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Judge moves Bonners Ferry chiropractor murder trial to Kootenai County, quashes subpoena of victim’s widow

UPDATED: Fri., April 2, 2021

Bonners Ferry is photographed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Bonners Ferry chiropractor Daniel Moore is accused of killing fellow chiropractor Brian Drake on March 12, 2020.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
Bonners Ferry is photographed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Bonners Ferry chiropractor Daniel Moore is accused of killing fellow chiropractor Brian Drake on March 12, 2020. (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

The trial of a Bonners Ferry chiropractor accused of killing another chiropractor in town has been moved to Kootenai County.

Daniel Moore is charged with second-degree murder for the killing of Brian Drake. Moore’s trial had been slated to begin in Boundary County in April.

While Boundary County District Court Judge Barbara Buchanan indicated a backlog of cases in Kootenai County would lead to a delay in the trial’s start, she did not set a new date for it to begin.

Buchanan rejected an effort by Moore’s defense attorney, Jill Bolton, to collect documents pertaining to Drake and his wife’s financial history, potential infidelity and a life insurance policy.

Katharine Brereton, an attorney representing Jennifer Drake, argued Bolton’s subpoena was “unreasonable and oppressive,” would invade her client’s privacy and would deny her “dignity and respect.”

Bolton, however, argued the information sought in the subpoena would turn up “evidence that law enforcement should have found … that’s exclusively in the possession of Jennifer Drake.”

Such evidence, she told Buchanan, could have “great bearing” on her defense of Moore and might be a tool to impeach the credibility of Jennifer Drake as a witness.

“Impeachment of a witness is one of the most critical tools a defense attorney has,” Bolton said.

While Bolton acknowledged the perception that a “widow has been picked on,” she also argued “that’s not what we’re doing. We’re not trying to harass her. We’re trying to get information that the state didn’t give us.”

But Brereton pushed back.

“Regardless of whether or not Mr. Moore is just trying to build his defense, Jennifer Drake’s motive and Jennifer Drake are not on trial here,” Brereton said. “She’s not just purported to be a victim. She, by statute, is a victim. Her husband was murdered. Daniel Moore was charged with that murder. … She is entitled to dignity, she is entitled to respect.”

Buchanan determined that the various pieces of information sought in the subpoena were not relevant to the case against Moore.

“It does appear to the court that this is a fishing expedition,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan also considered a motion from Boundary County Prosecutor Tevis Hull regarding the judge’s recent decision to suppress Moore’s confession to killing Drake by firing a gun through the closed blinds of his chiropractic clinic in March 2020.

Buchanan found the “confession was not voluntary, but rather, was the product of police coercion,” according to her February ruling.

Hull acknowledged in court that Moore’s rights had been violated when law enforcement ignored his multiple requests for an attorney, and he did not ask Buchanan to reverse her decision to suppress the confession.

What he did want her to do, he said, was rule it was voluntary and not coerced.

“We’re only talking about whether this is a voluntary statement,” Hull said.

At stake, Hull suggested, was whether a determination of coercion could “be used for impeachment purposes” against investigators at trial.

Buchanan said she would consider the arguments on this point and issue a written decision.

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