Assistant District Attorney Paul Newman is seeking a court order to obtain the password for the iPhone belonging to one of the men charged in a January double murder at Walmart parking lot.
Danarius Coleman and his brother Demetrius, Antioch residents originally from Chicago, are accused in the Jan. 29 shooting deaths of Latre Lillard, 19, and Andre Chesterfield, 19, of Murfreesboro. Their bloody bodies were found in the store parking lot off Old Fort Parkway and Thompson Lane.
Murfreesboro Police turned the defendant’s iPhone over to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for processing.
“TBI says without a password on an iPhone, we can’t open it,” Newman said.
If the phone is sent to Apple to be accessed, the company can retrieve the data, but it will be erased from the phone, according to Newman’s court request. Obtaining the password from the defendant would be the best way to obtain information for the prosecution and the defense, Newman said.
Should Coleman refuse to provide the password, the state would seek judicial approval for a search warrant to obtain the information by sending it to Apple for downloading, according to court documents.
The cell phone of Danarius Coleman is considered central to the case for several reasons. The defendant showed his girlfriend cell phone video of blood and brains in their car and glass shot out, according to her court testimony.
Murfreesboro Police found one victim’s cell phone, and the last number it received was a 733 area code matching Danarius Coleman’s cell phone number, according to MPD Detective Larry Maples’ testimony.
Detectives arrested Danarius in Antioch and traced Demetrius to Chicago by using his cell phone number, Maples said in court.
Danarius denied knowing the shooting victims and told police he didn’t know how their number got in his cell phone, Maples testified. In fact, Danarius told police he had never been to Rutherford County.
Maples’ said his investigation found that Chesterfield and Danarius Coleman met Jan. 25 and exchanged several calls and text messages over the next few days.
Cell phone records showed the defendants and victims exchanged text messages shortly before the time of the murder, and cell tower records traced Danarius Coleman’s phone to the Walmart parking lot, according to Maples.
Danarius and Demetrius Coleman are no longer being represented by the attorneys they had during General Sessions Court proceedings, according to Newman. Tillman Payne represented Danarius and Derrick Scretchen represented Demetrius.
The assistant DA said he asked the court to appoint Murfreesboro attorney John Taylor to represent them, but his firm has a conflict of interest involving the victims.
Newman said he will make another request for the court to appoint counsel for the defendants so the case can proceed.