‘Coerced’ murder confession complicates case against one Bonners Ferry chiropractor accused of killing another

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BONNERS FERRY – The blinds have been closed, Marty Ryan wrote, however he nonetheless had a “damaged view” by them, into the chiropractic examination room the place Brian Drake lay lifeless on the ground from a single gunshot to the again.

Ryan, the assistant chief of the Bonners Ferry Police Division, was peering by the blinds, aided by a light-weight on inside, quickly after two calls got here virtually concurrently into the Boundary County dispatch heart to report what had occurred simply earlier than 7:30 p.m. on March 12, 2020.

The primary name was from a person who had heard a gun go off and had seen a person wearing a hood and darkish clothes leaving the scene, courtroom data say.

The second name was the sufferer’s spouse, Jennifer Drake, who instructed police she’d been on the cellphone together with her husband when he mentioned one thing weird: Somebody had simply shot him by the window. When her husband stopped responding, courtroom data say, she hung up and dialed 911.

Responding officers kicked down the locked door of Drake’s workplace, the place they discovered a single bullet gap by the double-pane glass and the closed blinds of his examination room.

Ryan and different officers labored by that first night time of the investigation, however their work was simply starting.

Six months later, regulation enforcement believed that they had discovered the killer: Daniel Moore, a fellow chiropractor whose workplace was on the identical facet of South Important Avenue and about 500 ft to the north of the little clinic the place Drake labored two days every week.

Moore, who had been working towards on the town for 23 years, reluctantly confessed to the crime throughout an August interview, after asking repeatedly for a lawyer who was not supplied, and instructed investigators he had inadvertently killed Drake whereas making an attempt to scare him by firing a gun by his window.

His motive, he instructed police, was that Drake, who practiced in Sandpoint and Hayden the opposite three days of the week, had taken a few of his sufferers. Investigators decided “over thirty” of Drake’s sufferers “had seen Dr. Moore previously,” courtroom paperwork say, although Moore’s legal professional disputes this declare.

Moore additionally went with regulation enforcement officers to the banks of the close by Kootenai River and threw a rock into the water to point out them the place he supposedly removed the homicide weapon.

The 63-year-old with no prior felony historical past, his legal professional mentioned – not even a rushing ticket, in line with native courtroom data – was jailed on $1 million bond and charged with second-degree homicide.

However the prosecution of Moore fell into doubt final month when a decide dominated that Moore’s rights have been violated, that his confession was coerced and that his request for forgiveness – and all the pieces that adopted in his interview with investigators – needs to be thrown out.

In the meantime, Moore’s protection legal professional has raised a complete host of accusations, insinuations and uncertainties about how the case has been dealt with – and about who could have had a motive to see Drake lifeless.

An preliminary suspect

The night time of Drake’s homicide, Bonners Ferry police and Boundary County Sheriff’s deputies weren’t with out leads.

First, there was the eyewitness who’d referred to as to report what he’d seen from his condominium, throughout what’s each South Important Avenue and U.S. Freeway 95 in Bonners Ferry.

After listening to the gun go off, he instructed the dispatcher he’d referred to as out to the one that fled and that the individual appeared again at him earlier than operating off down Important Avenue.

He later instructed Ryan, the assistant chief, that the suspect gave the impression to be of Indian or Center Jap descent. He additionally described a “suspicious car” that appeared like a “’90s Malibu” and was seen within the space earlier than and after the capturing occurred.

The witness jumped in his automobile to comply with the suspicious individual, who was on foot, he instructed 911. However when he couldn’t monitor down the individual, he returned house to report what he’d seen.

That witness’s girlfriend instructed police she’d seen most of the identical issues.

With that info, Ryan went in quest of surveillance footage.

He discovered a trove of it – and what it confirmed appeared to substantiate what the witnesses had instructed police: A suspicious individual in a black hood was within the neighborhood of the crime scene on the time of the crime, courtroom data say.

The suspect could possibly be seen leaving the Kootenai River Inn close to downtown Bonners Ferry earlier than showing to deliberately keep away from safety cameras, strolling alongside South Important Avenue and returning to the inn, throughout the time of the killing.

Police recognized the suspect, and when the primary witness’s girlfriend glimpsed a photograph of the person, she “exclaimed” that it was the individual she had seen “fleeing from” the crime scene, courtroom data say.

The proof was compelling sufficient for a decide to log out on a collection of search warrants that allowed investigators to comb by the suspect’s lodge room, truck and private possessions, together with his cellphone.

However after finishing their preliminary investigation, regulation enforcement decided the suspect, who was visiting Bonners Ferry, wasn’t concerned within the capturing for causes that aren’t defined in courtroom data.

Proof

With that preliminary suspect crossed off their record, investigators examined different proof, obtained surveillance footage from 18 native companies and carried out greater than 200 interviews, in line with Idaho State Police Det. Sgt. Michael Van Leuven’s Aug. 28 affidavit.

At the moment, half a yr after the killing occurred, Van Leuven wrote, “a number of individuals of curiosity have been checked out and alibis established.”

Finally, although, Van Leuven and his fellow investigators homed in on Moore.

Suspicions about Moore apparently derived from just a few strands of circumstantial proof.

The primary talked about in Van Leuven’s affidavit was a fuel leak at Moore’s chiropractic workplace on March 15, three days after Drake’s homicide.

In response to Van Leuven’s affidavit, Moore’s shut pal – and Boundary County coroner – Mick Mellett noticed Moore’s car parked at his workplace that Sunday morning, thought it was odd, went inside to see what was up, smelled a “sturdy fuel odor indicating a fuel leak” and located his pal “woozy” and getting up from an examination desk.

Mellett introduced Moore outdoors, reported the leak and helped him get to the hospital for remedy.

Later, Moore defined what had occurred to Mellett, saying he’d “been altering a furnace filter, felt woozy and laid down,” Van Leuven’s affidavit says.

However investigators had doubts about that innocuous account.

An Avista fuel skilled who responded to the fuel leak mentioned it was his “opinion that the fuel becoming was deliberately loosened,” whereas the Bonners Ferry fireplace chief reportedly thought the becoming was free in a approach that “was very odd,” the affidavit states.

When Moore was requested how he did not scent the fuel, he reportedly instructed investigators he’d misplaced his sense of scent as a toddler, when his nostril was cauterized to forestall bleeding.

Mellett, the coroner, instructed Van Leuven he didn’t assume Moore was trying suicide, didn’t assume he had something to with Drake’s demise and “didn’t assume Dr. Moore had ever met Dr. Drake,” courtroom paperwork say.

However investigators weren’t shopping for it.

Another excuse to consider Moore killed Drake, in line with Van Leuven, was a declare from an unnamed police supply who had been a affected person of Drake’s.

That affected person reportedly instructed investigators that, a couple of yr earlier than his homicide, Drake “appeared upset and when requested what was mistaken he had mentioned ‘he doesn’t need me up right here’ or ‘they don’t need me up right here.’”

Whereas the affidavit doesn’t elaborate about to whom or what these statements would possibly refer, Van Leuven additionally wrote that affected person recordsdata indicated greater than 30 of Drake’s sufferers had seen Moore beforehand.

Key to investigators’ suspicion was surveillance footage that apparently captured Moore’s truck driving across the proximity of the crime scene.

However Van Leuven acknowledged there was a difficulty with the footage: “Not all time stamps are correct.” And there was one other complicating issue: “The footage in among the clips can’t individually be used to establish Dr. Moore’s (truck).”

The affidavit’s writer claims, although, that “by linking one video to the subsequent within the sequence, every video validates the opposite.”

What that sequence reveals, in line with Van Leuven, is Moore leaving Mellett’s home “simply previous to the capturing,” circling the realm, stopping briefly close to the window by which Drake was shot and parking at his personal close by workplace.

“A human determine is then seen strolling from the route of Dr. Moore’s workplace towards Dr. Drake’s workplace one and a half minutes earlier than the capturing happens,” Van Leuven wrote. “A human determine is then seen strolling (towards) after which again from the realm of Dr. Drake’s workplace towards Dr. Moore’s workplace one and (a) half minutes after the capturing.”

Quickly after, Moore’s truck is seen driving again to Mellett’s home.

When questioned by police, Moore instructed them he was at Mellett’s house for a lot of the night time of the homicide. In reality, Moore mentioned, he was “with Mellett when the decision got here in in regards to the capturing,” which Mellett responded to in his official capability, helping on the crime scene.

However investigators instructed there was a gap in Moore’s alibi.

When Van Leuven requested him if he was at Mellett’s home at 7 p.m., a couple of half-hour earlier than the killing, Moore mentioned he “didn’t know as a result of he later turned ailing with kidney stones and had diarrhea and left Mellett’s home to go to his workplace to search for drugs. …”

Mellett, nonetheless, was sure Moore was with him on the time of the capturing, in line with Van Leuven’s affidavit.

“Mellett mentioned Dr. Moore arrived at his home no later than 6:15 p.m. and didn’t go away till after he heard in regards to the capturing on his pager,” Van Leuven wrote. “Mellett mentioned he was very positive in regards to the instances.”

Even when “pressed … about giving Dr. Moore an alibi,” Van Leuven wrote, Mellett mentioned he was “completely constructive.”

“Mellett’s demeanor all through the interview was calm and relaxed,” Van Leuven wrote. “His solutions appeared real and logical.”

A confession

With that info in hand and warrants being served on a lot of his properties, investigators requested Moore to go to the Boundary County Sheriff’s Workplace Annex on Aug. 27 and to convey with him a small-caliber gun he’d purchased for his spouse.

Police knew that gun wasn’t the homicide weapon, however quickly after Moore handed it over, investigators took him to what they referred to as a “safe space,” the place Van Leuven instructed Moore they suspected he’d killed Drake.

Moore denied the accusation, however Van Leuven once more instructed Moore he was the individual accountable and requested him to elucidate his intent.

“Effectively, I didn’t shoot him and I’m sorry however that’s what it’s,” Moore replied, “so I suppose for those who’re going to do this I must get an legal professional.”

At that, Van Leuven and one other ISP detective closed their notebooks. Van Leuven then instructed Moore he was “going to terminate this interview” and left the room along with his fellow ISP officer.

He later testified that he did so as a result of it “sounded to me like he requested for a lawyer.”

However over the subsequent 45 minutes, courtroom data say, whereas Moore remained within the safe space, Van Leuven replayed the interview and spoke with different officers, together with Ryan, the native assistant police chief, about Moore’s request for an legal professional.

Finally, they determined Moore’s assertion “was not clear” and determined to proceed interviewing him with out offering him an legal professional, courtroom data say.

This time, although, Ryan questioned Moore.

Ryan appealed to their shared neighborhood connections and raised the chance the capturing wasn’t intentional.

In response, Moore continued to insist he was not solely harmless, however that he didn’t even know Drake.

And he defined his presence on safety footage across the time of capturing with an uncommon story: He had a “abdomen ache” and was unable to discover a toilet, so “he parked within the alleyway adjoining to Drake’s workplace and defecated within the alley, simply because the capturing was occurring,” courtroom paperwork say.

Ryan expressed disbelief and continued to press him.

In response, Moore mentioned, “I would like to speak to an legal professional then.”

When that request went unheeded, Moore continued to ask for an legal professional – “I feel I would like to speak to an legal professional”; “I need to have the ability to discuss to someone who can provide me my authorized rights” – however Ryan continued to enchantment for Moore to be sincere and confess, lest regulation enforcement conclude the killing was premeditated.

Lastly, one hour, 40 minutes after his interview with police started, Moore instructed Ryan he had killed Drake.

In a report Ryan filed the day after his interview with Moore, the assistant chief acknowledged Moore was “reluctant at first” however finally gave an in depth, if considerably unsure, account of how he killed Drake – and why.

Moore described loading a revolver, although he couldn’t recall its make or mannequin. He described firing the gun from outdoors the window of Drake’s workplace, although he instructed he couldn’t truly see the sufferer and “didn’t truly know Drake was sitting on the opposite facet of the window,” in line with Ryan’s report.

When requested why he did it, Moore instructed Ryan he wished to “scare” Drake.

“He thought having a shot fired at him would encourage him (Drake) to shut down his workplace and transfer away,” Ryan wrote. “Moore rambled a bit about how Drake had a number of places of work and, in a way, didn’t have to be right here in Bonners Ferry.”

Early the subsequent morning, Moore mentioned, he drove to a ship ramp and threw the gun within the Kootenai River.

He additionally mentioned, just a few days later, he staged a fuel leak “with the intent of committing suicide.”

Casting doubt

However the gun Moore mentioned he threw within the river has by no means been discovered, and Moore’s lawyer, a former federal prosecutor named Jill Bolton, has argued the investigation and prosecution of her shopper have been badly flawed.

Instantly after taking the case, Bolton reproached investigators for what she referred to as her shopper’s “alleged ‘confession,’ ” which she mentioned was “made after a chronic custodial interrogation carried out in circumstances which violated Dr. Moore’s constitutional rights, together with questioning him after he requested for counsel and subjecting him to custodial interrogation with out having first learn him his Miranda rights.”

She additionally requested Moore briefly be launched to obtain an analysis because of a “head harm which rendered him unconscious” the night time earlier than his “coerced and false confession.”

That request was granted, however two weeks later, Bolton blasted Boundary County chief deputy prosecutor Tevis Hull in courtroom filings.

“(T)he state has failed to provide not solely the obvious materials essential to the preparation of the protection on this matter, however important quantities of exculpatory materials the State is aware of exists which implicates different suspects within the fee of the crime exculpates Dr. Moore,” Bolton wrote.

Among the many supplies not supplied, in line with Bolton, have been such basic items of proof as a recording of Moore’s confession, search warrants, witness statements and investigative reviews.

She mentioned the “remarkably poor” sharing of proof “signifies at finest complacency” and “at worst, an effort to hinder the supply of this vital proof.”

She additionally started to query the energy of the proof in opposition to her shopper, even alluding to “potential regulation enforcement perjury.”

Bolton argued the “assortment of personal safety digicam footage suggesting Dr. Moore’s” truck was close to the homicide scene was “hardly noteworthy,” contemplating his clinic was additionally within the neighborhood of the homicide scene.

As for the timing of the footage, which police positioned simply earlier than and after Drake’s killing, Bolton argued it was “unsure, because the timestamps on the varied video analyzed are mutually inconsistent. …”

“A further deficiency within the State’s proof,” Bolton wrote, “is their incapacity to establish Dr. Moore personally in any of the footage.”

The 2 eyewitnesses interviewed by police additionally couldn’t finger Moore. In response to Van Leuven’s personal Aug. 28 affidavit, they have been “proven a number of photographic lineups, together with one which contained a photograph of suspect Moore, however didn’t establish any particular person with certainty.”

Bolton additionally wrote that the investigation’s give attention to digicam footage “seems to have been carried out on the expense of inquiries into exculpatory proof.”

Amongst that exculpatory proof, Bolton mentioned, was the unique eye witness account of a hooded one who gave the impression to be “of Center Jap or Indian descent, qualities inconsistent with Dr. Moore’s bodily look.”

There was additionally the opposite eye witness’s identification of {a photograph} of the unique suspect because the individual she’d seen fleeing the crime scene.

Past these doubts in regards to the circumstantial proof, Bolton argued the prosecution had offered no bodily proof linking Moore to Drake’s homicide.

“Reasonably, the State of Idaho’s case in opposition to Dr. Moore rests virtually completely upon the alleged confession obtained by regulation enforcement on August 27, 2020,” she wrote.

Bolton argued his “unconstitutionally procured ‘confession’ ” needs to be suppressed, “additional diminishing the state’s proof of their case in opposition to him.

“A further issue indicating the weak point of the State’s case in opposition to Dr. Moore,” Bolton wrote, “is investigating regulation enforcement’s obvious willingness to commit perjury to safe a conviction.”

In response to Bolton, this alleged perjury occurred when Van Leuven ignored the proof that undermined the case in opposition to Moore in his affidavit for a search warrant of Moore’s property.

“Regulation enforcement’s willingness to omit exculpatory info from an affidavit enough to render the ensuing warrant invalid means that this was investigated with a level of unprofessionalism and disrespect for the necessities of the regulation that render extra constitutional violations seemingly,” Bolton wrote.

In an emailed response to a request for remark about Bolton’s criticisms of the investigation, Bonners Ferry Police Chief Brian Zimmerman wrote, “I’d like to unload many frustrations however something referring to the Drake case has to return from the Prosecutor’s workplace at this level. I couldn’t be extra thrilled with Ryan’s efficiency right here on the PD.”

“For the reason that case remains to be beneath investigation,” Zimmerman continued, “I can’t touch upon something about it till it’s over however simply because Jill Bolton raised questions on something, doesn’t make it truth. She is simply doing her job.”

A number of makes an attempt to succeed in Hull, the prosecutor, for remark have been unsuccessful.

‘Police coercion’

In a ruling final month, District Court docket Choose Barbara Buchanan gave credence to Bolton’s complaints about how investigators – and Ryan specifically – dealt with their questioning of Moore.

In a February ruling, Buchanan criticized what she described as Ryan’s “sample of badgering and overreaching.”

Buchanan wrote that even the request for Moore to return to the Boundary County Sheriff’s Workplace Annex on Aug. 27 was based mostly on a “ruse,” as investigators requested him to return instantly with a gun that they already knew wasn’t concerned within the killing.

And she or he faulted Ryan for “feign(ing) ignorance” about Moore’s repeated requests for an legal professional.

“Additionally, all through the course of the interview,” Buchanan wrote, “police not solely work to persuade Moore that he has not made a transparent request for an legal professional, in addition they repeatedly inform him that if he doesn’t confess, they are going to infer premeditation on his half and he will probably be booked for first diploma homicide.”

“The Court docket additional finds,” Buchanan added, “that Moore’s subsequent confession was not voluntary, however quite, was the product of police coercion.”

And “as a result of the police violated Moore’s due course of rights by eliciting a confession by participating in coercive police conduct,” Buchanan threw out “any and all incriminating statements made by Moore” after his preliminary request for a lawyer.

Prosecutors requested the courtroom to rethink its choice in courtroom filings final week.

Claims and counterclaims

With the confession suppressed and a possible homicide weapon nonetheless unidentified, Moore’s legal professional is adamant about her shopper’s innocence and assured he’ll go free.

“I feel the state has a really weak case, and I used to be fairly stunned that they introduced it within the first place,” Bolton instructed The Spokesman-Evaluation.

“I can’t think about that they might proceed on the proof – or lack thereof – that they’ve presently,” she mentioned.

She argues the motive attributed to Moore for Drake’s killings is “ridiculous and preposterous,” as his chiropractic enterprise was “doing fairly nicely.”

And she or he says his truck’s presence on surveillance close to the crime scene is “fairly irrelevant,” as there have been “a whole lot of autos” captured on footage.

As for the concept her shopper tried suicide, Bolton mentioned it’s “full nonsense” and that the workers at Moore’s workplace was additionally “affected by complications and the scent of fuel” on the time.

However Bolton hasn’t simply argued that her shopper didn’t do the crime.

She has additionally instructed different individuals could have had motives to kill Brian Drake – and that investigative shortcomings imply the true killer is free.

“What’s obtrusive about what they’ve disclosed is what they haven’t appeared into,” Bolton mentioned.

When Jennifer Drake sued Daniel Moore and his spouse for wrongful demise in her husband’s killing, Bolton responded with a counterclaim that implicated Jennifer Drake in her personal husband’s demise.

The counterclaim reads, “On the time of Brian Drake’s demise, as Plaintiff (Jennifer Drake) nicely knew, there have been a number of individuals, together with herself, with a motive to kill Brian Drake, but Plaintiff continued for her monetary, pecuniary and different egocentric motives to create a publicly false persona of herself and her late husband.”

Bolton’s submitting goes on to say that Jennifer Drake obtained a “million-dollar life insurance coverage coverage … previous to Brian Drake’s homicide, payable to her upon his demise.”

Reasonably than a “good Christian and household man,” the counterclaims states, “Brian Drake was a philanderer, hooked on pornography and had sexually abused her (Jennifer Drake) and different ladies.”

Amongst these abused, in line with the counterclaim, have been Drake’s “personal sufferers.” He additionally “engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct with members of his skilled workers with whom he labored and certain had extra-marital affairs,” the submitting states.

In response, Jennifer Drake’s attorneys referred to as the allegations in Bolton’s counterclaims “libelous, fabricated and malicious falsifications of fact” and accused Moore of constructing them in a “cowardly” try and “humiliate and disgrace Jennifer Drake and her kids and trigger additional emotional hurt to a grieving household.”

Additionally they requested Choose Buchanan to seal Bolton’s counterclaim.

Buchanan agreed, however not earlier than allegations from the unique declare have been reported in native information publications. Buchanan argued it accommodates “extremely intimate information or statements” that “can be extremely objectionable to an affordable individual,” that “is perhaps libelous,” and which will result in monetary insecurity for the Drake household. Finally, Buchanan allowed the counterclaim to be stored public within the courtroom report, albeit with the entire claims about Drake and his spouse redacted.

Requested whether or not she stood behind the now-redacted parts of the counterclaim, Bolton mentioned, “There wouldn’t be something I’d file in courtroom if I didn’t have the factual foundation to assist it.”

‘Whodunnit’ idea

Seated with a pal within the nook of a Coeur d’Alene espresso store on a latest morning and infrequently tearing up, Jennifer Drake remembered her husband as a “mild soul” who taught their kids guitar and coached their soccer groups.

“He was a really variety and honorable man,” mentioned the 46-year-old mom of 4. “God took his flaws and his failures, and turned it into an ideal story of grace. He was my kids’s hero. He nonetheless is my kids’s hero.”

The household spent a couple of decade in Austin, Texas, she mentioned, earlier than deciding to “get out of the massive metropolis” and transfer nearer to Jennifer’s household and to the mountains in 2012.

Two years after arriving in North Idaho, in 2014, she recalled, her husband struck out on his personal, opening his workplace in Bonners Ferry, the place he initially labored simply sooner or later every week.

As enterprise elevated, he added a second day in Bonners Ferry and likewise opened places of work in Sandpoint and Hayden, the place the household lives.

Over these six years working towards in Bonners Ferry, Jennifer Drake mentioned she by no means heard her husband point out Moore, who posted $500,000 bail in October and who has returned to his clinic and his sufferers on South Important Avenue.

And she or he was adamant that her husband “did nothing mistaken. He’s utterly harmless.”

In any other case, although, she shunned talking additional about her husband’s homicide or the continued case in opposition to Moore.

Bolton, although, has sought to compel Jennifer Drake – and others concerned within the case – to share extra, beneath what’s often known as Idaho Prison Rule 17.

In January, she subpoenaed Ryan, Van Leuven, the Bonners Ferry Police Division and Idaho State Police to provide all data pertaining to the investigation of Brian Drake.

She additionally subpoenaed the Coronary heart of the Metropolis Church in Coeur d’Alene in search of data pertaining to monetary help to the Drakes, their household remedy and counseling periods, complaints in opposition to the Drakes, and data of discussions associated to “Dr. Drake’s pornography habit, infidelity, alcoholism or his proclivity for sexual battery.”

Jennifer Drake, too, was subpoenaed to testify.

Earlier this month, her attorneys requested the courtroom to quash that request, arguing it was “unreasonable and oppressive.”

“Digging by Jennifer Drake’s private life to discover a minuscule fraction of assist for (Moore’s) baseless and defamatory ‘whodunnit’ idea and to level the finger at Jennifer is nicely outdoors the bounds of what Rule 17 permits,” her legal professional wrote.

“The very objective of subpoenaing the requested paperwork is to trigger additional hurt and harm to Jennifer, to revictimize her, and to abuse the felony justice course of within the title of declaring Defendant Moore’s ‘innocence,’ ” Drake’s legal professional continued.

The courtroom is scheduled to think about the movement to quash the subpoena on March 31.

On the identical day, it should contemplate the prosecutor’s request to rethink the suppression of Moore’s confession, and the protection’s request to maneuver the trial from Boundary County to Kootenai County.

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