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Interviews Can Be Used; Trial Not Moved

KSAL Staff - July 29, 2015 5:16 pm

A 21-year-old man has pleaded no contest to a murder charge in the 2014 death of a Pittsburg State student.

A 21-year-old man has pleaded no contest to a murder charge in the 2014 death of a Pittsburg State student.

Interviews conducted by law enforcement can be used as evidence, and the trial will not be moved to a different location in the case involving a teenage girl accused of stabbing her sister to death at their rural Saline County home.

Judge Patrick Thompson made the rulings late Wednesday afternoon at the conclusion of two days of court proceedings that included watching the interviews, nearly 4 total hours in length

The case involves the stabbing death of a 13-year-old Galazia Niehaus. Her 15-year-old sister Sierra, who was 14-years-old at the time, is accused in the case.

Defense attorney Julie Effenbeck argued several points in asking for the interviews, which were conducted shortly after the crime, to be suppressed. She pointed out that among other things, Sierra was confined to a small room the entire time, for over 16 hours. Effenbeck also argued that officers told Sierra things that were not true in an attempt to coax a confession.

Thompson said that there was nothing unreasonable that happened, and that given the circumstances there was no alternative to keeping Sierra confined in the small room.

Effenbeck also requested that the trial be moved to a different location, citing publicity. The Saline County Attorney’s Office said that the request is a little premature, and would be better served to be taken up when potential jurors are questioned. The judge agreed.

Previously, back in April, Judge Thompson had ruled that Sierra would be prosecuted as an adult.

The Saline County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the stabbing at about 1:45 in the morning on Friday, August 1st, 2014. When deputies arrived at the scene in Northwest Saline County they found the body of Galazia, who had been stabbed to death.

Sierra is being held in the Saline County Jail on a million dollar bond.

A trial date of September was initially set, but realistically a date of mid-October is anticipated in the case.

Copyright © Salina Media Group, 2015.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this story or website may be reproduced without Salina Media Group’s express consent.

Doug Clemens

July 30, 2015 at 10:00 am

Sorry but law enforcement should not be able to lie to people and if they do they should be held accountable and any case tossed out. This sheriff’s department which was very good until this sheriff took over is now a disgrace. I feel sorry for the good people working there that have to put up with this very questionable sheriff who had a questionable career with the Salina PD. Any 14 year old has the immediate right to have a parent or legal representation present to represent them prior to any questioning. A 14 year old would not know how to contact legal representation or even have the funds to do so. The judge once again as erred again and one wonders if there is more to his decisions than meets the eye? I believe her rights have been violated and I hope I get called for jury duty or others who agree with my statement do.

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