Judge denies Pierre Collins request to see son's body

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pierre Collins’ lawyer asked a judge Thursday afternoon to order the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office to allow Collins to visit the funeral home to say goodbye to the son he is charged with murdering.

After a 10-minute hearing, Hennepin County District Court Judge Tanya Bransford denied the request.

“I am not aware of any legal right to see his son prior to burial,” Bransford said. “I’m denying it because of the risk to public safety.”

Collins, dressed in the orange jail jumpsuit, listened quietly as his lawyer, Shawn Webb, made the request. Webb said he wanted the judge to authorize the sheriff’s department to transport Collins to the funeral home where he could go to a secure room and “say goodbye to his son” Barway Collins.

Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Amy Sweasy told Judge Bransford that she opposed the request, pointing out that this would be a furlough from his $2-million bail and not at all similar to other inmates being transported to the hospital for treatment of something like a broken foot, as Webb had suggested. She said there was no legal precedence for Collins’ request.

“During points of the investigation, law enforcement had to know where Mr. Collins was and it wasn’t always easy,” Sweasy said. “So the request should be denied because, A, it presents an unreasonable flight risk and, B, just having Mr. Collins out there, the propriety of the request. He is under $2 million in bond because he is charged with murdering his son. To do something for his convenience is troubling.”

Barway Collins went missing from his Crystal apartment March 18 and his body was discovered in the Mississippi River on April 11. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged Pierre Collins with second-degree murder in his son’s murder based on cell phone records, surveillance video and other evidence.

His next court hearing is scheduled for May 14