Police Interview At Issue in Murder Case

A man accused of firing a shot that killed a Salina teen last spring was back in court Thursday afternoon.

Saline County District Court Judge Renee Young ruled on multiple pretrial motions for 22-year-old Macio Palacio Jr., who is scheduled to go on trial May 9th in connection with the shooting death of 17-year-old Allie Saum.

After watching a video of a police interrogation that lasted a little over a half-hour, Judge Young did not immediately rule on the most crucial motion, whether or not to allow the video to be admitted as evidence during the trial. In the video, Palacio admits to firing six shots, one of which hit and killed Saum.

At issue is a portion of the video, about midway through it. After previously having waived his right to having an attorney present while questioning, Palacio indicated that he wanted an attorney. The two questioning officers began to get up, told Palacio they would walk him over to the jail, and asked him if he had any previous felony convictions. He indicated that he did, but then asked to the officers to sit back down because he wanted to continue talking with them. Palacio indicated that he wanted to continue talking, even without an attorney.

The defense argues that when the officers asked Palacio if he had any prior felony convictions, after he said that wanted an attorney, that he was coerced into continuing and his Miranda rights were violated.

The prosecution contends, though, that the question was not asked in an effort to coerce Palacio. Rather, the officers were simply preparing to take him to jail, and asked the question for charging purposes. If he did have any previous felony convictions an additional charge of felon in possession of a firearm could be requested.

Judge Young said that she will announce on March 25th her decision on whether or not the interview can be used during the trial.

Allie Saum was shot and killed on May 6th in what prosecutors allege was a case of mistaken identity. During a preliminary hearing they presented evidence showing that the shooting was prompted by a fight earlier in the evening. A group of people went out to seek revenge. One of them mistakenly identified a pickup that was driving by as being involved in the fight. Shots were fired at the truck as it drove eastbound in the 500 block of Russell. Saum was a passenger in the truck, and was hit in the head.

The defendants in the case include:

The defendants in the case include:

  • 22-year-old Macio Palacio
  • 19-year-old Jerome Forbes
  • 20-year-old Daniel Sims
  • 18-year-old Stephen Gentry
  • 18-year-old Andrew Woodring

All five will face the same charges at trial, which include:

  • 1st degree murder
  • attempted 1st degree murder
  • shooting at an occupied vehicle
  • conspiracy to commit aggravated battery

Additionally, Woodring faces an obstruction charge.

Each trial will be held separately. Gentry is scheduled to stand trial first, followed by Woodring, and then Palacio. The other defendants trials will follow.

A sixth defendant is also accused in the case, 21-year-old Azucena Garcia-Ferniza. She is facing an obstruction charge, accused of trying to hide the gun that was used in the shooting.

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