Judge denies defense motions related to Frederick murder trial

·2 min read

Jul. 21—A Frederick man accused of murdering another man who was to testify against him was back in court Thursday to hear defense motions trying to suppress evidence for his trial scheduled in October.

Lavonte Darnell Nash, 29, has been charged with first-degree murder. He faces a total of 50 counts of crimes, mostly relating to gang activity, drugs and firearms, according to online court records.

Nash allegedly shot and killed Gregory Allen Knight, 30, in June 2019 in Frederick after he learned Knight was going to testify against him for a previous drug case, the News-Post previously reported.

In court Thursday, Frederick County Circuit Court Judge Scott L. Rolle denied three defense motions to suppress evidence in Nash's trial.

One of Nash's defense attorneys, Isabelle Raquin, and Colleen Swanson, representing the Frederick County State's Attorney's Office, argued the three motions.

The evidence comes from a drug deal that Nash was allegedly involved in and that Knight participated in, under police surveillance, authorities said.

One motion was over the investigative techniques that the defense argued was an illegal wiretap. The second motion was about probable cause of the 2017 arrest for drug distribution. A third motion was over a statement the defendant made after the 2017 arrest.

Frederick Police Department Detective Kyle Jones and Sgt. Christopher Prior testified at Thursday's hearing, since they were involved in the investigation of the alleged drug deal involving Knight and Nash.

Nash also testified in the hearing regarding his statement while in police custody on drug charges in 2017, saying police implied he should help them out in exchange for being released.

Later Thursday, another attorney for Nash, Stephen Mercer, and the state's attorney's office chief counsel, Joyce King, argued several other motions.

Those motion were related to evidence regarding search warrants executed between June and September 2019 that used technology like cell towers, social media and vehicle GPS.

Rolle also denied those motions.

The defense also has filed motions to suppress evidence regarding residential search warrants and the authorization to wire tap cellphones.

Rolle will issue a written ruling on those motions, King wrote in an email.

Nash has more hearings in mid-September before his trial, according to online court records.

Follow Clara Niel on Twitter: @clarasniel