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Dec 30, 1998

Police witnesses can’t make I.D.

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It was obvious that Commissioner of Police Ornel Brooks either didn’t believe or didn’t want to believe the witnesses who came forward to support the two suspects’ alibis. He preferred instead to rely on the testimony of witnesses whom he claimed positively identified the men as the killers. At a press conference shortly after the arrests Brooks told the media that his investigators had busted the case wide open and he had evidence that would make the charges stick.

Ornel Brooks, Commissioner of Police

(May 18, 1998)“With regards to the matter of the identification itself, we’ve got witnesses. In the case of Teul, had identified him prior to the incident proper when he was in the vicinity of the robbery scene prior to the actual occurrence. We’ve got witnesses who have testified to us, signed statements that yes, Teul had taken off his mask, wiped his face during the robbery, proper. And we have got witnesses who have identified both Vasquez and Teul in the getaway vehicle. So in effect Teul himself has been identified before, during and after.”

What happened to Brook’s witnesses? And what about the alleged forensic evidence that was said to link Urbina’s pistol to a shell casing from the crime scene? According to the D.P.P. none of the witnesses produced by police could positively identify any of the three suspects nor could the FBI confirm that Urbina’s pistol was used in the holdup or murder. Although the three suspects are now cleared of any involvement in the crime Urbina will be returned to prison to serve the remainder of a sentence for firearm violations while Vasquez and Teul will be deported for immigration violations.

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