United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division
L. Christensen, Chief Judge
the Court is Defendant Derek Dexter Shoulderblade's
("Shoulderblade") Motion to Suppress (Doc. 16).
Shoulderblade moves the Court to suppress inculpatory
statements he provided during a custodial interview held on
September 19, 2017, based upon his assertion that the
interviewing agents ignored his invocation of his right to
remain silent and continued the interview in violation of
this right. (Id. at 2.) The Government opposes this
Motion. (Doc. 22.) For the following reasons, the Motion will
Shouldberblade has been charged with second degree murder in
violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1153(a), 111. (Doc. 3 at
1-2.) On September 19, 2017, Shoulderblade returned a phone
call to Bureau of Indian Affairs Special Agent John Dodd
("Dodd") which resulted in Shoulderblade reporting
to the police station in Lame Deer, Montana, for a
"conversation" with Dodd and Federal Bureau of
Investigations Special Agent Aaron Christensen
("Christensen"). (Doc. 19 at 2-3.) Because there
was a warrant for Shoulderblade's arrest, the Agents
informed Shoulderblade that he was in custody and, "out
of an overabundance of caution, " explained his rights
and presented him with an Advice of Rights Form.
(Id. at 3-8.) The Advice of Rights form was
described as "a formality" which the Agents needed
Shoulderblade to sign if he was willing to tell the Agents
his "side of the story." (Id. at 7.)
Shoulderblade then waived his rights by signing the form and
was interrogated for nearly an hour and a half.
Agents began by talking to Shoulderblade about his MMA
fighting, his age, family, life, regrets, faith, and honesty.
(Id. at 8-19.) Shoulderblade then began to tell his
story concerning the night in question. (Id. at
19-37.) The Agents then told Shoulderblade that they believed
he was "leaving some stuff out." (Id. at
37.) Shoulderblade attempted to clarify and continued his
story until the Agents pointed out that his story was
inconsistent. (Id. at 37-48.) The Agents then
detailed what effect inconsistencies could have on later
prosecution of Shoulderblade's case, told him that they
were going to "start over, " and expressed their
understanding of the circumstances which could induce someone
to commit a crime before stating that they didn't think
he "meant to kill him." (Id. at 48-53.)
When Shoulderblade asked the Agents what they meant, they
drew his attention to a video camera near the scene of the
crime and told him to "think about the implication of
the fact that there's a video camera .. . [a]nd consider
that Agent Dodd has already told you we don't like to ask
questions that we don't know the answer to."
(Id. at 53.)
Shoulderblade stated that he wanted to see the video, the
Agents told him that they did not have the video.
(Id. at 53-54.) The Agents then asked Shoulderblade
if the video was going to implicate him and whether he and
the victim had an altercation on the night in question.
(Id. at 54.) Shoulderblade replied no.
point, the Agents confronted Shoulderblade with some of the
inconsistencies in his statement and the following exchange
SA DODD: But right now is not a time to protect other people,
right now is the time to be honest. Because like I say, right
now, you know, you're in a good place right now. Okay?
But when you start lying to us, you're not in a good
place, dude. Okay?
DEREK SHOULDERBLADE: Mm-hmm.
SA DODD: Okay. So let's start over from - let's just
forget about this and let's start over from the
beginning. We don't need to do any more maps, we think we
know, but let's start over from the beginning that - that
night. Okay? So let me start asking you some questions then,
DEREK SHOULDERBLADE: No, I don't want to answer any
further questions until I see video.
SA DODD: Well, we don't have the video either. That's
what we were trying to tell - we were -
DEREK SHOULDERBLADE: So are you guys just - SA DODD: - we
were asking you -
DEREK SHOULDERBLADE: - you guys are j ust kind of -
SA DODD: No, no, no, what we're saying -
DEREK SHOULDERBLADE: - putting - you guys are ...