BY BY JANE PRENDERGAST
The Cincinnati Enquirer
COVINGTON -- A judge is considering whether a statement made by the man accused of causing the death of Covington Police Officer Mike Partin should be thrown out of court.
At issue is whether Shawnta Robertson, 21, who faces a manslaughter charge, knew he was a suspect in the officer's death when he was questioned several hours after Officer Partin fell from a bridge while helping to chase Mr. Robertson.
Attorneys for the Cincinnati man say he had no idea when he agreed to talk with detectives that January morning that he could be charged. Had he known, attorney Ken Lawson said, he might have asked to speak with a lawyer.
"If you're pulling me over for disorderly conduct, I may go ahead and make a statement," Mr. Lawson said. "If you're talking about manslaughter, I may want to talk to my attorney."
Mr. Lawson wants Kenton Circuit Judge Steve Jaeger to suppress the 12-page statement Mr. Robertson made to police. After a morning hearing Tuesday, the judge gave lawyers until Aug. 11 to submit more information.
Detectives who testified Tuesday said it was clear why they wanted to talk to Mr. Robertson. And Commonwealth Attorney Don Buring said that shouldn't matter anyway -- his rights were read to him more than once, and they say anything he would say could be used against him in a court of law.
Mr. Lawson stressed that Mr. Robertson showed concern for Officer Partin, asking several times whether he was alive. He also said Mr. Robertson was intoxicated when he was questioned, though detectives said he was not impaired enough to not understand what was going on. Officer Partin fell into the Ohio River from the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge early Jan. 4 while helping another officer chase Mr. Robertson.
Mr. Robertson was initially charged with driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and disregarding a traffic signal.
The manslaughter charge was since added, and the others dropped.