The state’s highest criminal court on Wednesday rejected Meagan Work’s bid to suppress statements made to police, including a confession, in the 2014 death of her 2-year-old son.
The ruling by the Court of Criminal Appeals, made without comment, upholds a 2016 decision by the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals that allowed prosecutors to introduce at trial statements Work made to Cedar Park police during 26 hours of questioning about the disappearance of her son, Colton Brandt Turner.
That 3rd Court ruling reversed a Travis County district judge’s decision that barred prosecutors from admitting Work’s interview into evidence.
In addition to conflicting accounts of how Colton died, the suppressed statements included a confession in which Work described helping her boyfriend, Michael Turner, bury the boy’s body in a shallow grave in South Austin, court records show.
State District Judge David Wahlberg said Cedar Park police illegally arrested Work when they detained her in an interview room and told her she could not leave. The 3rd Court agreed that Work was under arrest when questioned by police but concluded that the arrest was legal because it was apparent that she had lied to investigators when she said her son was with an out-of-town friend.
Police had probable cause to arrest Work because they knew, for example, that the child was not with the friend and that Work “had texted her friend telling her to lie to police about where (Colton) was,” the appeals court said.
Colton’s body was found Sept. 12, 2014, two days after police began questioning Work about his location.
Work, charged with tampering with physical evidence and injury to a child, has pleaded not guilty and refused the prosecution’s offer for a 50-year prison sentence.
Turner was sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty in 2016 to injury to a child by reckless omission and two charges of tampering with evidence.