Among Scott Doll's statements the night Joseph Benaquist was found dead in his Pembroke driveway, was: "I was there, but I didn't do it.," his defense attorney Paul Cambria said during a motions hearing today
Cambria is preparing a defense to explain away any statements that Doll might have made the night of the killing, Feb. 17, that the prosecution could use as admissions of guilt.
Deputies found Doll walking along North Lake Road in Pembroke around 8:40 p.m. that night. According to initial reports, Doll was soaked in "fresh blood" and "dressed all in camouflage" and carrying a car jack, a screwdriver and a lug wrench.
None of those items, however, were used in the murder, and among Cambria's other motions were ones related to the insufficiency of evidence that led to Doll's arrest warrant and warrants for the search of his vehicles, mobile phone and home.
The murder weapon has not been found.
Cambria made it clear during the hearing that he doesn't believe Doll killed Benaquist and opened the door to speculation that a third person was present at the time of the attack.
"There is no way anybody could testify that (only) my client was present at the time of the crime," Cambria said.
Outside of saying that Doll said "I was there, but I didn't do it," Cambria didn't share what other statements Doll reportedly made that night, but he's clearly concerned that some statements could damage his defense.
Among claims raised by Cambria during today's hearing was that Doll wasn't read his rights properly.
Meanwhile, while stating that the defense will not make any attempt to claim insanity or mental defect, Cambria is asking that an expert witness, a psychiatric professional, be allowed to testify who will offer "an innocent explanation" of Doll's conduct and statements.
"We are not claiming at all (that Doll was mentally incapacitated)," Cambria said. "This is not a matter if 'I did it, however ... ' It's clearly a case of 'I didn't do it.'"
Cambria indicated that investigators improperly disregarded Doll's statement that he didn't kill Benaquist.
Due to the that statement not being fully considered, the timing and method of searches of Doll's van, as well as Doll's arrest without sufficient cause, call into question all of the warrants used in the case, according to Cambria.
The warrant application is "probably one of the most insufficient I've seen in my years," Cambria said. "It's kind of astonishing really that with no accusations in the warrant request that warrant could be issued."
First Assistant District Attorney David Gann took issue with Cambria's statements during his brief reply.
The warrant "provides numerous details that Mr. Cambria perhaps went by pretty quickly in his characterization of the warrant," Gann said. "It is lengthy and it is detailed."
Gann raised no issues of evidence or gave any indication of the prosecutions strategy during his reply to Cambria.
One of the defense's motions dealt with discovery and the issue of reviewing the medical examiners report. Gann said the report should be completed in three to four weeks.
County Court Judge Robert Noonan will issue a written opinion on all of the motions from today's hearing (many of them are routine and were submitted in writing only), but not until after a hearing, called a Huntly hearing, on the motion related to Doll's statements.
That hearing is scheduled for June 16 at 1:30 p.m.
UPDATE: Scott DeSmit obtained transcripts of Scott Doll's statements the night of the murder. Read his story for more details on Doll's statements.