Nevada County murder suspect Maurice Rogers seeks to toss evidence
A Nevada County judge is expected to decide today if evidence gained from the search and detention of murder suspect Maurice Di Aundra Rogers should reach a jury.
Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger on Wednesday, Sept. 20, heard testimony from Sacramento Police Officer Jason Wacker, who on April 8, 2016, detained Rogers after seeing his vehicle. Recognizing it from a bulletin about a person wanted for questioning about a Nevada County homicide, and seeing it had no license tags, Wacker drew his weapon and called to Rogers after he stopped at a south Sacramento convenience store.
Now awaiting his Oct. 17 trial in Nevada County, Rogers has argued in court filings the evidence obtained from what he calls an illegal stop, detention and search should be suppressed.
“As there was neither evidence of a crime, or a warrant, the defendant respectfully requests that the court grant the motion to suppress evidence,” the filing states.
Rogers, held Wednesday in the Nevada County Jail, is accused in the April 4, 2016, death of Felicia Romaine Spruell-Jones, 46, of Reno. Her body was found that day off Interstate 80 near Truckee.
Testimony given during a hearing last year alleged that Rogers shot Spruell-Jones because he loved another woman.
Wacker on Wednesday told Heidelberger that he was on patrol on April 8, 2016, when he spotted a white Cadillac with an Oregon sticker on the back windshield. Earlier that day he’d seen a bulletin about a vehicle matching that description.
“The vehicle and individuals related to that vehicle were a person of interest in a homicide that had occurred in Nevada County,” Wacker said.
The vehicle parked at a nearby convenience store, and Wacker verified the bulletin remained active. He then blocked the Cadillac in its space, exited his patrol car and drew his weapon. Wacker called to the car’s lone occupant, telling him to toss the keys outside and exit the car with his hands up, the officer testified.
“I called him back to my location, where he was handcuffed and placed in the back of my patrol vehicle,” Wacker said.
“I asked him to verbally identify himself,” said Wacker later under questioning from defense attorney Greg Klein, who represents Rogers. “He said, ‘I’m Maurice Rogers.'”
The officer said that he detained Rogers and did not question him further, noting the bulletin stated Nevada County deputies should be contacted immediately. Wacker then drove Rogers to Loomis, where local authorities took him into custody.
Before Wacker testified Heidelberger cleared the courtroom to hear from Rogers, who wanted to fire his attorney and have a new one appointed. The judge denied his request and reopened the courtroom about 30 minutes later.