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Court of Special Appeals: Shaffer volunteered statements to police, paramedic

February 7th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

The Cumberland Times News reports Megan Shaffer was not interrogated, and she volunteered several versions of how Alexander Stevens died, according to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. That opinion, filed Wednesday, affirms a 2018 ruling by Garrett County Administrative Judge Raymond Strubin, which rejected Shaffer’s arguments that statements she gave to a paramedic, and during a police investigation, should have been suppressed for her murder trial because they resulted from improper inducements. Shaffer, formerly of Ridgeley, West Virginia, was 21 years old in March 2018 when a 12-member jury at Garrett County Circuit Court found her guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Stevens, 24, of Frostburg. On Jan. 4, 2017, Stevens was found dead, naked and with his throat slashed at the bottom of a cliff known as High Rock within the Savage River State Forest in Garrett County near Pine Swamp Road.

Maryland law governs when an opinion should be reported. Reported opinions may serve as a precedent. An unreported opinion won’t be published in law books and can’t be used as a case precedent.

“On appeal, Shaffer asks us to consider whether the circuit court erred in denying her motion to suppress four statements that she made during the investigation of the matter,” the COSA opinion states.

“Between January 4 and January 6, 2017, Shaffer, following Miranda advisements and the waiver of her rights, gave three recorded statements to Maryland State Police Sergeant Jonathan Martin, Master Trooper Eric Schramm, and Master Trooper Andrew Mason. All three interviews were conducted at the hospital where Shaffer was being treated,” the opinion states. “Although hypothermic, Shaffer did not suffer from any head or brain injuries, and medical personnel determined it was acceptable for police to speak with her.”

Shaffer produced no "objective evidence," such as hospital staff members or written policy manuals at the suppression hearing to support her claim.

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