WILKES-BARRE — Statements allegedly made to police by the suspect in the hit-and-run death of a 5-year-old boy may be presented to a jury, a Luzerne County judge ruled Thursday.
Thomas Letteer Jr., 23, faces one count of accidents involving death or personal injury in the Dec. 21, 2012, death of Kevin Miller. According to police, the boy was crossing West North Street with his father when he was struck by a vehicle that investigators say was driven by Letteer.
Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr. denied a motion by Letteer’s attorneys to suppress remarks he made to investigators on Dec. 23 and Dec. 31, 2012.
In the days after the boy’s death, police conducted a massive search in the region, stopping red Pontiacs and came across Letteer’s red 1999 Pontiac Grand Am on Mack Street near his home.
Defense attorneys Allyson L. Kacmarski and Paul Galante have argued that Letteer’s conversations with investigators took place without him being read Miranda warnings. Prosecutors have said Letteer was not a suspect when he was questioned.
Letteer allegedly told investigators on Dec. 23, 2012, that he drove the Pontiac from a party in West Wyoming directly to his girlfriend’s residence in Pittston Township. He repeated the same statement to investigators on Dec. 31, 2012, saying he was not in Wilkes-Barre when the boy was struck.
Galante and Kacmarski also sought to have alleged evidence recovered from Letteer’s Pontiac, Facebook postings and cellphone records tossed. Investigators allege Letteer’s cellphone records place him near the fatal scene, according to the criminal complaint.
Investigators seized Letteer’s Pontiac on Jan. 4, 2013, alleging it had a newer front headlight and light damage on its hood. He was arrested on April 12.
Sklarosky’s ruling covered numerous other points, including:
• Letteer’s motions to invalidate search warrants were denied.
• Letteer’s request to seek a change of venue was deferred.
• Letteer’s motion for more time to file additional pre-trial motions is denied, but he may file other motions as permitted under the relevant rules.
Sklarosky in January rescheduled Letteer’s trial for March 17.