116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - A 20-year-old man accused in the fatal stabbing of another man on the Meskwaki Settlement in February is asking the court to suppress his statement to police based on a warrantless search and violation of his constitutional rights.
According to the motion filed this week in federal court, Jonathan Curtis Youngbear was still intoxicated when police questioned him about six hours after arrest. Youngbear was 'intermittently crying and wailing” and couldn't sit up straight.
He was only given a small cup of water after being in a holding cell for six hours, and when he urinated on himself no attempt was made to let him change his clothes, according to the motion.
Youngbear is charged with first-degree murder. He is accused of stabbing Severn D. Jefferson in the upper chest and neck area while they were in Jefferson's home on the Tama settlement Feb. 24.
According to testimony during a preliminary hearing, Youngbear's cousin, Joseph Youngbear, told authorities Jonathan Youngbear and Jefferson got into an argument and Jonathan Youngbear stabbed Jefferson. They had been smoking methamphetamine and drinking that day and the day before, according to testimony.
Jonathan Youngbear also confessed to authorities that he killed Jefferson, according to testimony.
According to the motion, the police lacked sufficient evidence to make the warrantless search based on the 911 call from Danielle Davenport, who said her nephew Joseph Youngbear told her Jonathan Youngbear had stabbed Jefferson.
Police didn't question or talk to Joseph Youngbear before entering the house and the 'uncorroborated” information was insufficient to establish probable cause to enter, according to the motion. After law enforcement arrived, Jonathan Youngbear came out of the house with his hands in the air.
Officers then entered the house, found the body in the hallway and searched the entire house, according to the motion. They located a gun and other items, and observed alcohol bottles and drug paraphernalia. Officers then left the house and obtained a search warrant.
The motion also claims Jonathan Youngbear didn't fully understand his rights when being questioned because he was 'heavily” intoxication and when he said he didn't want to answer questions, investigators continued to question him.
Jonathan Youngbear repeatedly told investigators he didn't remember what happened and then officers would ask him 'leading” questions, prompting him to agree with facts they presented. Throughout the interview, Jonathan Youngbear appears 'highly emotional,” his speech is slurred and at times he appears 'wildly incoherent, wailing, moaning, panting, crying and rocking back and forth.”
According to the motion, Joseph Youngbear said he, Jefferson and Jonathan had consumed a gallon of rum that day and other evidence indicates Jonathan and Joseph Youngbear had used methamphetamine, marijuana, and possibly K2 or synthetic marijuana that day. There is also evidence that Jonathan Youngbear hadn't slept, if at all, in three days leading up to Feb. 24.
A licensed psychologist, Dewey Ertz, of Rapids City, S.D., evaluated Jonathan Youngbear July 27 at the Linn County Jail and diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder and that he showed signs of acute stress syndrome, in addition to acute alcohol and drug intoxication - at the time of the incident and when the police interviewed him. These diagnoses, along with intoxication and sleep deprivation made him not 'cognitively functional” to sign a Miranda waiver and to be interviewed.
A hearing on the motion to suppress is set Oct. 28 in U.S. District Court.
Youngbear's trial is still set Feb. 23, 2015.