Secoy files motion for evidence suppression

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The former Nelsonville police officer charged in the abduction and assault of a teenager is asking Athens County Common Pleas Court to suppress evidence in the case.

According to a motion filed earlier this month, Randy Secoy, 41, of Amesville, objects to the entering of 14 documents into evidence.

The documents include written reprimands, documentation of disciplinary actions, evaluations by a doctor, a “Last Chance Agreement” with the Athens County Sheriff’s Office for “collection of evidence and chain of custody issues,” job performance evaluations and Secoy’s letter of resignation from the sheriff’s office.

Secoy is a former Athens County sheriff’s deputy.

None of the documents relate to the events for which Secoy is facing charges, the document asserts.

Secoy is facing charges in regard to an incident that allegedly happened at a Nelsonville restaurant while he was employed as a part-time Nelsonville officer. After taking a teen into custody in March, Secoy is alleged to have “restrained the liberties of the juvenile by placing his hand on the juvenile’s throat/jaw area and (pushed) him backwards while he was seated in a chair, causing physical injuries to the juvenile,” according to court documents.

Secoy’s attorney, Dominic J. Vitantonio, said the documentation of past incidents should not play a part in the current case.

“Testimony regarding a prior act is generally so inflammatory that the undeniable effect is to incite the jury to convict one for the conduct alleged in the case, based upon past misconduct rather than upon the facts of the case,” Vitantonio wrote.

Evidence of acts other than what is presented in the case is only admissible if there is proof that the acts were committed by Secoy and if the evidence proves motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity or “absence of mistake or accident,” the motion states.

The teen was arrested at a pizzeria and detained in a room at the Nelsonville Police Department. At some point, Secoy “placed his hand on the chin and/or lower facial area of the male,” causing the seat to roll backwards, Vitantonio said. But the legal issue, Vitantonio said, is whether the conduct amounts to the charges against Secoy.

The prior acts are not necessary to prove those facts, according to the document.

“It is difficult to even conceive of how, for example, Secoy’s professional evidence-gathering inadequacies; or his propensity to speed; or his negligent driving; or his proclivity to use foul language; or his good or bad grades as a police officer; or any other alleged insufficiencies as a police officer, tends to establish that certain undisputed facts arise to the level of an abduction, and/or a criminal assault, and/or a criminal deprivation of civil rights,” Vitantonio wrote in the motion.

The only reason for the introduction of the items was because of their inflammatory nature, the attorney said.

No response to the motion has been filed in the court record as of Monday, but Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said the presentation of the evidence does prove the “absence of mistake” needed in the case.

“Clearly the past occurrences show what happens when someone disagrees with (Secoy),” Blackburn said. “It is absolutely relevant.”