now the Coroner, on the 28th of October performed an autopsy on the body; that due to the advanced state of decomposition he was unable to take a blood sample, nor was he able to determine the cause of death.
'The Government will further offer to show that on the 27th of October one Sterling Hackett, who is an undertaker, licensed undertaker and the director of the Petworth Funeral Home, went to the D.C. Jail, that he was consented to be seen by the defendant Killough, that the defendant Killough executed a so-called mortician's release, the provisions of which are roughly as follows: 'I hereby certify that I am the husband of Goldie Killough, and I authorize the release of her remains to the Petworth Funeral Home.'
'That Mr. Hackett took the release to the morgue and that the body which Doctor MacDonald identified was, in fact, released to Mr. Hackett as the remains of Daisy Killough.
'There will be further testimony, Your Honor, from civilian witnesses, from Doctor Whelton, and from an FBI agent, all relating to the color of the -- of Goldie Killough's hair, and the color of the hair of the corpse, and the fact that hair samples taken from the corpse had been bleached, and this is determined by scientific examination, and that the color of the hair, as observed by the FBI agent, by the Deputy Coroner, and by persons who knew her in her lifetime, the color of the hair was all the same.
'The Government will further offer to show, with reference to the identification of the corpse, that in the trunk of Goldie Killough's car certain spots or stains were observed after her disappearance. These spots or stains were ascertained by the identification division of the FBI to be human blood Type 'A'. * * *.
'The difference between the Coroner's testimony in this case and the Coroner's testimony in the former case is that in the former case, in the oral statement which was admitted against the defendant, that being the statement made on the 26th of October to Lieutenant Daly at the jail, the defendant, among other things, testified that he carried the body out to Jay Street extended and had buried it under a sofa or other debris which was out there.
'Dr. MacDonald's testimony in the former case picked up at that point. In other words, he said 'I went out there to where the defendant said he carried the body.'
'In this case there will not be any evidence at all as to where the defendant carried the body. The Coroner's testimony will merely be that on such and such a date he went to this place and there recovered the body.
'In other words, the link between the defendant's inadmissible statement and the Coroner's testimony which was very much present in the former case, is not presented in quite the same way in this case.'
The four dissenting judges would admit the evidence of the body, while four judges do not state any position, and Judge Wright would suppress all evidence of the body as 'fruit of the poisonous tree.' The four dissenting judges and Judge Wright agree that the appellate court should not pass the question of the admissibility of the Coroner's testimony. The four dissenting judges thought this question should be ruled on since it would inevitably arise in a new trial and the District Court should not be left without guidance on this critical issue. This court agrees and has no difficulty whatsoever in reaching the conclusion that such testimony should be admitted. To say that the evidence concerning the body of the deceased was 'fruit of the poisonous tree' is illogical and unrealistic. Furthermore, this court is of the opinion that the Silverthorne-Nardone exclusion rule has no application here. The Coroner's testimony in no way incriminates the defendant for his testimony is merely evidence that there is a dead body and his testimony in no way connects the defendant with the crime. To hold otherwise would be carrying the Suppression Doctrine beyond its intended extreme. This court cannot go that far for to do so would shatter the reasonable balance that is so necessary between the rights of the individual and the rights and protection of society. Law abiding citizens are entitled to the equal protection of the law. We are well aware that some people do commit crimes; that they do not commit them in the presence of law enforcement officials; that it is the duty of these officials to investigate and to detect crimes and to solve them, in order that the perpetrators may be brought to trial and, if found guilty, be convicted. This court is as jealous of the rights of the accused as any one but it must apply the law impartially, unemotionally, and as it is provided by those who have the responsibility for making the law.
The motion to suppress having been denied, and the court having ruled that the testimony of the Coroner is admissible, this case will be set down for trial.
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