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Triple murder suspect to stand trial

A trial date has been set for a triple murder and rape suspect who had part of his confession recently thrown out by the a Utah Supreme Court ruling.

Edgar Tiedemann, 61, was brought into 3rd District Court in a wheelchair and sat quietly while Judge Judith Atherton set his case for trial on Feb. 25.

Last June the Utah Supreme Court ruled that Tiedemann only partially invoked his Miranda rights, but his statement, "I don't want to talk about it," was too vague to be taken that he didn't want to talk to police without an attorney. Attorneys for Tiedemann also pointed out that, at the time, he was intoxicated on paint thinner and had mental problems.

Tiedemann is accused of shooting three people in his West Valley trailer in 1991 — killing two of them that day — and then raping a surviving woman.

Charging documents state Tiedemann took two guns and shot Susie Sessions, her 14-year-old son Scotty Sessions, and Chuck Timberman, the boyfriend of Susie Session's sister. Scotty Sessions was paralyzed but survived, only to die two years later as a result of his injuries.

During questioning, Tiedemann said he was enraged by Susie Sessions' rejection of his romantic advances. Debrah Southerland survived by playing dead for two hours while her boyfriend died next to her from his injuries. She later told police when he found her alive Tiedemann raped her near her boyfriend's dead body. She was carrying Timberman's child at the time.

Southerland managed to escape by talking Tiedemann into taking her to a friend's home to buy him cocaine.

Tiedemann initially was found mentally incompetent to stand trial and was committed to the Utah State Hospital. In 2002, a funding problem caused Tiedemann to be released from the state hospital, forcing the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office to refile three counts of first-degree murder. However, due to the length of time that had passed, much of the physical evidence in the case was destroyed by West Valley police.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that much of Tiedemann's confession to police can be allowed as evidence at trial. However, his statements regarding Susie Sessions would not.

Prosecutors say despite the limitations on the confession and the destruction of physical evidence, the state still has plenty of evidence to take Tiedemann to trial.