The Times
  • Utter: ‘I told the truth’ in wife’s shooting death

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  • A former New Jersey man says he told police the truth about killing his estranged wife in Forestport, so he has no desire to stop his potentially incriminating statements from being used at trial.
    Larry Utter, 49, firmly insisted on waiving his right to a pre-trial hearing Wednesday that would have explored whether there was any legal basis to suppress any of the 12 statements he made to police after his wife, Stacey Utter, was shot to death inside their rural home on June 11.
    “I just don’t want to rehash everything,” Utter said in Oneida County Court. “I told the truth of exactly what happened … I was honest with everything. I have nothing to hide.”
    After calling 911 at the time, Larry Utter had said his wife’s death was an “accident,” despite the fact she had been shot twice with a pump-action shotgun. State police charged him with second-degree murder several days later, but the details of the shooting have not yet been made public.
    Utter is now scheduled to begin trial on Monday, Dec. 2.
    Judge Michael Dwyer repeatedly asked Utter whether he understood the possible consequences of allowing all of his statements to be used at trial without first scrutinizing their legality, but Utter said he’s willing to take that risk.
    “I do not think that this is in your best interest,” Dwyer warned.
    Still, Utter said he did not want a hearing that would have questioned seven police officers about the circumstances surrounding statements he made at his residence, on the way to police barracks, on the way from the barracks to the hospital, and then at the hospital.
    “I know what I told them,” Utter said. “I told them the truth.”
    Utter’s attorney, David Cooke, said he has told Utter that “he was nothing to gain” by canceling the hearing. Such proceedings, Cooke explained, give the defense an opportunity before trial to discover any problems with the prosecution that could later be used to Utter’s benefit.
    “Issues, if they do exist, may come out at the hearing, so that’s why you have a hearing: to see what the witnesses say,” Cooke said. But, “at the end of the day, whether statements are harmful to him is a fact for the jury to decide.”
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