A Millville man’s arrest in the shooting of an Atlantic City police officer was based on an illegal search, his attorney said Monday.
Martel Chisolm, now 30, and Demetris Cross, 29, of Bridgeton, are charged with attempted murder and robbery offenses in the Sept. 3, 2016, incident that left Officer Josh Vadell with a gunshot to the head, and a third suspect — 25-year-old Jerome Damon — dead.
But attorney Robin Lord said Monday that Chisolm was tied to the crime by the illegal search of the deceased man’s phone.
A hearing to suppress that evidence, along with one that will question statements given that led to a search warrant, will be held Dec. 7.
Cross’ attorney, Brad Wertheimer, has joined in the motions.
The three men were allegedly robbing three Atlantic City youths when two officers on patrol drove by.
Officer Josh Vadell was shot as he exited the vehicle. His partner, Thomas McCabe Jr., returned fire, striking Damon.
Damon collapsed a few blocks away, where he was found dead.
But as officers investigated, Damon’s phone rang and the name Chi came up, according to information released in court.
How that name was tied to Martel Chisolm is not quite clear, Lord said. And, the search of the phone was illegal, she told Superior Court Judge Benjamin Podolnick on Monday.
Lord said she was given different sources for the identification, from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office to the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office.
“It’s like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall,” Lord told the judge. “Every time I ask a question, it’s ‘look here,’ ‘look there.’”
“It was a horrific situation,” she said of the shooting that left the officer in critical condition.”But the 4th Amendment doesn’t get suspended. My client’s rights don’t get suspended.”
Both suspects were briefly in court seated next to one another as Podolnick set up a schedule in preparation for the Dec. 7 hearing.
They did not speak.
Vadell has made great strides in his recovery from the shooting. He recently retired.
A grand jury cleared McCabe in Damon’s killing.