Defense team wants judge to suppress statements in Lyon sisters murder case

Lloyd Welch Jr.
Lloyd Welch Jr. (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

BEDFORD (WSLS 10) - On Tuesday, Lloyd Welch, the man charged in connection to the kidnapping and murder of Katherine and Sheila Lyon, appeared in a Bedford County courtroom. Welch's defense team set forth a list of motions covering topics such as jury selection and the death penalty.

The Lyon sisters disappeared from a Maryland shopping mall 40 years ago. Welch currently faces the death penalty in regards to the case. A key part of Tuesday's hearing focused on whether the death penalty should be on the table. The defense argued it would be unconstitutional; however, Judge James Updike denied the motion and refused to declare it cruel and unusual punishment.

The defense plans to address the constitutionality of the death penalty at a hearing set for January 24, 2017.

Lawyers for Lloyd Welch also asked the judge to eliminate the word "victim" during the trial. They stated that the term may cause prejudice toward their client. Updike denied the request and encouraged both sides to use the girl's name's, Katherine and Sheila.

During the motions hearing, lawyers presented videos of officers interviewing Welch. The interrogations happened on three occasions in 2015, January 28, May 12 and July 14.

In the video Welch is heard saying to investigators "I believe I need a lawyer" and "I'm taking the fifth". He also tells detectives he is protecting himself and doesn't want to be charged with something he didn't do. The defense said the statements were taken in violation of Welch's rights and should be suppressed; however, the state argued that Welch was "well versed" on his rights and the statements made during the interrogation should be allowed in court.

Another motion to be considered is in regards to whether an immunity issue signed by authorities in Maryland,where the girls were kidnapped, should apply to Bedford.

The immunity issue is expected to be further discussed in a hearing on December 20 at 1:30 p.m.. Lawyers are also expected to be back in court on January 24 at 9 a.m. to argue the constitutionality of the death penalty of 1965.

During the hearing, the jury selection process was discussed. Updike said at least two alternates will be chosen. Potential jurors are expected to be selected from of panel of three people.