:: Accused killer’s deafness becomes part of defense (Daily Journal) ::

Accused killer’s deafness becomes part of defense

BRIDGETON — The family of murder victim Jackie Foreman sat quietly in a Cumberland County courtroom Monday with only T-shirts with a picture of 41-year-old Port Norris woman printed on the front to speak for their grief.

The eight relatives left the courtroom without comment after a hearing in which an attorney for accused murderer Dontay Milbourne told the court he had doubts about the use of statements his client made to Millville police.

Shortly after Foreman was found stabbed to death in Milbourne’s Vine Street apartment, attorney Dwayne Powell said Millville police didn’t call an American Sign Language interpreter to interview his client.

Instead, the two detectives used written notes with Milbourne, who is almost totally deaf, and shouted at the suspect as they tried to learn the sequence of events that led to Foreman’s death.

Powell claimed police should have waited for an interpreter before questioning the suspect.

But Assistant Prosecutor John Jesperson told Superior Court Judge John Waters that Milbourne may not need American Sign Language to communicate and that Millville detectives used written statements from Milbourne to get information.

Jesperson and Powell are expected to present their experts at a future hearing to advance their arguments on whether the statement should or should not be used.

Milbourne admitted to killing Foreman in what he claimed was a case of self-defense. Continue

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