Hearing begins to consider if defendant understood Miranda rights during interrogation
Brittany Pilkington confers with Marc Triplett in the Logan County Common Pleas courtroom Tuesday at her reopened suppression hearing. (EXAMINER PHOTO | JOEL E. MAST)
A psychologist, a neuropsychologist and a forensic psychologist all testified a woman charged with murdering her three sons suffers from brain damage and mental illness which impacted her ability to understand and comprehend her rights during a 2015 police interview.
Dr. Howard Fradkin and Dr. Jeffrey D. Madden both said they believe Brittany Pilkington’s 2015 confession was not voluntary, but Dr. Barbara Bergman would not go that far in her analysis.
“I couldn’t say in this case whether Ms. Pilkington understood her Miranda rights,” said Bergman, a court-appointed forensic psychologist. “It’s been too long since the interrogation and she has been talking with her attorneys, so I don’t know what she understood at the time.
“She is capable of learning and she’s had three years to have her attorneys educate her. I just know she learned it by now.”
When asked by defense attorney Tina McFall if Pilkington could have understood the Miranda advisories given to her on Aug. 18, 2015, and voluntarily given up her right against self-incrimination, Bergman said, “I can say it was very problematic for her and her limited cognitive abilities would make it very difficult for her to understand the Miranda waiver.
“I don’t think someone can give up something they don’t understand.”
Read complete story in Wednesday's Examiner.
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