennett, “who was able to witness the detective’s demeanor on the stand in addition to viewing the appropriate portion of the interview of the defendant.”
Sylviane Lozada's body has never been found. Her husband was arrested last fall in Mexico after spending more than seven years on the lam in his home country of Venezuela. He was indicted by an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury in January.
Previous court filings stated Lozada had bought buckets and concrete around the time of his wife's disappearance in July 2011. Her blood was discovered on the ceiling and walls of the garage at the family's Spring Lake Drive home in Baton Rouge after she disappeared.
Lozada’s next court appearance is Sept. 4.