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Fayette County inmate's bids for dismissal of homicide charge rejected by judge

Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Chalsee Hughes of Duquesne, Allegheny County, is led out of District Judge Joseph Dalfonso’s courtroom in Monessen on Dec. 27, 2012. She faces charges of criminal homicide and conspiracy in the death of Chris Fincik of Monessen on Dec. 3.

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Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
 

A Fayette County jail inmate whose own words were used to show he knew his phone conversations were monitored has lost bids to have statements suppressed and a homicide charge dismissed.

Jonathan Keith Godines, 36, of Brownsville is accused of homicide in the Dec. 1, 2011, death of John Eicholtz, 75.

Brownsville police allege Godines beat Eicholtz on Nov. 15, 2011, outside the Brownsville House apartments on High Street as Eicholtz was delivering cigarettes to a tenant. Eicholtz was taken to UPMC Mercy hospital in Pittsburgh, where he remained in a coma until he died, police said.

In a pretrial motion, Godines asked Judge Gerald R. Solomon to exclude from trial statements he made in phone calls from the jail. Godines claimed he did not knowingly waive his right to self-incrimination. In addition, Godines wanted the homicide charge thrown out for lack of evidence.

In denying both requests, Solomon noted that Godines signed a prison form advising him that his calls were monitored. In addition, he was warned of monitoring via a recorded message at the start of all phone calls.

In an opinion and order, Solomon pointed out that Godines acknowledged he was aware that his calls were monitored during a phone conversation that was recorded at the jail.

“During the call, defendant even acknowledged that his phone call was being monitored, stating, ‘Deputy Warden Croftcheck. I just told him good morning. That's who monitors my calls. Checks to see if I incriminate myself,'” Solomon wrote.

Solomon wrote that any incriminating statements Godines may have made in other calls from the jail are admissible because Godines was not being “interrogated” by police at the time, meaning he did not have to be given his Miranda warnings.

In one of the calls, which prosecutors played during a Sept. 25 hearing before Solomon, Godines tells an unidentified woman that she is at fault for his predicament.

“I am facing the rest of my (expletive) life because I got to be a jealous (expletive) rage because you want to be a (expletive) trick,” Godines told the woman during the phone call. “It is my (expletive) fault because I can't control my (expletive) jealous (expletive) rage. It is your fault for being a (expletive) trick.”

Solomon denied the request to dismiss the homicide charge, noting that not only did Godines tell police that he kicked and punched Eicholtz, but several witnesses testified that they saw Godines beating Eicholtz.

Godines remains in the county jail without bail, pending trial.

Liz Zemba is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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