GEORGIA: 73-year old Frank Louis Reeves faces murder charges for the shooting death of a woman after an altercation at a gas station. Police say that Reeves’ motorized wheelchair collided with Linda Hunnicutt’s car and words were exchanged. When Hunnicutt got out of her car, Reeves opened fire with a .38 caliber handgun shooting her once in the chest.
Reeves confessed saying he discharged the weapon in an attempt to scare Hunnicutt. His attorney says he suffers from hearing and speech problems, has a 9th grade education and a history of stroke and other health challenges. Reasons she says investigators unfairly coerced the confession.
One eyewitness described Reeves as not showing any emotion after the shooting. His attorney claims he expresses great remorse and “wishes the day never happened.”
65-year old Hunnicutt was described as a homemaker who lived a few miles from the station. Her husband was traveling for his job with a dental lab company when the shooting took place.
This case is tragic on many levels. If it goes to trial, prosecutors will face some jurors who will sympathize with Reeves because of his age and physical limitations. It must be made clear that the law makes no exception or mitigation for these reasons. The jury will need to be reminded that their verdict must turn on the law, not on sympathy for the defendant.
The first battle, though will come before trial. The defendant’s attorney is already gearing up to attack the confession, preparing to argue that the jury should never hear it. But limited education and health problems will not automatically rule the damning confession inadmissible. If the confession gets in, the defense will be wise to reevaluate its strategy.
Do you think a jury should hear Reeves’ confession?