Ohio dad could still face death penalty in massacre of 3 sons after judge tosses confession

Even after a judge tossed the alleged confession of an Ohio dad accused of executing his three sons and shooting their mother’s hand, he could still face the death penalty, experts say.

Ohio law makes capital punishment a possibility in certain murder cases – including when there is a child victim.

“The confession isn’t a mitigating or aggravating factor, so it doesn’t affect the death penalty one way or another,” said Neama Rahmani, a Los Angeles-based attorney and former federal prosecutor.

OHIO DAD ACCUSED OF EXECUTING SONS ‘IN COLD BLOOD’ INDICTED ON 21 COUNTS AFTER TWISTED TRIPLE MURDER

Chad Doerman was found sitting on the porch next to his rifle when deputies arrived, bodycam video shows. (Clermont County Sheriff’s Office)

During his arraignment in June, Clermont County prosecutors said Chad Doerman, 33, had admitted to lining up the boys, ages 3, 4 and 7, before he shot them in the head. He is accused of shooting the third in the back as he ran in terror before catching up and finishing him off in what prosecutors called “an unspeakable act of savagery.”

LISTEN: 911 audio reveals panicked daughter who survived Ohio dad shooting 3 sons

911 audio reveals panicked daughter who survived Ohio dad shooting 3 sons Video

“Even though the judge tossed the confession, there is overwhelming evidence that Doerman killed his three young sons, and prosecutors should have no issues securing a conviction,” Rahmani said. “The lesson is, law enforcement should read directly from the Miranda card provided by their department, and not ad lib. And if a suspect asks for a lawyer, officers should confirm the request and cease questioning.”

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Police arrived to find him sitting calmly next to a rifle as his wounded wife, 35, bawled over the victims in their yard.

There were multiple witnesses, according to police records, including two surviving victims, firefighters stationed across the street and passing drivers.

LISTEN: 911 call from shooting witness sees rampage after Ohio dad shoots sons

911 call from shooting witness sees rampage after Ohio dad shoots sons Video

OHIO MAN ADMITS TO LINING UP 3 YOUNG SONS IN YARD, EXECUTING THEM WITH RIFLE: PROSECUTORS

“I don’t think it is going to affect the case at all,” said Joseph Giacalone, a former NYPD sergeant and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “They have plenty of information, evidence and eyewitness accounts, including the recovery of the rifle that was right next to him, ballistics and everything else.”

A Clermont County Sheriff’s deputy takes Ohio dad Chad Doerman into custody after the 32-year-old allegedly gunned down his three young sons. (Clermont County Sheriff’s Office)

Doerman’s teenage stepdaughter called 911 to report “her father was killing everyone in the house.” Firefighters at the firehouse across the street ducked for cover and witnessed part of the shooting. Another 911 caller described the shooter as a White male in a green shirt and blue jeans – matching what Doerman is wearing on bodycam video from responding officers, who found him sitting calmly on the porch next to a rifle with his wife screaming over their dead children on the grass just a few feet away.

It is rare for detectives to fail to meet Miranda standards, Giacalone said, especially in such a high-profile case.

“If they didn’t have the eyewitnesses, this would’ve been a huge problem,” he added.

OHIO MAN ACCUSED OF EXECUTING 3 YOUNG SONS SEEN IN BODYCAM VIDEO SITTING CALMLY NEXT TO GUN AFTERWARD

Bodycam video shows Doerman ignoring the commands of responding officers, who threw him to the ground and placed him in handcuffs. Before they asked any questions, he told them he was “completely sober.”

Sheriff’s deputies take Chad Doerman into custody after his sons were shot. (Clermont County Sheriff’s Office)

Although a deputy told him to “shut up” and reminded him of his right to remain silent while walking him to the back of a cruiser, the judge found police violated Doerman’s Miranda rights twice.

“Can you get the wallet out of my pocket?” Doerman can be heard asking on bodycam video.

“Shut up, dude – you have the right to remain silent,” the deputy replies. “F—ing use it.”

The first violation came with a detective “failed to properly and fully” read Doerman his Miranda rights prior to interrogation once he arrived at the sheriff’s office, Judge Richard Ferenc wrote last week. The second came when Doerman told interrogators “I’ll wait for a lawyer,” but the questioning continued.

This undated photo released by the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office shows Chad Doerman. Doerman, who is accused of fatally shooting his three young sons on Thursday, June 15, 2023, in Monroe Township, Ohio, admitted to planning the killings and lined them up before executing them with a rifle, prosecutors said. (Clermont County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

“This is terrible police work, and honestly, they should be embarrassed,” said David Gelman, a defense attorney and former prosecutor based in New Jersey who has been following the case.

A Miranda card must be read in full to the defendant before questioning, he said. However, according to the judge, tapes from the interrogation show the detective failed to inform Doerman he had a right to have an attorney present during questioning.

The sheriff’s office deferred comment to the county prosecutor, who declined to comment on the Miranda failure or on the death penalty, citing a gag order on the case.

Doerman made numerous comments to deputies in the entrance to the jail, but they were redacted from bodycam video, which at one point showed him smashing his head against a concrete wall before an officer told him to stop.

“If I was the prosecutor, I’d be pissed, because that’s valuable evidence – a confession saying I shot my three kids, game over,” Gelman said.

Still, other statements from Doerman made outside his interrogation will be allowed in court, the judge said.

“I still think they have a lot of good evidence against this individual, but I’ll tell you one thing, as a defense attorney, I think the chances of acquittal have gone up a little bit,” Gelman said.

Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @mikerreports

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