GLADSTONE - A trial scheduled for next month was postponed until next year for a Bark River man accused of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The decision was made during a hearing Tuesday when two other requests were also considered by the court.
Statements made to police by defendant Alec Jeffery VanEnkevort, 20, during an investigation of an alleged sexual assault can be used in court, ruled Delta County Judge Stephen Davis during the motions hearing.
A Michigan State trooper interviewed VanEnkevort at his apartment on Feb. 8 in regards to allegations he had sex with a girl without her permission. The night before, the trooper had interviewed the victim at OSF St. Francis Hospital about the alleged incident.
VanEnkevort's attorney, Trent Stupak, had filed a motion to suppress in court the statements that were made by his client to police on Feb. 8 because he was not read the Miranda rights and because of conditions under which he was interviewed.
Earlier this year during a preliminary examination in district court, Trooper James Polley testified VanEnkevort admitted to police he had nonconsensual sex with the girl. The police interview took place at 5 in the morning in an unheated commons area outside VanEnkevort's apartment.
Polley took the stand during Tuesday's hearing and repeated his testimony, saying VanEnkevort told officers the girl did not give him permission to have sex with her and said no to sex.
Judge Davis denied the motion to suppress the defendant's statements which were voluntarily given to officers and therefore can be used in court. Davis also said police questioning was not abusive and there was no problem with the room temperature during the interview.
Following the police interview, VanEnkevort was arrested for criminal sexual conduct and lodged in the county jail. He was later released after posting a cash bond. Third-degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony which carries a maximum sentencing of 15 years in prison.
Earlier during Tuesday's hearing, Davis agreed to change VanEnkevort's trial date from Sept. 18-19 to Jan. 15-17, to allow the forensic scientist to testify during the jury trial.
The witness was unable to be in court on the previous date.
At the request of the defense, Davis also agreed Tuesday to shorten VanEnkevort's curfew from 7 p.m.- 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.- 6 a.m.