Defense attorneys concerned after jail gives copies of outgoing letters from murder suspect

Defense attorneys concerned after jail gives copies of outgoing letters from murder suspect

NEWTON, N.C. (WBTV) - Greydon Hansen and Dontray Cumberland were charged back in April of 2017 of a triple murder in Hickory. Four people were shot in the parking lot of a local pub. Three died. The suspects have been behind bars ever since.

In the last year, though, jail officials say they have been copying outgoing mail at the request of Hickory Police Investigators and turning it over to them. Jail Administrator Bill Boughman says it is common practice to check incoming mail for contraband but outgoing mail is usually left alone. Not in this case, though.

Defense Attorneys Lisa Dubs and Robert Campbell only found out about it this week after Prosecutor Jamie Adams alerted them. Adams told the court she did not find out about it herself until Monday when a letter from the defendant to his attorneys was revealed.

Judge Karen Eady-Williams ordered that all the letters that have been intercepted and copied be separated from the investigative files and placed under seal. A hearing will be held in the coming weeks to determine what to do with them and who can look at them. She also ordered that no more outgoing mail from either defendant be intercepted.

Defense attorneys say they are concerned about what damage may already have been done. The say it is possible that information in the letters may have been used to seek other evidence. “Evidence that is either illegally or improperly collected should never be used against a defendant,” said Lisa Dubs.

The fact that at least one piece of mail was addressed to Hansen’s attorneys is especially concerning said the defense. “The law is they cannot intercept those letters and they did,” said Robert Campbell. Dubs says it is possible they could ask for the death penalty to be taken off the table in Hansen’s case “as a remedy to this,” but so far she has not filed any motions asking for that. No date has been set for the hearing on the letters.

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