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Too Fat To Kill

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Hackensack, New Jersey (My9NJ) - Ed Ates made headlines when his defense attorney suggested he was simply too overweight and too weak to murder his daughter’s ex-husband, Paul Duncsak. Ates was convicted of waiting in the basement stairwell of Duncsak’s Ramsey, New Jersey home where he jumped up several stairs, fired 7 shots with a pistol without missing, and then drove over 21 hours to Louisiana within the next 24 hours.

Well, according to his attorney, Walter Lesnevich, that simply wasn’t possible for Ates because of his physical condition.

“Mr Ates was 60, 5’8, 300 pounds, with asthma, grossly obese, terrible shape,” he said.

Ates was convicted based on three pieces of circumstantial evidence as well as a wiretapped phone call. Lesnevich claims that the circumstantial evidence would not have been enough to convict his client on their own. These included the fact that Ates had purchased a lock picking set, and the victim’s home lock was picked. In addition, he purchased information on how to make a silencer, and there was a silencer used in the murder. And lastly, he purchased a book on “how to commit the perfect murder”.

Lesnevich feels the only piece of damning evidence was a wiretapped phone call between Ates and his sister. In the phone call, Ates allegedly asked his sister to corroborate his alibi. Ates was on his cell phone in Florida during the phone call, and his sister was in Louisiana. The prosecutor obtained a warrant from a NJ judge and tapped into the phones from NJ.

The NJ wiretapping law allows you to wiretap anyone, anywhere in the country who is on a cell phone, as long as the person wiretapping the call is in NJ, and as long as you have the appropriate warrant.

“That means they can wiretap anybody talking to anyone anywhere,” Lesnevich said,

Lesnevich believes this practice is unconstitutional and against our 4th amendment rights which protects us from unreasonable search and seizure.

“I think it’s unreasonable to say that when I’m in my home a judge from some other state can control whether I’m wiretapped or not,” Lesnevich argued.

The NJ Supreme Court agreed to hear his appeal based on this. On Tuesday, Lesnevich will present an oral argument that affirms the wiretapped conversation of his client should not have been admissible evidence, and that his client deserves a new trial.

Ates is now serving time for the rest of his life in maximum security Trenton State Prison, but has always maintained his innocence.


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