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Article posted: 12/13/2012 6:20 PM

Elgin murder, arson suspect wants police statements tossed

By Harry Hitzeman

An Elgin woman accused of participating in the stabbing and killing of a 61-year-old man last December and setting his apartment on fire to cover up his murder wants a judge to throw out her arrest and videotaped statements she made to police.

Jessica Leach, 29, of the 0-99 block of Poplar Creek, faces felony charges of first-degree murder, robbery, aggravated arson and concealment of homicide in the death of James S. Granger on Dec. 17, 2011, according to court records.

A second suspect in the attack, Marvin G. Finklea, 27, of the same address as Leach, died five days after the murder from injuries sustained in an attempted carjacking the night of Granger's murder.

Authorities believe Leach and Finklea planned to rob Granger. According to court documents, Leach is accused of stealing an ashtray and scratch-off Lottery ticket from Granger's apartment.

Defense attorney D.J. Tegeler wants Kane County Judge John Barsanti to quash Leach's Dec. 17, 2011 arrest as well as ban from evidence any videotaped statements she made to Elgin police about the incident and fire at Granger's apartment in the 0-99 block of Times Square.

Police are required to videotape interrogations and confessions in murder investigations.

But like Miranda warnings, in which authorities tell a person they have the right to remain silent, an arrestee also can request not to be videotaped, Tegeler said.

"It's my position they should have added one more (sentence) saying, 'You have the right not to be videotaped,' " Tegeler said, acknowledging that Leach did sign an Elgin police form indicating she was informed of her Miranda Rights.

Prosecutors and Tegeler are expected to make arguments in court Jan. 18.

Leach has been held on $1 million bail since her arrest and faces between 20 and 60 years if convicted in Granger's murder.

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