Glum attempts to suppress statements
The attorney for a woman accused of killing her newborn daughter says the woman's statements to law enforcement shouldn't be used in court because officers were not diligent enough in getting information about her mental health.
Defense attorney Tim Purdon argued Tuesday that Gennifer Glum's statements to detectives during an hour-and-a-half interview while she was in the hospital should be suppressed, as her guardians did not consent to waive her Miranda rights.
Glum, 28, was charged in December 2007 with Class AAfelony murder for the Dec. 6, 2007, asphyxiation death of her newborn daughter. She has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
According to a police report, Glum gave birth to a girl at her home in north Bismarck around 4 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2007. Glum's father called 911, and the infant was taken to Medcenter One and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The state medical examiner performed an autopsy on the child, and preliminary reports classify the death as an asphyxiation-related fatality. Glum was arrested on Dec. 11, 2007, and charged with murder on Dec. 12, 2007.
Glum was found by a judge to be an "incapacitated person" in Nebraska in 2005. Her parents were appointed to be her guardians, and she has lived with her father in Bismarck since then. Her mother lives in Nebraska.
Sharon Knutson, a nurse consultant working for Purdon's office, prepared an affidavit documenting Glum's mental health problems. The affidavit indicates Glum has struggled with a litany of diagnoses, including depression, anxiety disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizoaffective disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and personality disorders.
Glum's IQ tested at 75 when she was 18, which is considered in the borderline range, according to the affidavit. Her IQ tested at 86 when she was 26, which is in the low average range of intellectual functioning.
Bismarck Police Detective Scott Betz testified during the hearing about his interview with Glum while she was in the hospital following the child's death. Betz said the coroner informed him and another detective that Glum may have some mental health issues after telling them her daughter's death did not appear to have been a miscarriage. Glum told Betz she was on antidepressants and thyroid medication.
The interview with Glum included several breaks, and Betz said he asked her several questions to try to gauge her mental state. He said she did not answer inappropriately, given the situation.
Purdon questioned whether Betz had obtained enough information about Glum's mental health early in the interview and about whether he had adequately addressed the issue of whether she was competent to be questioned with no one else present. He also said it appeared officers may have been coercive in their interrogation techniques with Glum.
Betz said he had no reason to believe Glum was under a guardianship and was surprised to learn about the situation the next day.
"I guess I was kind of shocked," he said.
Purdon asked South Central District Judge Tom Schneider to first consider whether Glum could waive her Miranda rights. Without her parents' signing off on it, the waiver she signed was "not a real and valid document," Purdon argued. He said the next topic to consider was whether Glum's agreement to talk to law enforcement was voluntary, knowing and intelligent.
Waiting until the last part of the interview to ask about Glum's mental health was problematic, Purdon said.
"That is not acting in good faith," he said. "That is not a reasonable way to approach this."
Burleigh County Assistant State's Attorney Cynthia Feland argued Betz had no reason to believe Glum was under a guardianship, as many of the warning flags Purdon pointed out, such as that she lived with her parents and had depression, are not unusual circumstances. She said the officers were not coercive during their interview with Glum and seemed to be pushing for her to be honest with them.
"It isn't unduly harsh," she said.
Feland also pointed out that Glum informed her parents during a phone call in the midst of the interview with Betz that she was speaking to a police officer. Her parents did not tell Glum to stop talking to him, she said.
Schneider said he would take the matter under advisement and issue a ruling later.
Glum, who attended the Tuesday suppression hearing, is free upon posting a $50,000 cash or surety bond. Her trial is slated for Aug. 7.
Purdon filed a notice in April 2008 that said Glum intends to use defenses of lack of criminal responsibility and lack of state of mind required for the alleged offense. The notice said Purdon plans to introduce evidence at trial from an examination by mental health professionals to support the defenses.
(Reach reporter Jenny Michael at 250-8225 or jenny.michael@;bismarcktribune.com.)