A man who admitted to murdering his girlfriend and her two young children may end up a free man over the way police handled his arrest. Edward Covington, 35, admitted to murdering the three of them during a crack cocaine and vodka-fueled rage on Mothers Day in 2008, “ripping” his girlfriend in half and cutting off her seven-year-old son’s penis before killing him. But because police refused to let defense attorneys see Covington, his attorneys may be able to have his murder confession thrown out of court. Prosecutors are currently pushing for the death penalty, but this would be highly unlikely without his confession.
Prosecutors say that when they arrived at the murder scene, Covington’s body was covered in scratches and his feet were wet with blood. He was taken to a local hospital and the ambulance officer on the scene described him as “psychotic.” New court documents claim that the Sheriff’s Office refused to let public defense officials visit Covington in the hospital days after his arrest. However, deputies maintain this was legal because he was “detained” at that time and not arrested.
Public Defender Julianne Holt has argued in court that Covington’s constitutional rights were violated. “You’re entitled to an attorney as soon as you’re in custody or under arrest,” she said. “To deny that he was in custody is, I think, very foolish on their part. It flies in the face of common sense.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge William Fuente is expected to make a ruling next month about whether or not the confession will be allowed to stand.