Judge considers tossing confession in South Side bicyclist stabbing

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On Oct. 24, 2012, attorney Daniel Joyce called Pittsburgh homicide detectives and specifically asked them not to speak to his client without him being present.

The next day detectives went to the Allegheny County Jail where Anthony Scholl was being held on other charges, picked him up and took him to their headquarters, where he promptly confessed to a brutal stabbing of a bicyclist on the South Side.

Mr. Joyce wasn't called, but Mr. Scholl's mother was.

Now, Mr. Scholl's new defense attorney, Ryan Tutera, is asking a judge to throw out the confession, saying that it was improperly obtained.

"The police knew at the time they made contact with Anthony Scholl Jr. that he was a) represented and b) in no condition to speak."

Mr. Scholl, 22, of West Mifflin is charged with attacking Colin Albright on Sept. 5, 2012.

According to investigators, Mr. Scholl was driving across the Hot Metal Bridge that day when Mr. Albright cut him off while riding on a bicycle. Mr. Albright then walked up the city steps near Josephine Street when, police said, Mr. Scholl chased him and stabbed him. The knife narrowly missed Mr. Albright's carotid artery and brain stem.

It took weeks before police identified Mr. Scholl as a suspect.

After detectives took Mr. Scholl to headquarters on Oct. 25, 2012, they waited to question him until after his mother, Patricia Arlett, arrived.

She testified at a hearing that started Monday before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning that Detectives James McGee and Hal Bolin told her and her son that if he would give a statement they would knock the charges down to simple assault.

She signed what she thought was paperwork to that effect, although it was really her son's Miranda rights waiver form.

"I didn't read it. I just assumed ... I trusted the cop that that was the agreement," Ms. Arlett testified.

Later, when asked by assistant district attorney Kevin Chernosky if she was in the habit of signing documents she hadn't read, Ms. Arlett answered, "I was frantic. I trusted the cop. I didn't know what to do."

Mr. Tutera further argued to Judge Manning that his client had just been released from the psychiatric unit at Jefferson Regional Medical Center and was not in the proper mind-set to be interviewed. He was being treated for psychosis and had been released from the hospital just six days earlier.

Mr. Tutera said that his client's mother hired Mr. Joyce and had already paid him to represent her son, including the possibility of representing him in future cases. Further, he said, the police were aware of that and instead showed "disrespect" for his client's rights.

But Judge Manning countered, "Does not the client have to invoke the right to counsel and not the lawyer?"

Mr. Chernosky agreed.

"Those rights are personal to the defendant. Nobody can invoke them on his behalf. As long as you don't invoke that right, the questioning can proceed."

Judge Manning will make his decision on the confession in the coming days.

Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2620 or Twitter: @PaulaReedWard.

Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620. Twitter: @PaulaReedWard. First Published December 3, 2013 1:13 PM

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