Police in Texas reported today they received a tip that Skeletal remains found in rear yard of Dennis Anderson. The police knew that Anderson had been convicted in the 70s of a double murder but was paroled years later from his life sentence. After the investigation, the remains of a woman were found in a big barrel with black paint. Anderson is missing and has not been located.
What can we ask about this story? Two things came to my mind. First, can the police just go into his rear yard without a warrant? Is the rear yard part of the house that requires a warrant? Secondly, if the police were allowed to enter the rear yard without a warrant, did they need a separate warrant for the barrel if the barrel was sealed shut?
I do not know the law in Texas regarding warrant requirements, but if the police thought that a person was dying in the rear yard, they can walk in the rear yard to listen for a person who needs help or to search for a person who needs help. This is would be an exigent circumstance. However, once they get into the rear yard and there is no living person in the yard, there is no exigency so they most likely need a warrant for the barrel if its closed. If there are any Texas criminal defense attorneys, please comment.