Motion to suppress cellphone evidence denied in Wiley murder case

Travis Wiley

Travis Wiley

QUINCY — A motion to suppress evidence obtained from a cellphone was denied by Judge Bob Adrian during a hearing Thursday morning in the first-degree murder case for Travis Wiley in Adams County Circuit Court.

A pretrial hearing for Wiley’s case has been set for Oct. 18, with jury selection set to begin Oct. 25. 

Wiley, 33, faces three counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery in the Jan. 22, 2018, death of an infant girl. He is accused of shaking the infant on Jan. 20, 2018, and she died two days later at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. 

Wiley was arrested June 20, 2018. He continues to be held in the Adams County Jail on $5 million bond.

Ryan Parker, Wiley’s attorney, called three witnesses during the hour-long hearing in an attempt to show Wiley’s phone was illegally taken from him during an interview with the Quincy Police Department on Jan. 20, 2018, and his request four days later to withdraw his consent to allow a QPD detective to search his phone was illegally denied.

Det. Kevin Taute with the Quincy Police Department testified he met Wiley for the first time at about 5 p.m. on Jan. 20 at 718 Kentucky in response to an “abuse situation with a potential pending death.” Taute asked Wiley to turn off his cell phone and give it to him.

Wiley was then transported by a police vehicle to an interview room at the police department about two hours later and interviewed. Taute explained it was department policy for people being transported in a police vehicle not to be allowed to be in possession of a phone. 

During a break when Wiley smoked a cigarette in the garage, Taute said he discussed with Wiley about signing a consent waiver allowing for the police department to search his phone. When they went back inside, Wiley signed the waiver. He also wrote the passcode to unlock his phone on the waiver.

“(Wiley) told me he was reluctant to allow us to keep the phone but not for us to review the phone,” Taute said. “He was concerned about wanting contact information from the phone.”

Parker asked, “Did you tell him that no matter whether he signed (the waiver) or not, he isn’t getting the phone back?” Taute replied, “That’s correct.”

Three days later, Taute was in St. Louis consulting with doctors on the autopsy. He was contacted by phone at about 1 p.m. by Melissa Oenning, an acquaintance of Wiley’s.

“She said Travis wanted his phone back. I told her I would speak about it with him on the following morning,” Taute said. 

Taute met on Jan. 24 with Wiley, who attempted to revoke his consent to the phone search. He told Wiley he would not release the phone.

Det. Nick Eddy completed an extraction of the data on the phone on Jan. 23, finishing at about 10:50 a.m. He compiled a report of the information discovered and finished that at 3:39 p.m. When Josh Jones, lead trial attorney for the Adams County state’s attorney’s office, asked Eddy if Taute had inquired about when the report would be finished, Eddy replied he had not.

Wiley then took the stand. When Parker asked about the conversation with Taute about relinquishing the cell phone, Wiley replied, “Well, I don’t know it verbatim, but I do know that I felt a little forced into.”

When he asked why he felt that way, Wiley said, “Because I felt like (Taute) was already judging me for … just under scrutiny in general.”

He said he wanted his phone back because “it’s my lifeline to have contact with family and people I usually contact.” He asked Oenning to go to the police department to retrieve his phone so he didn’t have to buy another phone.

Wiley claimed he asked Taute if he could get the phone back.

“One thing that stuck out that I remember (Taute) saying was I would need a court order to retrieve my phone,” Wiley said. “And I didn’t know how to go about doing something like that.”

Jones read the waiver, “Quincy Police Department Voluntary Consent to Search Waivered Cell Phones, PDAs and Tablets,” signed by Wiley. He noted Wiley could have signed the waiver but not given the password to unlock the phone. 

Parker noted the waiver was signed after Taute tells Wiley he won’t get the phone back. 

“Whether he signs it or not. I think that places Mr. Wiley in the situation of duress,” Parker said. “He feels powerless under the situation. He’s not going to get the phone back one way or the other, so he might as well sign it.”

Jones believed Taute had probable cause to confiscate the phone. 

“There was information that the defendant was the caregiver of the child at the time the child had the medical emergency, and he didn’t call 911 but instead called the child’s mother,” Jones said. “The cell phone would likely have that evidence on it. It could be relevant to the case. It’s the definition of probable cause.”

Jones also noted Oenning only wanted the phone back and did not want to revoke Wiley’s consent.

Adrian agreed Taute had a right to seize the phone because of potential evidence on the phone. Adrian did not believe Wiley was coerced into signing the waiver.

“He never said, I want to revoke my consent,’” the judge said. “He simply said, ‘I want my phone back.’ By the time Mr. Wiley wanted the phone back, it was already searched and discovered that there was evidence on the phone.”

Jones agreed to requests from Parker to exclude drug evidence and a prior misdemeanor conviction from Missouri in the case. A ruling on a motion to exclude photographs was delayed. 

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