• Judge rejects dismissal demand in Motel 6 murder

    By: Essex Porter

    Updated:

    SEATAC, Wash. - The man accused of murder at a SeaTac Motel 6 will remain behind bars, despite problems with the prosecution's case.

    That's a relief to the family of murder victim, Justin Love, but painful for the father of the accused, Rodney Wheeler who believes his son is innocent.

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    The murder happened two years ago this month.

    An argument in the parking lot of a SeaTac Motel 6 ended in gunshots.

    Construction worker Justin Love was shot and killed. 

    We reached his sister at her Prineville, Oregon home.

    “It's one of the biggest holes that is never going to be filled,” Amie Love Hamilton said.

    Two months later Rodney Wheeler was arrested for Love's murder.

    Wheeler was in court today as his lawyers asked Judge Bill Bowman to dismiss the case.

    In court documents, a defense expert said detectives failed to follow up when two Motel 6 employees identified two alternative suspects in Love's murder.

    And he said King County detectives failed to preserve and examine all of the Motel 6 video surveillance recordings.

    Criminal justice professor Gregory Gilbertson concluded that there were “numerous acts of investigative and prosecutorial malfeasance.”

    Judge Bill Bowman ruled that there was enough evidence to go forward despite any mistakes by detectives.

    “The defense would have to make a showing that (detectives) acted in bad faith in not preserving this evidence and I don't think that that showing has been made. So, for those reasons I'm going to deny the motion to dismiss for destruction of evidence.

    It was the decision Jason's sister had prayed for.

    “Oh my God, thank God,” Hamilton said when KIRO-7 informed her of the judge’s ruling.

    But the family of Rodney Wheeler remains heartbroken. They believe an innocent man has spent two years in jail.

    Asked what he was say to Love’s sister, Wheeler’s father Candies responded, “I'm sorry that your brother got killed, but we didn't do it. That's all I can tell her.”

    The case is scheduled to go trial on Aug. 20.

     

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