In a few sudden and tense moments inside Albany County Court Monday, we learned two things about accused murder accomplice Sean Moreland: He never thought his co-defendant would kill someone, and he was afraid that same man might one day kill his children.
Moreland never spoke during his pre-trial hearing Monday. But a police sergeant who questioned him on the murder did. Colonie Sgt. John Santorio investigated the August 2015 murder of Jacquelyn Porreca. Sean Moreland was his suspect. According to the sergeant's testimony, Moreland was interrogated in November.
That is when Moreland told police, "I want to cooperate. I didn't know he was going to do that to her."
Moreland was speaking about his co-defendant, Michael Chmielewski — who is accused of actually stabbing Porreca in the neck last year. Moreland seemed to think Chmielewski was dangerous, and Moreland told police he was afraid Chmielewski would kill his children.
But Moreland's attorney, Paul DerOhannesian, argued Monday that that police lied to Moreland to gain his cooperation. A sergeant admitted he was not entirely truthful in interrogations. And there is also some question about how much Moreland said before police read him his Miranda rights.
"I don't want to talk about any particular piece of evidence," DerOhannesian said. "There are many pieces of evidence that are important, and each side should have the opportunity to address that. I feel very strongly that both sides should be allowed to address so many legal issues that came up in this hearing."
Gaspar Castillo, the defense for Michael Chmielewski, said little outside court — and signaled his own readiness for trial. Both defendants could face life in prison if convicted for murder.
The judge will eventually rule on what sort of evidence is admissible at trial, but that will not happen until mid-summer. A murder trial is not expected until the fall.