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Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2012, 10:50 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 23 May 2012, 10:50 PM EDT
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - The state’s Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled Anthony Baye's confession cannot be used as evidence against him.
Monday’s ruling hampers the prosecution’s case against the man believed responsible for setting 15 fires and the deaths of 2 people.
It all happened two days after Christmas, during an ill-fated early morning, when prosecutors say one man set 15 fires in less than two hours.
It was a chilly December night many in the city still remember. “I was shocked and it was terrible and worried about the people in ward 3,” said Joseph Misterka in Northampton Wednesday afternoon.
The man accused is 27-year-old Anthony Baye. Court records show he confessed to his crimes on January 4, 2010, eight days after the fires. It was a confession slated to be used during his trial, but on Monday the state's highest court threw out the confession saying police mislead Baye.
“I agree with the ruling, that his confession should be not permitted but I still think he should pay the price for what he did,” said Lloyd Williams of Southampton.
The SJC’s decision reversed a Superior Court Judge’s decision to allow the confession as evidence. The declaration of the indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on February 23, 2010, found the state troopers who interrogated Baye exaggerated the strength of evidence against the defendant. And during a 10-hour interrogation, the troopers “mischaracterized the law of murder.”
The video recording of the interrogation found the officers explicitly advised the defendant that he was free to leave; but a moment later was read his Miranda rights.
Baye’s defense lawyer challenged the certain tactics employed by interrogators calling them forceful. “I don't think they had the right to grab him up the way they did and accuse him of this necessarily, I'm not saying whether he's guilty or not, I don't know,” said Scott Williams of Southampton.
Baye faces more than 40 charges including two counts of murder and obstruction of justice.
In a statement, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan said he was disappointed, however respected, the ruling; citing there is “sufficient evidence apart from the confessions to continue with the prosecution.”