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Published: Wednesday, 4/14/2010

Officers' words OK at trial

Statements made by Lucas County Sheriff James Telb and two former employees during the federal investigation of an inmate's death can be used at their trials, a federal judge said Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge David Katz yesterday denied motions to suppress statements filed by Sheriff Telb, former deputy Jay Schmeltz, and John Gray, a retired sheriff's department sergeant. The order clears the way for government prosecutors to use the men's statements at their May 10 trial.

The three, along with Capt. Robert McBroom, who

works in the sheriff's internal affairs division, have been charged with crimes associated with the death of a jail inmate and an alleged cover-up.

Carlton Benton, 25, who was in custody awaiting trial for the aggravated murders of two people, died June 1, 2004, in Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. His death was recently ruled a homicide.

Attorneys for the defendants argued March 22 that their statements should be suppressed because they were either taken as a condition of their employment or there was a lack of an electronic recording of the interviews. In a seven-page order released yesterday, Judge Katz cited several legal cases that contradicted the defense's claims.

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