Judge rules to allow police interviews in Burton rape trial

Brian Close

The trial of alleged rapist Antonio Burton made little headway Tuesday as jury selection was delayed until today.
But Judge Andrew Danielson did rule to suppress portions of statements Burton made to Eau Claire and Minneapolis police when he was arrested in connection with an Oct. 8, 1996 off-campus break-in.
The judge ruled the second of three interviews between Burton and police officers would not be allowed in the trial, as Burton had not been re-read his rights prior to the second interview.
Danielson also decided not to allow statements Burton made in the third interview after he told officers he had nothing more to say, but continued talking anyway.
The other defense requests to suppress Burton’s statements were denied because the officer did not coerce Burton into talking.
“The judicial process was not undermined,” Danielson said.
Burton faces 11 counts of aiding and abetting criminal sexual conduct, robbery, and burglary. During the incident, two female University students were raped, and a car, some jewelry and a television were stolen.
Besides Burton, three other men — Victor Porter and brothers Puiassance and Giezwa Andersen — have already stood trial or pleaded guilty to charges related to the incident. Giezwa Andersen will testify against Burton.
After Danielson’s rulings, the prospective jurors were brought in and read the charges. They each received a questionnaire that will assess their ability to give a fair verdict.
When court resumed after the lunch break, Danielson decided to adjourn until Wednesday so lawyers could review the questionnaires before interviewing potential jurors.
Jury selection will continue Wednesday and Thursday, and opening statements could be heard as early as Friday.