Due to “serious” misconduct by a Philadelphia detective, the 2013 Beats headset murder conviction was dropped

The Philadelphia man was sentenced to life in prison in the well-known Beats headset murder, and his conviction was revoked in court on Friday. A judge determined that this case, which originated in a fatal shooting in 2013, was damaged by the misconduct of a former homicide detective, who has a disturbing history, including his dealings with several individuals in cases investigated over the years. Allegations of sexual assault by suspects and witnesses.

The Philadelphia Public Complaint Judge Tracy Brandeis-Roman dismissed the 2015 conviction of 26-year-old Arkel Garcia, who was charged two days after Thanksgiving in 2013 Christian Massey was jailed for the fatal shooting.

District Attorney’s Office No recharge under these circumstances.

Messi, 21, was shot dead near Overbrook. He survived briefly afterwards and told the police that he was detained because of the $300 Beats by Dre earphones he had purchased on Black Friday the previous day. When he refused to hand over the headset to the attacker, Messi was hit in the torso and forearm several times. The gunman fled the scene without wearing headphones.

The case attracted local and national attention, partly because investigators described it as a motive for the robbery: the expensive and popular pair of headphones. Another striking element is the life story of the victim.

Messi is from West Philadelphia and has special needs.When he was 12 years old, his mother was struggling with drug abuse and he was sent to live in Tanguanella School, A residential care facility for children with intellectual disabilities operated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in Maple, Delaware County.

Later, he became mainstream at Maple Newtown High School, where he played basketball, lacrosse, and football before graduating in 2011.6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing more than 300 pounds, friends and family Describe Messi as a gentle giant, And them Rally to raise funds for his funeral And commemorate him.

In the murder trial, investigators brought up a case in which Garcia was the one who shot Messi, although no weapons were found, no DNA or fingerprint evidence, and no witnesses to determine the identity of the defendant.

Allegedly, Garcia has confessed the murder to the former Philadelphia police homicide detective Philip Nardo. This confession became the core content of the prosecution against him. Garcia and his lawyer Joshua Scarpello denied that he was a gunman and said he was not involved in the killing.

The video evidence provided by the prosecutor in the 2015 trial contradicted the details of the confession, and the video was of poor quality and did not show the shooter’s face or other physical details.

The 54-year-old Nodor was fired from the Philadelphia Police Department in 2017 after two years of trial, ending his more than ten-year career. Then the 2019 grand jury investigation found that Nordo Use his position of power to intimidate male witnesses And train them to have sex.

He is accused of displaying his guns during the interrogation and will allegedly arrange the handling of cases involving gay prisoners who are scheduled to be released from prison.

The report also accused Nodo of stealing approximately US$20,000 in city funds through false claims to provide rewards and other incentives to victims of sexual abuse.

In light of the rape and sexual assault allegations against Nordo, the Conviction Integrity Unit of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office established after Larry Krasner was elected began reviewing cases that the detective had handled, including the Messi shooting.

“The information known to this office about the alleged misconduct of former detective Philip Nordo usually involves allegations that he abused his power to sexually assault and train young men who are suspects or witnesses, and has never been disclosed to Garcia’s defense attorneys. This is a clear violation of his due process rights and the prosecutor’s oath to renounce the pursuit of justice,” said Patricia Cummings, head of the Conviction Integrity Department established by Krasner in 2018.

“If the jury at the time knew that Detective Nodo was suspected of abusing his power as a homicide detective to force witnesses and suspects to make guilty and unreliable statements, including his actions in this case—our investigation found—there was reasonable Possibility in our opinion, the jury will not convict Garcia,” Cummings continued.

DA’s investigation found that there were many problems with the evidence collection under Nordo’s leadership, and the DA government failed to disclose the allegations against Nordo in the past.

It also reiterated that there is no forensic or eyewitness evidence linking Garcia to the Messi murder. The case against Garcia relied mainly on a confession allegedly obtained by Nordo and other information about Garcia’s involvement in the robbery provided by a confidential informant.

Krasner’s office said: “The confession claimed by Garcia was obtained after he was detained overnight, and it was obtained after a two-hour unrecorded interrogation of Garcia after Noldo acted alone.”

Krasner’s office stated that as early as 2005, he knew about Nodor’s official pattern of misconduct, but this did not prevent him from being promoted by the police and often serving as a witness in homicide trials without disclosing his alleged sexual crimes.

At least eight homicide prosecutions and convictions related to Noldor’s misconduct have been rejected or revoked.

Krasner said on Friday: “As a prosecutor, his task is to reform an office and an institution. He has been plagued by uncontrolled abuse of power for decades. There is no reason for this to be celebrated.” Our office and the court believed that Garcia’s trial was fundamentally unfair, but when he was convicted of the murder of Messi, he was still serving his sentence in jail, which was related to the attack in the court.”

At the 2015 sentencing hearing, Garcia Argument with the deputy sheriff Later he pleaded guilty to a serious assault. He is still in prison for these crimes.

It is worth noting that after Garcia was convicted of murder, law enforcement agencies did not retain the Beats By Dre headset as physical evidence of the case. This prevented them from retesting using forensic techniques that were more advanced than those available at the time of the initial investigation. Krasner said that the retest of other evidence did not produce any new information.

“Mr. Messi’s family-he is said to be a promising young man who grew up in a challenging environment-has been hit hard by the criminal legal system, which not only did something wrong for the first time, but may be irreparable. This jeopardizes any chance of identification and brings those responsible for this heinous act of violence to justice,” Krasner said.

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