A Florida judge denied a motion to suppress information after a suspect allegedly confessed to drugging a young woman, who later passed away inside her hotel room.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 21-year-old Christine Engelhardt, of Pennsylvania, died last month inside her hotel room at the Albion Hotel in Miami Beach. Her death is being investigated as a homicide. Police arrested Evoire Collier, 21, and Dorian Taylor, 24, both of Greensboro, North Carolina, in connection with Engelhardt’s death.
Collier, according to NBC 6, pleaded not guilty during a court hearing last Monday. His defense lawyer also filed a motion to suppress the state’s evidence, including Collier’s interview with law enforcement, in which he allegedly confessed to being in the room with the victim after his co-defendant gave her drugs.
“We’re only interested in one thing,” defense attorney Philip Reizenstein said, according to Local 10. “Our client having a fair trial.”
The defense also pushed to have security footage at the hotel room suppressed.
On Wednesday, Judge Mindy Glazer denied the request, but the defense has been allowed to file a motion to stay the decision.
According to court documents, both suspects are accused of drugging Engelhardt, then raping her inside her hotel room. First responders found the victim alone, semi-naked, and unresponsive after hotel staff called 911. They rushed her to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Investigators obtained security footage that ultimately led to the suspects. According to the Miami Herald, police first found Collier on Ocean Drive at Eighth Street, wearing the same pants he wore while on security footage at the Albion Hotel.
Collier reportedly admitted to investigators that he “met a girl” at a restaurant. The suspect said he later walked down Ocean Drive with Taylor and the victim and saw Taylor give Englehardt a “green pill.”
According to court testimony, this is the first time Collier has been in legal trouble. Family members are blaming his alleged partner in crime, Taylor, for having a bad influence over Collier. They said Collier recently moved into an apartment with Taylor in Greensboro, prior to the Miami trip.
Collier confessed he walked to the victim’s hotel room with Taylor, with the intention of having sex with her. Security footage on the night in question showed Taylor holding the victim from behind because she was too intoxicated to walk straight.
“She was actually staggering a little bit, and at one point co-defendant, Taylor, held her..behind her, around her neck, basically keeping her stable. We believe she was either intoxicated or drugged, and she could not give consent for them to actually go with her,” Miami Beach Detective Luis Alsinae previously told the court.
Jail reports indicate that Collier was on suicide watch. Both men remain behind bars without bond.
Engelhardt traveled alone to Florida for Spring Break, but it wasn’t unusual since “it wasn’t out of character for her to want to explore alone,” friend Samantha DiFrancesco said. It’s unknown why she specifically chose Florida as her destination.
“Anyone who knows this beautiful girl knows that she had the biggest heart there was and her laugh was nothing short of memorable,” DiFrancesco said on a GoFundMe fundraiser page for the victim. “She would do anything for a person in need and was always fun to be around no matter what.”
The cause of death is still pending. Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Christine Engelhardt/Facebook]