Judge rules on police procedure in murder case

A St. Joseph County judge has ruled that police did not use proper constitutional procedure during a search following a dismemberment case in Sturgis.

Wade Allen, 35, was arrested in the May 2019 case and charged with murder, dismemberment of a corpse and failure to report a death.

At a hearing Wednesday in St. Joseph County Circuit Court, Judge Paul Stutesman said authorities in effect coerced Allen to let them search his North Maple Street apartment. Inside were two coolers containing the dismembered remains of girlfriend Kelly- Jien Warner-Miller, 42.

After review of body-cam transcripts of police, defense attorney Dave Marvin argued Fourth Amendment search rights were violated.

St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough argued there were pressing circumstances that would allow the search.

Stutesman gave both attorneys two weeks to brief arguments on the validity of the subsequent search.

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