Judge hears debate over killer's confession

Shaffer pleading guilty in Tennessee court.
Shaffer pleading guilty in Tennessee court.

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A judge will soon rule on the use of a confession in the case against a mass murderer.

Shaffer is charged with the capital murder of Sidney Dempsey.

It happened in Huntsville in 2009.

That same day Shaffer killed five members of his estranged wife's family in Tennessee.

He pleaded guilty to those murders but won't stand trial in Huntsville until October.

The defense said Shaffer wasn't read his rights, and requests for an attorney were ignored, but prosecutors argue he definitely was given his rights.

The Lincoln County deputy who first arrived at the crime since in Tennessee gave testimony Tuesday and so did the lead investigator for Madison County.

The defense argued Shaffer was put in cuffs and in the back of the patrol car without being read his rights.

The Lincoln County deputy on the stand admitted he did not read him his rights, only because he was not interrogating Shaffer.

His job was only to secure the crime scene and Shaffer.

The agent that did interrogate Shaffer was with the TBI, and the state said that agent did read him his rights, and so did the investigators from Madison County. That was made clear from audio tapes the judge listened to on Tuesday.

But the defense said before the TBI agent handed the case over  to Madison County investigators, Shaffer had already asked for an attorney.

The lead investigator said on the stand that message did not get relayed until two days after they spoke to Shaffer.

Now, the defense wants the judge to toss out his confession over that reason.

The judge will review the audio tapes again and rule by the end of the week.

Prosecutors said when you have a confession to killing six people, there's no way they would jeopardize that.

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