Motions hearing paves path to Jacob Cayer murder trial

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A man charged with killing two women in Hobart three years ago is back in court Wednesday as he moves closer to an oft-delayed trial.

Jacob Cayer is accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend and her mother in June, 2016.

His trial has been delayed over and over because Cayer was found to be not competent enough to stand trial.

Last week, the defense made a motion to suppress some evidence and statements during Cayer's trial.

Deputy Nicholas Nerat with the Brown County Sheriff's Office provided testimony about his version of events on the night of the crime. "I was called to assist with a possible disturbance involving weapons and a knife."

Nerat's role involved following the suspect, later identified as Cayer, to the hospital where he was treated after the arrest.

"It would be in my best interest to video and take photographs to a: preserve evidence either verbally, any utterances he might have made. I also wanted to make sure I got shots of his body condition," he said.

He started recording on his work iPhone, and the device captured Cayer saying, 'I plead the fifth,' as a nurse worked to get his name and information.

For that reason, the defense argued the statements made by Cayer in questioning later on in the night should not be used as evidence in the case.

When Brown County District Attorney asked Deputy Nerat if he recalled hearing the suspect invoke his Miranda Rights, he answered: "I don't recall hearing that at the time, no."

"When Mr. Cayer, who is a layman, is in this environment when it would be clear to anybody that you're in custody, and he's asked a question, he makes a statement that I think is very clear, 'I plead the fifth.' That statement is captured on audio and video tape," said Anthony Cotton, Cayer's attorney.

"I believe that legally an invocation has to be made to a law enforcement officer not just to an invocation randomly made to a citizen who is not acting as an agent of a law enforcement officer. She is a nurse working in the healthcare profession. She is providing him care in the ER," said Lasee.

Nerat added that there was no formal questioning happening at the time of the phrase which was part of a series of statements he characterized as "gibberish."

Sergeant Zach Holschbach of the Brown County Sheriff's Office described "back and forth conversation" with the suspect on the night of the murders during his testimony on Wednesday. He says he reviewed the Miranda Rights with Cayer two times throughout the course of that conversation, and he says both times those rights were waived.

Brown County Circuit Court Judge William Atkinson ultimately sided with the prosecutors by ruling: "I'm going to deny the motion to suppress."

"The judge made a ruling. We always respect the ruling the courts make. It wasn't the ruling we were asking for," said Cotton in an interview after the hearing ended.

Cotton says he will be busy reviewing evidence in the months ahead.

A jury trial in this case is set for the week of October 7, 2019.