FARMINGTON Everything that police saw, touched or took from accused killer Jeremy Hauck's home should be tossed out of court because it violates his constitutional rights, his lawyer said.
In court papers obtained by the Deseret Morning News, Hauck's defense attorney asks a judge to suppress all evidence recovered from the Bountiful condo.
"Regardless of their motives, the officers who entered and searched Jeremy's home without first securing a search warrant did so in violation of the Fourth Amendment," lawyer Todd Utzinger wrote in a motion filed in Farmington's 2nd District Court late Wednesday. The motion also revealed new details about the bizarre slaying.
Jeremy Hauck, 18, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his mother, Laura. He is accused of shooting her in the head, slitting her throat and then dumping her body in a freezer in the basement of their townhouse condo in August.
After trying for days to reach her, Laura Hauck's sister called Bountiful police. The 52-year-old woman did not show up for work on Aug. 7, which also made relatives uneasy. Her car was not there.
Officers knocked on doors and windows and got no response. They looked through windows and found nothing amiss, Utzinger wrote.
"Although nobody at the scene had a key to Mrs. Hauck's home, her sister and brother-in-law wanted the officers to enter the home to check on Mrs. Hauck's welfare," he said in the motion.
Noticing a second-floor window open, the Bountiful police officers contacted the fire department for a ladder. A supervising sergeant arrived on the scene.
"The situation was explained to the sergeant, and he approved entry of the home via the second-story window to 'alleviate the family's concerns' about Mrs. Hauck's well-being," Utzinger said, adding that the sergeant left to continue his patrols.
Two officers went inside the condo and didn't see anything unusual on the second floor or the main floor. In Laura Hauck's basement bedroom, the motion says officers saw a "brownish-red" stain on the floor.
"The officers pulled back the bedding and uncovered a large blood stain and what appeared to be sand or cat litter. They noticed what appeared to be a 'drag path' of blood leading out of the room to a freezer in the adjacent storage/laundry room. They also noticed a shell casing," Utzinger wrote.
Contacting a Bountiful police sergeant, Utzinger claims the officers were told to refrain from conducting any more of a search.
When the sergeant arrived, using "just one finger and wearing a latex glove, one of the officers lifted the lid to the freezer. Inside the freezer there appeared to be a body, and that body was later verified to be Mrs. Hauck."
Jeremy Hauck was nowhere to be found. He was arrested days later at a Missoula, Mont., motel. Police said they found his mother's car and a number of weapons with him. It took several days for Laura Hauck's body to thaw just so police could identify her.
Utzinger maintains the search was illegal, because there was no evidence of an emergency in Laura Hauck's condo. Bountiful police did not get a warrant for the home until the next day.
"The very fact that the officers were merely trying to determine whether Mrs. Hauck was in the house in an effort to alleviate the family's concerns demonstrates that the warrantless entry of Jeremy's house falls outside the scope of the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement," he wrote, adding that the discovery of Laura Hauck's body cannot be considered by the court.
Davis County prosecutors claim the search was legal.
"We believe it was reasonable under the circumstances," deputy Davis County Attorney Bill McGuire said Thursday.
Bountiful police declined to comment.
A judge has scheduled a Dec. 20 hearing to discuss the motion to suppress evidence. Hauck, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, remains in the Davis County Jail with bail set at $300,000.
Coincidentally, Laura Hauck's sister is asking a judge for permission to sell the condo and the car that Jeremy Hauck was found with.