Perry Ricciardi said he was discouraged from contacting an attorney when he was questioned.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Police said they were hoping Perry Ricciardi could give them some information about another suspect in the death of a 12-year-old Youngstown girl when he acknowledged he was there when she died.
"We were still looking for something to tie [Christopher] Garvey with the homicide, and we were hoping to use Ricciardi as a witness," said Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Charles A. Barger.
Ricciardi, 21, is now asking a judge to suppress all of his statements because he says police discouraged him from contacting an attorney when he was questioned.
He along with Garvey, 21, and William Monday, 22, all of Struthers, are being held without bond in the Oct. 8, 2000, stabbing death of Shannon Leigh Kos. All three face charges of criminal homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, criminal conspiracy to commit rape and abuse of a corpse.
Shannon's body was found a few days after her death by a hiker near a railroad crossing in Mahoning Township, Lawrence County.
Ricciardi is the second suspect to ask that statements he made to police be suppressed. Monday was in court last summer seeking to have everything he said to police thrown out. No decision has been made in that matter.
The third suspect, Garvey, made no statements to police, said his attorney, Thomas Leslie.
Hearing: Ricciardi appeared Friday before Common Pleas Court Judge Dominick Motto in an all-day hearing. Only three witnesses were able to take the stand and the matter was continued to Jan. 24 and 25.
Defense Attorney Dennis Elisco has said his client will testify in the matter.
Elisco questioned police about a meeting they had with Ricciardi in the Struthers Police Department on Oct. 14 when he eventually acknowledged being present when Shannon died.
Barger said they initially wanted to question Ricciardi because one of the other suspects said they told him about the murder. He had been questioned earlier that day about a knife he bought from Monday a few days before Shannon's death, Barger said.
Barger said that when he called Ricciardi later that night to set up a meeting at the Struthers Police Department, Ricciardi asked if he needed an attorney.
"I told him he only needed an attorney if he was involved or if he was present when Shannon was killed. There was a long pause and he asked me again if he needed an attorney, and I gave the same response," Barger said.
Ricciardi appeared at the police department about 30 minutes later after getting off work at a nearby lumber yard. Barger, another state police trooper and Struthers detectives Jeff Pantall and Simone Ugolini were present.
Pantall and Ugolini also testified Friday, saying Ricciardi told officers that he visited Monday's house a few days after Shannon died and heard them talking about killing her.
After only a few minutes, Ricciardi said something that alerted state police, Pantall said.
"They asked how did you know that, and he said, 'Because I was there.' He said, 'I took off running as Monday cut her throat,'" Pantall said.
Police then instructed him of his constitutional rights and no more questions were asked, Pantall said.
Again asks: Police officers testified that Ricciardi again asked if he should get an attorney. The interview ended and Ricciardi was driven home by Pantall and two state police officers, they said.
Pantall testified that another Pennsylvania State Police trooper called a Struthers prosecutor and asked if they would supply Ricciardi with a public defender. Pantall said he was told that a public defender would only be supplied of Ricciardi was in police custody or charged.
Ricciardi was charged a few days later.