SYCAMORE – A 28-year-old man headed to trial on charges of sexual assault of a woman and in connection with a string of burglaries testified Wednesday that he was coerced into signing a form to waive his Miranda rights, and that his rights weren’t given to him until after his interview with police.
Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert didn’t buy his story and shot down a motion to suppress statements Andre P. Cross-Boler made to police in May 2015 when he goes to trial at the end of February.
Cross-Boler, of the 800 block of West Taylor Street, faces charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault, home invasion and residential burglary. Both home invasion and aggravated criminal sexual assault typically are punishable by six to 30 years in prison. If he is found guilty of all the charges against him, he must serve 85 percent of each sentence consecutively, adhering to the state’s Truth in Sentencing law.
Cross-Boler was arrested in May 2015 in connection with a string of burglaries reported that month, as well as a home invasion in the
700 block of Haish Boulevard, where a woman told police a man broke into her home and sexually assaulted her while armed with a knife.
Three members of the DeKalb Police Department testified Wednesday afternoon about the details of Cross-Boler’s arrest May 15, the night he was interviewed for more than five hours at the police station.
Sgt. Michael Stewart, then a detective, said he read Cross-Boler his rights, verbatim, before the interview began, and that Cross-Boler signed and dated the form.
“I watched him read it, watched him sign it, and watched him date it,” Stewart said.
All testimony aligned, saying that Stewart interviewed Cross-Boler from about 7:45 p.m. until about 12:15 a.m. – with a nearly two-hour break in the middle – when Cmdr. Bob Redel joined Stewart and took over asking the questions. Stewart said that before he left the room, Redel brought up the pubic hair that was found at the scene of the crime, and that DNA evidence would prove he was there. Court records show that DNA was found on a Ziploc baggie, which the victim said Cross-Boler used during the assault.
Stewart said that while he was out of the room, from about 12:30 a.m. until about 1 a.m., Cross-Boler confessed and made incriminating statements.
The interview was not recorded because, as Redel testified, when asked for his permission to record it, Cross-Boler refused.
“I couldn’t record it without his consent,” Redel said.
Cross-Boler said it was first when Stewart re-entered the room that he placed the Miranda rights form in front of him and that Stewart didn’t read it aloud.
He also testified that both Stewart and Redel told him his child could be placed with the Department of Children and Family Services, and his girlfriend could be jailed if he didn’t sign the form.
“I felt like I had to sign the paper, that I was forced to sign the paper,” Cross-Boler said.
He also claimed that he heard an officer in another room telling his girlfriend and daughter what could happen to them.
Stuckert, who had to ask Cross-Boler to speak up multiple times during his testimony, denied the motion.
Next up for consideration is a motion filed by First Assistant State’s Attorney Stephanie Klein to admit evidence from other crimes in the trial.
That motion will be heard at 9 a.m. Jan. 26. Cross-Boler’s final trial setting is set for Feb. 22, and his trial is set to start Feb. 26. Because it’s one of three trials set to start that day, and two of them involve Cross-Boler’s public defender, Robert Carlson, the trial date could be changed.
The date has already been postponed twice, and Carlson is the second public defender to represent Cross-Boler. Chip Criswell previously represented him but withdrew in spring of 2016, when Cross-Boler hired Brian Erwin. Irwin withdrew in September 2016 when his and Cross-Boler's relationship "broke down," according to court records, and Carlson was appointed to represent Cross-Boler the following February.