COEUR d’ALENE — A First District judge took under advisement a motion to suppress evidence in the case of a Post Falls 18-year-old accused of injecting a woman with the methamphetamine that caused her to overdose, bribing a witness and shooting at an occupied house.
After listening to arguments Monday in a Coeur d’Alene courtroom, Judge Cynthia K.C. Meyer said she would wait for a video from public defender Anne Taylor before she makes a decision on whether to suppress evidence found in a cellphone that police confiscated from Kyler R. Bengtson.
Bengtson, who is known to police as a drug dealer, according to court documents, is charged with four felonies including aggravated battery, intimidating a witness, drug delivery and unlawful discharge of a firearm at an occupied residence. He is in the Kootenai County jail on $100,000 bond.
Taylor argued Monday that the cellphone Post Falls police investigators snagged from the roof of a car where Bengtson placed it during his arrest was not legally confiscated by officers, who later got a warrant to search the phone for evidence to corroborate Bengtson’s charges.
“Cellphones are often (the target) of fishing expeditions, to see what’s there,” Taylor said. “There was no evidence of a crime. It was in plain view; (detectives) couldn’t tell you if it was the same phone that (the defendant) used six weeks before.”
Prosecutors said the phone was seized legally and a search warrant was later issued by a judge.
“They did everything really properly,” deputy prosecutor Rebecca Perez said.
According to court records, detectives surveilled Bengtson for months before an indictment gave them cause for his arrest. The 18-year-old allegedly has a long history of selling drugs. At a party last year, he allegedly gave a female methamphetamine by injecting it into her anus — called a booty bump. She overdosed, but survived. Her friends stole Bengtson’s pickup truck in retaliation, and he shot at the Post Falls house of one of them, court records say. The bullet traveled through a wall into a bedroom, where it struck a man in the foot.
Much of the evidence used in Bengtson’s indictment has not been made public.
While he was in jail, Bengtson was trying to have his relatives pay off witnesses to prevent them from testifying against him, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The cellphone evidence was just one piece in the trail of evidence that public defenders want suppressed. In an earlier hearing, public defenders asked the court to suppress evidence in which Bengtson’s firearm was seized during a traffic stop. Defense attorneys have asked the court to not lump all the charges into one case because they say it is prejudicial, and that the charges are the result of separate incidents.
A July 1 jury trial has been scheduled in Coeur d’Alene.