Defendant details fatal shooting

Jurors at murder trial played video of interview with police

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

Derik Maples sat in an interview room at the Portland Police Bureau. His head was down.

At first, Maples dodged the questions fired at him by the Vancouver Police detectives.

“Were you the shooter?” John Ringo asked.

“No,” Maples mumbled.

Were you there during the shooting?

Maples said nothing, but started crying. After nearly a half hour of more coaxing and conversation from Ringo and Detective Lawrence Zapata, Maples talked about the Dec. 1, 2009, shooting at the S&S Mart in Vancouver’s Rose Village that killed 45-year-old Clement Adams of Vancouver.

His videotaped confession, which was given in Portland because that’s where he was captured, was played for jurors Thursday afternoon in Clark County Superior Court.

Maples, 24, is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder as an accomplice to convicted shooter Justin Tyler, now serving 32 years in prison.

Trial began Oct. 10 and the case could go to the jury Monday.

Ringo, the lead detective on the case, is expected to be the state’s final witness. Defense attorney David Kurtz is expected to make his case Monday.

In the taped interview, Maples first appeared reluctant to talk, saying, “I don’t want nothing to happen to me.” The detectives implored him to accept responsibility and give his account.

Maples eventually did so. He told them how he received a phone call earlier in the day to engage in a drug deal. He thought the potential buyer was acting suspicious by calling from a restricted number, so Maples brought along his friend, Tyler, as security. Tyler brought a handgun.

Why the gun, the detectives asked.

“In case something like that happened,” Maples said, indicating a drug deal going bad.

As he started talking about meeting the buyers — two strangers — Maples started crying again. He said that when the buyers arrived at the convenience store, he climbed into their Chrysler. Tyler stood outside as lookout.

Maples said the men handed over obviously counterfeit bills. “When I got out of the car, I said, ‘He robbed me,’ ” Maples said. “And (Tyler) just shot.”

The detectives asked him what he thought as he and Tyler fled through an alley. “It’s a situation that you really don’t have time to think,” he said.

Now, what did he think, one of the detectives asked.

“This can never be taken back,” Maples said.

“Do you regret it?” Ringo asked.

“Yeah, I do,” Maples said. “Every day.”

The videotaped interview was cut short at the end of the day. It will resume Monday.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.