Witness-tampering alleged in homicide case
Two members of a defense team representing a Spokane man accused in the 1984 killing of a store clerk in Utah were arrested Tuesday and accused of tampering with witnesses.
Salt Lake City attorney Richard P. Mauro, 46, and investigator Theodore T. Cilwick, 51, are representing Wade Garrett Maughan, 50.
Maughan was living in the West Central neighborhood until last month – when authorities tied him to a 21-year-old robbery and homicide case near Brigham City, Utah. The investigation into the case was energized earlier this year by DNA evidence.
Spokane police Sgt. Joe Peterson said two witnesses told police Tuesday that Mauro and Cilwick ordered them not to talk to law enforcement.
“Our department will just not stand for any tampering of any witness whatsoever,” Peterson said. “They can have their client take the Fifth, but you can’t say that to witnesses.”
The case against Mauro and Cilwick was rushed, said Roger Peven, who leads the federal defenders’ office in Spokane and represented the pair in court Tuesday.
“It will be shown to be a misunderstanding, and it will be shown that these individuals acted as ethically as anyone could expect,” Peven said. “Under no circumstances did they tell these individuals to not talk to police.”
Mauro is a former president of the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Peven said. Both men have worked in their field for about two decades and have not been accused of such ethical violations before, Peven said.
The investigation into Maughan’s defense team started when Spokane Police Detective Mark Burbridge contacted Maughan’s girlfriend Tuesday at the request of a Box Elder County deputy, according to a court affidavit. The woman told Burbridge that earlier Tuesday Mauro and Cilwick told her not to cooperate or talk to police.
Burbridge also contacted a man who had spent time at the Spokane County Jail with Maughan while he was waiting to be extradited to Utah, the affidavit states. He told police he had the same experience.
Peterson said the case moved forward because statements from the girlfriend and the former jail inmate each were corroborated by a witness.
“At least one of the people they talked to claims that the investigator claimed to be a police detective from Utah,” Peterson said.
Peven said the men identified themselves truthfully and police contacted his clients from a business card they provided to the witnesses. He also said it doesn’t make sense that Cilwick would represent himself as a member of law enforcement while at the same time telling them not to cooperate with police.
“Both of these events can’t occur simultaneously,” Peven said.
Mauro and Cilwick were booked into the Spokane County Jail Tuesday and released Wednesday on their own recognizance. Each faces two felony counts of witness tampering.
Prosecutors in Utah announced last month that they would seek the death penalty for Maughan and Glenn Howard Griffin, 47. Griffin and Maughan are alleged to have stabbed and beaten Bradley Newell Perry, 22, to death in May 1984, the Desert Morning News reported. In July, Griffin was serving time in a California prison when charges were filed against him the Perry death.
Peterson said that when confronted with the crime by Box Elder County, Utah, sheriff’s detectives, Maughan admitted being involved.
“He claimed he was there and blamed most of it on the other guy, and the other guy is doing the same thing,” Peterson said.