Home > Crime > Mortimer Pre-Trial Hearing To Suppress Evidence

Mortimer Pre-Trial Hearing To Suppress Evidence


Finn and Charlotte

Gruesome and often graphic testimony was offered by police and firefighters about the horrific murder scene they discovered last June.

Thomas Mortimer is accused of killing his wife, Laura Stone-Mortimer, 4-year-old ‘Finn’, and 2-year-old Charlotte, and his mother-in-law, Ellen Stone.

Mortimer’s lawyer, Denise Regan, is asking a judge to suppress evidence seized during a warrant-less search, saying police searched the home illegally without a warrant, and therefore that evidence should be thrown out.

The defense team also filed a second motion saying that some evidence gathered after the warrant arrived was outside of the scope of the warrant, making it inadmissible.

Prosecutors argue police were justified in entering the home because they had been called by Laura’s sister, Debra Stone-Sochat, for a well-being check after she looked through a window and saw blood on a light switch, on the walls, and in the stairwell.

Police entered the home 3 times before the warrant arrived.

Claude Austin was the first police officer to arrive on the scene and entered the home. He said he discovered the three bodies and continued to search the home, following a trial of blood up the stairs when he called for back up. When back up arrived, they searched the upstairs where they found Charlotte’s body in her crib.

They second time they entered the home was to retrieve the family dog that had been in a closed room for two days.

The third time they entered the house was to finishing the search of the home and the attic and making sure it was secure, there were no additional victims or a possible suspect.  Police did not enter again until the search warrant arrived at 4:40 p.m.

Neither the defense or prosecution have said which pieces of evidence are in question, however prosecutors have a confession written by Mortimer in which Mortimer wrote, “I took the easy way out. … I am ashamed, frightened, relieved, surprised that I murdered my family, disgusted with myself.”  It also indicates that young ‘Finn’ witnessed the killings before having his throat slashed.

Police also found evidence of a suicide attempt in the garage.  A hose had been hooked up to car’s exhaust.  A knife lay on the passenger seat, along with a hammer.

The hearing resumes Monday.

I feel terribly sad that Debra Stone-Sochat lost so much that summer day and has to now endure such painful details.  What truly bothers me is there were four family members brutally murdered and you have a written confession – that’s enough for me!




Wicked Local Winchester

The Republic

  1. Jo
    09/25/2011 at 5:26 pm

    Donchais, you would think that a written confession would be enough. You would think a “mother” never calling police for a month when her daughter was “kidnapped”, and finally reported by HER mother and then sat in jail for three years before stating thru her attorney that it was an accidental drowning would have been “enough” for a jury, but now, I no longer know what “enough” is. I am thinking “enough” would be someone actually seeing a murder but I don’t even think that is “enough”. I am truly disillusioned by the justice system. Thank you for writing about this case. Sadly, there are so many, sometimes I forget about them and these horrific crimes should not be forgotten.

  2. donchais
    09/25/2011 at 5:35 pm

    Jo, so many of these senseless cases wound my soul and heart. I can’t understand how and why…somewhere, humanity took a wrong turn and we need to find a way back…if not, we are in for a world of hurt!

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