Harrison Graham: The Corpse Collector
Animosity Between the Lawyers
Moldovsky accused King of withholding a statement from his client, made by a woman, Mary Hogan, who'd once lived with Graham. King denied it and they'd argued over the case. Latrone warned them to cut down on the animosity.
On February 17, Moldovsky indicated that because murder was inconsistent with Graham's peaceful personality, he clearly had been framed for the deaths of the seven women. "He's not a killer," Moldovsky said, "he's a lover." Graham had admitted to murder only after the police suggested it, because his mental age was that of an impressionable 9-year-old. It was possible that the women found in his apartment had died from overdoses or been killed by others and dumped where they were discovered.
A week later, Moldovsky tried again with another psychiatric expert. Dr. Timothy Michaels, a psychiatrist, stated that Graham could not have comprehended his constitutional rights when he waved them at the time he made his incriminating statements. He was a heavy drug user, mentally retarded, and mentally defective in other ways, so he could not have known what he was doing when he confessed.
ADA King insisted that the doctor's opinion was ludicrous; it was far too removed from the time of the police interrogation to render an accurate judgment of competence at the time. Other experts had already testified that they couldn't make a judgment in the matter.
Homicide Sergeant John Finn brought evidence into the courtroom that had been seized from the abandoned building where Graham had hidden during the manhunt. Among the items was his Cookie Monster puppet, which he immediately asked to have back. "I sleep with that," he said. But the puppet remained in evidence.
The pre-trial hearings ran for fourteen days. Then Judge Latrone suggested that he was inclined to throw out Graham's confession to four of the murders. When he'd initially been questioned, Graham had admitted to three. When he was questioned later by Detective Hansen, he added the rest, but Hansen had not reread him his rights, as he was required to do by law. That made part of the confession precarious.
But in the end, Latrone allowed the entire statement into evidence, along with the graphic photographs taken at the scene. He also decided to sequester the jury, and selection for the trial began on March 4. King announced that he would seek the death penalty.