DES MOINES, Iowa – A former Mason City man serving life in state prison has lost his case before the Iowa Court of Appeals.
Warren Edward Purvis was convicted of first degree sexual abuse, willful injury and domestic abuse (strangulation) charges for assaulting his ex-girlfriend in December 2012. He was sentenced to life in prison for the sex abuse, 10 years for the willful injury and five years for the domestic abuse charge, all to run concurrently.
Purvis appealed his conviction, arguing that incriminating statements he made to Mason City Police should be suppressed, because he was either not advised of his Miranda rights or did not knowingly and intelligently waive those rights. He also asked for a mistrial, because a witness against him referred to Purvis being in jail, despite a ruling that any testimony that Purvis was incarcerated be excluded from trial.
The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled that when police first questioned Purvis, he was not in custody and officers were not obligated to advise him of his Miranda rights. The Court also ruled that when Purvis was interrogated at the police station and was read his Miranda rights, he was not incapacitated by drugs and alcohol he had previously ingested, and knowingly waived his rights and signed a confession. Finally, the Court also found the single reference to Purvis’ incarceration did not prejudice the jury to the point where a mistrial was required.