17-year-old Chastinea Reeves pleaded guilty to stabbing her own mother over 60 times. The girl was given a 45-year sentence for the slaying. Her mother, Jamie Garnett was found dead in her home. Reeves was 15 at the time of the murder and she was charged as an adult. The plea avoided the trial and a potential sentence of 65 years in prison had she been convicted of the murder. If she serves the full term, she will be 62 years old when she is released.
The state’s case appeared to the defense to be rock solid. The prosecution had the murder weapon with the victim’s blood on it and what they described as a “perfect” fingerprint. They also had two witnesses who were given plea deals and were willing to testify against Reeves at the trial.
Amber Alert Used to Apprehend Reeves
One of the main stumbling blocks for the state was the apparent use of an Amber Alert to apprehend Reeves. Authorities issued the alert after the murder and claimed that they were concerned with Reeves’ welfare. However, the Amber Alert led to a tip that Reeves had been spotted and ultimately led to her arrest.
The defense attempted to suppress evidence related to what they called the illegal use of the Amber Alert, but that request was denied by the magistrate. The Amber Alert indicated that “Chastinea” was in “extreme danger” and that it was “urgent” that she be located in order to “keep her safe from harm.” The defense claimed that the use of an Amber Alert to apprehend a suspect in a murder was fraudulent. They maintained that since Reeves had not been abducted, the Amber Alert should never have been used.
In fact, this was actually a very smart play by local authorities. Individuals will seldom report criminal activities to the police but they will almost always report lost or abducted children. In this case, that deception proved fruitful. Reeves was found walking alone in Gary and apprehended quickly.
The motion to suppress the evidence was a long shot, however. While the use of the Amber Alert was ethically questionable, the apprehension of Reeves did not materially affect the prosecution’s case against her. Since the defense could not establish that the “fraudulent” use of the Amber Alert resulted in any material evidence that should be thrown out of the lawsuit, the motion was denied. Out of options, the defense negotiated the best deal they could.
The defense would have needed to prove that the Amber Alert violated at least one of the defendant’s constitutional rights. It’s still unclear as to what evidence would have been suppressed had the defense won the motion and the prosecution still had witness testimony against Reeves.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are charged with a serious crime, you need top-quality representation to avoid being railroaded by a sloppy prosecution, unconvincing material evidence, or witnesses who are less than credible. Talk to a David Freidberg, Attorney at Law today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin preparing your defense.
(image courtesy of Robert Hickerson)