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Nassau judge rules statements, DNA accused killer gave police can be used at trial

Lauren Daverin, 18, of Lynbrook, was killed on

Lauren Daverin, 18, of Lynbrook, was killed on Aug. 22, 2013 and her body was found on a footbridge in Rockville Centre on Aug. 22. Maxwell Sherman, 19, of Long Beach, is facing second-degree murder and first-degree sexual abuse in connection with her death. Credit: Facebook, Howard Schnapp

A Nassau judge Monday ruled results of DNA samples alleged killer Maxwell Sherman gave police and his statements to them can be used at his upcoming murder trial.

Sherman, 19, is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree sexual abuse in connection with the death of Lauren Daverin-Gresham, 18, of Lynbrook.

Police recovered her body, which was naked except for boots, on a Rockville Centre footbridge on Aug. 22, 2013. Sherman later told police he met Daverin-Gresham there that night, but denied having sex with her and any wrongdoing, according to court testimony. He has pleaded not guilty.

Acting state Supreme Court Justice Meryl Berkowitz also ruled a police photo array, including a photo of Sherman, that detectives showed to a 22-year-old witness wasn't "unduly suggestive."

This means that witness, Rodney Reed, potentially could testify that Sherman was the red-haired man he reportedly saw straddling a woman's body on the footbridge shortly before the victim was found dead at the crime scene.

The judge also ruled Monday that evidence resulting from police searches of Sherman's duffle bag and bicycle could be used at the trial, which she set for April 28.

Defense attorney William Petrillo had argued Sherman was the only person in the police photo array shown looking away from the camera and that it was unduly suggestive.

He also said Reed's reported comment that it "definitely looks like the guy" when picking the defendant out of the array didn't equal a positive ID. Petrillo has also called Reed's account implausible, saying Reed knew the victim and didn't give detectives information about what he'd allegedly seen on the footbridge until two days after speaking to police at the crime scene.

The Garden City lawyer also had argued for suppression of his client's statements to police and evidence resulting from consent Sherman gave involving providing DNA samples and allowing a search of some of his belongings. Petrillo said Sherman didn't feel free to leave during questioning, meaning his consent wasn't voluntary.

But Assistant District Attorney Everett Witherell had argued the photo array was fair, that Sherman had waived his rights before speaking to detectives, and even ripped hair out of his arm for DNA testing.

Petrillo declined to comment after court. Paul Leonard, spokesman for acting District Attorney Madeline Singas, said prosecutors were pleased with the judge's decision and looked forward to the trial.


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