Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tip from Informant Helps Police Arrest Wanted Ninja


In People v. Scott, an anonymous informant called the Riverside Police Department to notify them about David Scott, who was strongly suspected to have been involved in the murder of Brenda Kenny. The informant was Scott’s coworker at the movie theatre and told the police that he saw Scott several times dressed in an all black “ninja” outfit with a sword and a knife— the attire described to have been worn by Kenny’s murderer. The informant also stated that Scott told him he had a dream about killing someone, which closely matched the details of Kenny’s murder that the informant read about in the newspaper.

The police felt the informant was a reliable source who did not have any motive to lie. His phone message to the police led to Scott’s arrest and he was charged with murder in addition to rape and other crimes. While he denied being involved in the “ninja” crimes, he told the second interrogating officer the same dream he relayed to the informant. This was said after waiving his Miranda rights.

Scott’s incriminating dream was introduced at trial where he was convicted and sentenced to death. Scott challenged the admission of his confession because he felt the pre-advisement questioning coerced him into confession. The Court rejected his contention, finding no evidence that showed Scott’s confession was inappropriately influenced by interrogating officers. Transcripts show that his confession was given well after his Miranda rights were stated. His statement was admitted at trial as a voluntary confession. The California Supreme Court affirmed judgment on Scott’s conviction and did not find error during any part of his case.

-Cal.Sup.Ct.; August 11, 2011; S068863