PORT HURON — Despite defendant Donald Burke's testimony that he has no memory of giving statements to police in the hours after his arrest, a judge ruled Thursday that those statements are admissable for trial.
The 50 year-old Capac man is slated to face three counts of attempted murder on October 7 for the April shooting that injured Chief Raymond Hawks and Sheriff's Deputy Tim O'Boyle. Bullets struck Mike Thorpe's tow truck but he was not injured.
Deputies and detectives took the witness stand in Judge Daniel Kelly's circuit court room Thursday morning, testifying in the Walker Hearing that Burke was alert and mostly forthcoming about the shooting. The statements in question were made while Burke was being hospitalized for heart problems.
Then Burke took the stand saying he has no memory of his arrest at Mike Pirrone Produce 12 hours after the shooting, could not recall waiving his Miranda Rights and only vaguely remembers speaking with Detective David Patterson.
"I was in severe pain," Burke said.
Burke's lawyer, Frederick Lepley, argued that the pain his client suffered from two broken ribs and his heart condition, along with administered morphine, affected Burke's mental state to the point that his statements could not be considered voluntary.
Kelly ruled that there was no evidence police were coercive in obtaining the statements or proof that pain medication could have altered Burke's mental state.
Patterson said Burke admitted to having a Marlin .22 caliber semi-automatic weapon given to him by his dad at the age of 14 that he used for squirrel hunting and target practice.
According to Patterson, Burke refused to answer one question—how many bullets he loaded into the weapon before firing.
Burke told the detective he heard a 'pop, pop, pop' and blacked out but came to and remembered throwing down a gun and running out of the house and jumping over a fence, knowing that he'd "done something really stupid," Patterson said.
In one of the bedside interviews taped by Patterson and played in court by Prosecutor Mike Wendling, Burke said he doesn't remember shooting, only hearing "just some dull noise."
In questioning from Patterson about the events leading up to the shooting, Burke admits that seeing Thorpe's tow truck pull into his driveway 'broke the camel's back.' Hawks reportedly called for Thorpe to tow Burke's vehicle after complaints of reckless driving.
Burke told Patterson his run-ins with police were typically over vehicles or "little matters." Often times it had to do with playing his car radio too loud.
"I have hearing loss so I turned it louder...I was not doing anything wrong," he said.
Wendling said Burke's plea cut off date is October 3.