Judge rules against suppressing evidence in the Jacob LaRosa murder case

Staff report


The judge in the Jacob LaRosa aggravated-murder case has denied LaRosa’s attempt to suppress evidence obtained by police March 31, 2015, the day LaRosa is accused of killing his elderly neighbor in her home in Niles.

LaRosa, 18, goes on trial Feb. 12 before Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. In addition to aggravated murder, LaRosa is charged with aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and attempted rape in the killing of Marie Belcastro, 94.

Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court issued a ruling Thursday allowing all evidence Niles police obtained at LaRosa’s house, at the hospital where he went after being arrested and from statements LaRosa made while being guarded by police.

Niles police officers testified to collecting a long, black hair from the cot on which Larosa sat at the hospital, obtaining a towel with blood on it at the hospital and hearing LaRosa say, “They are going to kill me for this” while in police custody.

LaRosa, then 15, appeared to be intoxicated, the judge said in his ruling.

But when police first encountered LaRosa at his home on Lafayette Avenue in Niles and in the hours after that, police had a right to listen to the remarks LaRosa blurted out and document them for use at LaRosa’s trial, the judge said.

None of the remarks LaRosa made were obtained during a “custodial interrogation,” so they are not subject to the protections offered by the well-known ruling in Miranda vs. Arizona, the judge said.

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