District Attorney Questions Interrogation of Candler County’s ‘Naked Bandit,’ Statements Deemed Inadmissible

Statements made by the headline-garnering ‘Naked Bandit’ in Candler County have been deemed inadmissible in court. The statements were made during an interrogation in which a man was under a ‘10-13 hold’ and was in a ‘suicide turtle suit,’ public records show.

In April 2023, an individual donned ‘the naked bandit’ was entering homes and cars…while naked…in the city limits of Metter in Candler County. The bandit’s identity and intentions remained unknown until New Year’s Day of 2024, when the bandit struck again – this time in an allegedly armed home invasion with a violent sexual assault. Travis Tremayne Jordan was identified by law enforcement, but remained on the run for roughly three weeks, deemed ‘armed and dangerous.’

On January 23, 2024, Jordan was arrested by the Statesboro Police Department on outstanding warrants for Aggravated Sodomy, Armed Robbery, Home Invasion, Kidnapping, Possession of a Firearm/Knife During the Commission of a Felony, Cruelty to Children in the 3rd degree (x2), Burglary -1st degree (x3), Entering Auto with Intent to Commit a Felony (x2), Theft by Taking, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Public Indecency (x3), and Criminal Trespass (x7). He was turned over to the Candler County Sheriff’s Office and held for further court action.

Bond for Jordan was denied at his first appearance hearing, citing the nature of the charges. Three weeks later, on February 19, the case was indicted by a Candler County Grand Jury and following procedural court appearances, Judge Bobby Reeves ordered a mental evaluation for Jordan.

But it was a motion filed by the District Attorney’s Office that is noteworthy in the case of the naked bandit. On April 15, 2024, Middle Circuit District Attorney Tripp Fitzner filed a Motion in Limine ‘Regarding the Defendant’s Custodial Statement.’ A Motion in Limine is a court filing which addresses information that could be prejudicial, irrelevant, or inadmissible in a case, usually over concerns about unduly influencing a jury or hindering a fair trial. It is very unusual for these types of filings to be made by prosecutors and even more so for the elected district attorney himself.

Court documents do not state specifically what concerns prosecutors had with Jordan’s interview, but jail records do shed some light.

Jail Documentation on Mental State of Jordan

TheGeorgiaVirtue.com recently filed an Open Records Request for documents from the Candler County Jail, seeking the intake report, any documentation which would reflect a hold, or any paperwork which would denote Jordan’s condition at the time of his arrest. 

On the ‘Jail Management – Intake Report,’ there is a hold, which says ‘Hold for Candler County Sheriff’s Office (phone #) PLEASE DO NOT RELEASE.’

As is standard, investigators with the Metter Police Department were notified of Jordan’s arrest, due to the incidents occurring within the city limits of Metter. Subsequently, Investigators Kris Storey and McKinley Lewis went to the jail to take Jordan for an interview.

The jailer working at the Candler County Jail, however, appears to have objected to Metter PD taking Jordan for questioning and went as far as to document concerns in writing about Jordan’s mental state. 

Specifically, a typed statement appears on Candler County Sheriff’s Office letterhead in which it is noted that Metter PD was made aware that Jordan was ‘under a 10-13 and dressed in a suicide turtle suit.’ The document reads: “Metter Police Investigators are still wanting to interview him. They will be taking responsibility of him. They are taking him from the jail to Metter PDs interview room and will have someone with him at all time. Metter PD understands they are not [sic] give him anything at all, and Metter PD understands the seriousness of the suicide watch and 10-13.’

To ensure that Metter PD was aware of the concerns, the jailer had investigators sign the written document with the date and time. View the PDF

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Jordan was in the custody of Metter PD for almost three hours.

Jackson-Denno Hearing Before Judge Reeves 

After Fitzner filed the Motion on Jordan’s statement, Judge Reeves scheduled a Jackson-Denno hearing for May 10. Both Storey and Lewis were subpoenaed to attend.

A Jackson-Denno hearing is a hearing that is used to determine whether a defendant’s statement to law enforcement or confession was voluntary and can be used as evidence in the trial. In these hearings, judges consider everything from whether the defendant was informed of their rights, was threatened, was promised leniency, and was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It’s based on a case that made its way to the United States Supreme Court in 1964, so it is not a new concept for law enforcement to adhere to or for the courts to consider. The concept is even outlined in online copies of Student Handbooks from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center, where law enforcement officers receive their certifications and continuing education training. 

The hearing, however, did not take place because on the morning of May 10, attorneys announced a consensus: the defense counsel agreed with the district attorney that the statements made during the interrogation could not be used at trial. Everything from the near three hour period with investigators is inadmissible.

The Metter Advertiser wrote last week that Fitzner reported to the newspaper that the interview “was inadmissible because the defendant had unequivocally invoked his right to remain silent.”

Status of the Case

The inadmissibility of the statements made to Metter Police does not impact Jordan’s bond or the status of the case. Judge Reeves has scheduled Jordan’s trial in Candler County Superior Court for the first week in February of 2025.

Jordan’s previous felony conviction stems from a felony drug charge in Tattnall County dating back to 2013.

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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