Attorney says Fast’s rights were violated

Statements from 2007 interview could be thrown out

nalund@bradenton.comFebruary 17, 2009 

BRADENTON — During a June 30, 2007 interview, accused killer Thomas Fast reportedly told a detective that time was not on his missing stepmother’s side.

With his murder trial now approaching, Fast’s lawyer, Franklin Roberts,s plans to ask a judge to toss statements from that interview, claiming Manatee County Sheriff’s Office detective Ricardo Alvarado improperly interrogated Fast.

Fast, 54, has pleaded not guilty to murder and robbery charges in connection with the death of his stepmother, Susan Fast.

He is set for trial at the Manatee County Judicial Center on March 23.

Roberts doesn’t want a jury to know about his client’s statements and says they should be thrown out because Fast’s Miranda rights were violated.

“Detective Alvarado continued to engage the defendant and to question him after he had clearly invoked his right to counsel and to remain silent,” Roberts wrote in a Feb. 12 motion to suppress.

During the interview at the sheriff’s office on U.S. 301, Alvarado tells Fast he is under arrest, then asks him if he understands his rights, including having an attorney with him during questioning.

“Yeah, for right now I need one appointed to me,” Fast responded.

The rest of the conversation, reports show, went like this:

“Having these rights in mind, do you wish to talk to me now?” Alvarado said.

“To be honest with you I’d like to but ... I am going to have to refuse that,” Fast answered.

“You want an attorney?” Alvarado asks again.

“Yeah, I think that would be in everybody’s best interest ... Susan’s the one that’s screwed for it,” Fast said.

“Why is she screwed?” Alvarado responded.

“Because of the time factor in getting her back, well, wherever she’s at.” Fast said.

Circuit Judge Gilbert Smith will ultimately decide if a jury hears the statements.

As of Monday, a hearing on the matter had not been set.

Susan Fast was last seen June 29, 2007, when she returned home from the Bahamas. Her dismembered body was found in garbage bags July 25, 2007, in a storm drain next to a pond behind a Lakewood Ranch shopping plaza.

Fast, who doctors say has experienced mental health problems since 1981, was indicted in August 2007 on a first-degree murder charge.

In February 2008, prosecutors announced they would not seek the death penalty against the former funeral home embalmer and Army paramedic. If convicted of first-degree murder, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

Earlier in the June 30, 2007 interview, the day after his stepmother disappeared, Fast reportedly spoke as if his stepmother had already been killed.

“You’ve accused me of murdering her and there ain’t no way I’d kill, I’d kill Susan,” Fast told detectives.

At no point before Fast’s statement did detectives say anything about the possibility of her being dead.

They said they simply wanted to know her whereabouts and if she was safe.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service