RIVERSIDE, Ohio (WDTN) – As Riverside Police detectives publicly name William Coker as their one and only suspect in the murder of Cheryl Coker, legal questions are starting to arise.
Legal experts say that by naming William Coker as the main suspect in the case, the Riverside Police Department could face some legal challenges down the line.
Tom Hagel, a law professor at the University of Dayton, says it’s rare for police to release a suspect’s name in a news conference with no warrant or arrest.
Detectives cited new, undisclosed evidence that is leading them to believe Cheryl is dead.
“We can’t speak about what we plan to do. We have a game plan. Again, we are extremely confident in this investigation,” said Detective Travis Abney on Tuesday.
Hagel says the clock is ticking and it’s ticking fast for law enforcement. The longer William Coker is free, the higher the chances for legal backlash.
“If he’s never arrested and tried and all that stuff, I think he’s got a good basis for a defamation suit,” he said.
Detectives maintain that William Coker has distanced himself from the case since his wife went missing in early October, even denying a polygraph, which is something Hagel thinks is not worth a public plea.
“They said, ‘Well he refused to take a polygraph test, which makes us concerned.’ That’s bizarre, because polygraph results are not admissible in court,” Hagel said.
As of Wednesday, there is no warrant out for William Coker’s arrest.