The state appeals court overturned his sentence on Monday and concluded that 23-year-old Andreas Erazo’s confession was illegally obtained after the Monmouth County prosecutor’s office failed to read Erazo his Miranda rights before police questioned him for hours.
In 2019, Erazo confessed to stabbing his neighbor, Abbiegail Smith, before his trial was set to begin for her 2017 death, NJ.com reported Tuesday.
But police are claiming that since Erazo was only a potential witness at the beginning of the investigation, they did not have to read the then 18-year-old his rights because he was not a suspect or in police custody.
The appeals court stated that police treated Erazo like a suspect when they took him from his home in the back of a police car and allowed him supervised breaks during the hours he was questioned in a small room.
The case can either be tried again or resolved, the judges said.
The prosecutor’s office said in a statement Tuesday that they are planning to appeal the decision to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.