What to Know
- A series of statements made to police by a New Jersey mother accused of killing and dismembering her toddler son cannot be used at her murder trial.
- That's because a judge ruled Wednesday that Bridgeton's Nakira Griner was not properly advised of her right protecting her from self-incrimination.
- An extensive February 2019 search for 23-month-old Daniel Griner Jr. ended when the child’s burnt remains were found the next day in the yard of her home.
Some statements made to police by a mother accused of killing and dismembering her toddler son cannot be used at her murder trial because her rights were not properly explained, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Nakira Griner, 26, of Bridgeton, initially told police in February 2019 that she had been attacked on the street and 23-month-old Daniel Griner Jr. had been abducted, authorities said. That prompted an intensive search that ended when the child’s burnt remains were found the next day in the yard of her home.
An autopsy concluded that Daniel was beaten to death and had multiple bone fractures.
Following hours of questioning by police, Griner changed her story and said the boy had accidentally fallen down a flight of stairs at the family home, authorities said.
Assistant Deputy Public Defender Kimberly Schultz, who represents Griner, had argued that police considered her a suspect from the start and she should have been advised of her rights immediately. She also said Griner was “going through a crisis and a clear mental break” and was in no position to voluntarily waive her rights.
The judge found Griner was not read her rights during her first two interviews with Bridgeton detectives, and later spoke with a state police detective for about 20 minutes before he informed her of her right against self-incrimination, making all those statements inadmissible at trial.
Griner is charged with murder, evidence-tampering, child endangerment, disturbing human remains and false public alarm. Prosecutors didn't comment on how the development would affect their case against her.