Detectives didn't tell the suspect in the University Heights rapes that they might not be able to obtain court permission to conduct sophisticated DNA fingerprint tests on him when they talked him into the tests last summer, one of the chief investigators testified today.
Michael Drozic Jr. was warned that prosecutors would seek a court order if he balked at testing, but he wasn't advised of his legal rights as a suspect or told he could consult an attorney until he raised the subject of his legal rights, Buffalo Police Officer Mary Pat Kaempf told Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico.
"We wanted to do it the easiest way," Officer Kaempf testified.
Consulting an attorney wasn't mentioned until "he asked to speak to an attorney," said Officer Kaempf, a member of the police Sex Offenses Squad.
The testimony came during a hearing that D'Amico began Friday on a motion by Drozic's attorney, Thomas J. Eoannou, challenging the legality of the crucial test results.
Eoannou wants the judge to quash the DNA tests, the only physical evidence linking Drozic, 24, to the five sex attacks between Oct. 19, 1987, and Jan. 14, 1988.
The testing was done July 14 at Montgomery County Jail in Fonda, where Drozic was serving a sentence for violating probation.
Prosecutors can put Drozic on trial even without the test results as evidence, but their case would be severely weakened because none of the victims could identify him in a lineup.
Eoannou said the blood-test evidence was illegally obtained and must be suppressed because Drozic was denied a chance to fully discuss the testing with an attorney before he consented, even though prosecutors acknowledge that at the time, Drozic was a suspect in the Buffalo sex crimes.
Eoannou said that when Drozic was arrested in Buffalo on Feb. 14, 1988, for having violated probation, police already considered him a suspect in the University Heights rapes and videotaped the arrest. At the time, Eoannou said, police asked Drozic to submit to blood-testing, but Drozic refused.
The chief police investigator on the case last year, Officer Kaempf testified that Drozic was already a suspect when she and assistant Erie County District Attorney Christopher J. Belling talked him into the blood test last July 14.
Although Drozic did not have an attorney present with him in the jail, he "wasn't flustered or upset at all" and was "very nice" when he agreed to submit to the testing, Officer Kaempf testified.
Drozic was advised of his legal rights as a suspect after he had spoken briefly on the telephone with an attorney who had once represented him and after he had the blood test, she told the judge.
Under questioning from Eoannou, Officer Kaempf told the judge she and Belling told Drozic he "didn't have to" submit to testing, but never told him the blood test would be used as evidence against him in court.