Originally created 07/11/98

Evidence deemed admissible in trial



Evidence gathered from William Lumpkin's car, home and office, samples of his blood and hair and a statement he made to police can be used by prosecutors in the former attorney's capital murder trial, a judge ruled Friday.

Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet denied a motion to suppress Mr. Lumpkin's statement to investigators, saying the former attorney was a competent adult who had been read his rights and chose to talk to police. He had not asked to see two attorneys who tried to visit him at the jail, the judge concluded.

"The Defendant never asserted his right or expressed a desire to have counsel present during the questioning or (to) remain silent on Sept. 9 despite repeated opportunities to do so," Judge Overstreet wrote. "The fact that attorneys Joe Neal Sr. and Michael Skeen requested to see Defendant does not become relevant until the Defendant tells law enforcement he wants to see them. This did not happen ..."

Mr. Lumpkin, who has been held without bond since his arrest Sept. 9, 1996, has pleaded innocent to murder in the death of 64-year-old Stan White, a Martinez real estate agent who held the deed to Mr. Lumpkin's home. Mr. White's bound body was found floating in the Savannah River on Sept. 5, 1996.

Judge Overstreet also denied attempts to suppress evidence, which defense attorneys had argued was inadmissible because of the way search warrants were obtained after Mr. White was found.

In a hearing held June 25, the defense argued that sheriff's investigators relied totally on star witness Augustus Williams' testimony to obtain the warrants but never told a judge Mr. Williams was a convicted felon who changed his account of Mr. White's death and tried to sell his story to the tabloid press.