Murder suspect testifies Nassau cops ignored his request for a lawyer

William Flowers, a defendant in a Hempstead slaying, William Flowers, a defendant in a Hempstead slaying, testified that Nassau detectives ignored his request for a lawyer, and coerced him into talking about the incident while continuing to question him. Photo Credit: NCPD

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A defendant in a Hempstead slaying testified Wednesday that Nassau detectives ignored his request for a lawyer, and coerced him into talking about the incident while continuing to question him.

"I felt emotional and distraught and I started to give in," said William Flowers, 32, of Queens, from the witness stand in Mineola.

Defense lawyer Brian Carmody said he wanted Nassau County Judge William Donnino to suppress videotaped evidence because he claims police violated his client's Miranda rights.

Flowers also testified that a video recording homicide detectives made after taking him into custody in Warwick, R.I., only captured part of his interrogation.

Police charged Flowers with second-degree murder after the January 2013 death of James Warren, 29, of Hempstead, whom officers found on a sidewalk after answering a call about gunshots. Flowers faces up to 25 years to life in prison if found guilty.

The defendant's testimony came after Assistant District Attorney Christine Geier told Donnino he'd rejected a prior manslaughter plea offer that included a 12-year prison sentence.

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Speaking in a calm, low voice while wearing a suit and tie, Flowers testified he was in Rhode Island for an assignment for his marketing job and getting ready to smoke marijuana with co-workers when police pulled into a parking lot and arrested him in February 2013.

He said they took him to a local police station, but he interrupted a detective as he greeted him in an interview room, telling him he wanted an attorney.

"He said what did I need an attorney for?" Flowers said, adding: "I told him that I was always told to ask for an attorney if I get arrested."

Flowers said he first told police a phony story about meeting a prostitute at a hotel to try to create an alibi.

But he said he started telling detectives something else after they said they knew he'd been robbed in the incident, and that the man who was dead had a rap sheet.

Flowers also told Geier during cross-examination that he gave the real story then because detectives were right that he'd been robbed.

Flowers testified he told police he was taking part in a marijuana sale when one of two men who got in his car put a knife to his throat before he fired a gun in the area and drove away.

Geier played a video segment in court that showed police giving a Miranda warning to Flowers, before he said he understood his rights.

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But Carmody said after court that as the video continues, Flowers answers both yes and no when police ask if he's willing to speak without an attorney.

The prosecution declined Wednesday to comment on the case or the hearing, which continues Monday.

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