Judge rules father’s interview admissible in trial about children tied up in Walmart parking lot
Douglas County District Judge Paula Martin on Friday denied a motion to suppress a police interview with an Illinois man accused of binding two of his children by their hands and feet June 13 in the parking lot of a Lawrence Walmart.
Aldolfo Gomez, 52, and his wife, Deborah Gomez, 43, of Northlake, Ill., face two counts each of child abuse stemming from the incident in which police found two of their children, ages 5 and 7, bound near the family’s vehicle.
The interview in question took place about an hour after Aldolfo Gomez was Tasered by police in the Walmart parking lot. Gomez’s court-appointed attorney, Elbridge Griffy, argued Friday that the interview should be tossed out because of Gomez’s mental state at the time.
Gomez testified at the hearing, saying he hadn’t slept in nine days, and felt he was in a dream when first approached by police.
“I wasn’t sure if he (the police officer) was real or not,” Aldolfo said.
Police interviewed Aldolfo for about 30 minutes the day of his arrest, and Aldolfo testified he remembered little of the interview.
“It was a haze,” he said.
Aldolfo also said he feared for his children’s lives and felt demons were after his family.
But Lawrence Police Det. Randy Glidewell, who conducted the interview, said Aldolfo appeared physically and mentally competent to understand his rights and answer questions.
“I didn’t notice any medical distress,” Glidewell testified. Gomez “was coherent and thought process was fine.”
Though Gomez mentioned demons, Glidewell said Gomez did not exhibit any signs of experiencing hallucinations during the interview.
Gomez declined an attorney and waived his Miranda rights during the interview.
“They may be unusual statements,” said Martin of Gomez’s mention of demons. “But there was no evidence he was hallucinating.”
Martin had previously ruled that Gomez was competent to stand trial.
Gomez is scheduled for trial Nov. 5, and his wife is scheduled for trial Oct. 22.
The couple also face five counts each of aggravated child endangerment for alleged treatment of the two young children and three older ones, ages 12, 13 and 15, whom police found in the vehicle. The older ones were not bound when police found them.
Douglas County prosecutors said the children have been placed in protective custody. The parents remain in the Douglas County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond each.