Central Oregon DailyAttorney: Law enforcement didn’t get warrant to ping Smith Rock suspect’s phone

Attorney: Law enforcement didn’t get warrant to ping Smith Rock suspect’s phone

Attorney: Law enforcement didn’t get warrant to ping Smith Rock suspect’s phone

Samson Garner

The attorney for the man accused of plotting a violent attack at Smith Rock State Park, is asking for some evidence to be tossed out. The attorney says law enforcement did not get a warrant to ping the suspect’s cell phone in order to find and arrest him.

Samson Garner, 39, is facing multiple counts of attempted murder, assault and unlawful use of a weapon. Garner was arrested Oct. 19 in Deschutes County, the day before the start of the three-day Craggin’ Classic at Smith Rock. The arrest came days after the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said it received a warning from the Portland Police Bureau about Garner.

According to a motion filed Dec. 27, defense Joel Writz is calling on the court to “suppress all evidence acquired as a result of the warrantless ping (cellphone location).” Wirtz argues that it violates Garner’s rights under the Fourth and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 9 of the Oregon Constitution.

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Wirtz’s filing claims that the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office requested a warrantless ping and received notification from Verizon of a location between Bend and Redmond. Wirtz wrote that deputies found Garner “sitting in a lawn chair enjoying a beer at Maston trailhead parking lot after a great morning of mountain biking,” where he was arrested. Wirtz writes that Samson’s SUV, camping gear and “Second Amendment protected possessions” were seized.

Wirtz writes that all evidence obtained as a result of the cell phone ping should be suppressed.

Deschutes County District Attorney Steve Gunnels tells Central Oregon Daily News that he believes police acted lawfully under the circumstances and plans on responding to the motion.

According to court documents, the people being targeted in the plot were listed as “Belayer 1” and “Belayer 2” — references to people who hold safety ropes for climbers. “Spectator 1” and “Spectator 2” were also listed as potential targets. Documents from Multnomah County show Garner allegedly sent an email to a woman he recently ended a relationship with. In that email, Garner allegedly states he was reminded about the Craggin’ Classic and that he thought of killing people rock climbing there.

Based on the current charges, Garner faces 90 months in prison — a little more than eight years. Prosecutors are arguing for a minimum of 10 years.

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