Man charged with murder involving body found near Bismarck Runnings appears in court

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BISMARCK, N.D. - The attorney for a man accused of murder is trying to suppress some evidence against his client. Thirty-four-year-old Morris Brickle-Hicks is scheduled to stand trial in July.

Forty-year-old Misty Coffelt's body was found behind the Runnings store in Bismarck a year ago. Shortly after, Brickle-Hicks was arrested and charged with her murder.

His attorney called for Wednesday's hearing to discuss an interview conducted by Bismarck Police detectives and clothing obtained at that interview.

James Loraas claims the interview with Brickle-Hicks on the day after Coffelt's body was found took place under false pretenses.

He says his client believed police were talking to him about being assaulted, not about Coffelt's murder.

State's Attorney Julie Lawyer said police determined that Brickle-Hicks had not been assaulted, and he gave them permission to take his bloody clothing for testing.

The defense also contends that Brickle-Hicks may have had difficulty understanding what was going on.

"My client was put into a situation here under false pretenses. He was brought in on the idea that he was going to be interviewed about an assault that had happened to him. That information wasn't made clear to him," said defense attorney James Lorass.

"There are high stakes here, and Mr. Brickle-Hicks' only escape from those high stakes is to under report his cognitive functioning because that way he can get evidence suppressed and have a better shot at this case. It's clear from the assessments that were done that his cognitive functioning is greater than what he was reporting to both of the psychologists," said Lawyer.

The judge is expected to make his decision on the evidence in the coming weeks.