[Deathpenalty]death penalty news --- N.Y.
j_sommer at gmx.net
Wed Jul 28 09:44:59 CDT 2004
death penalty news
July 28, 2004
NEW YORK --- federal death penalty possible:
Bronx men may face death penalty
Two men who were part of a murderous cocaine and heroin-trafficking ring in
the Bronx could face the death penalty after being convicted in federal
court yesterday on a host of charges, including the 1999 murder of a man
they suspected was a police informant.
The federal jury in Manhattan acquitted Alan Quinones and Diego Rodriguez,
both 38, of a charge of murder in aid of racketeering, which potentially
carried the death penalty, and a count of conspiracy to commit murder in
aid of racketeering.
Neither man showed any reaction as they were convicted of operating a
narcotics enterprise, racketeering conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy and
distribution, as well as murder in connection with a narcotics conspiracy.
That final charge could bring the death penalty.
The jury is to return today to begin hearing testimony for the penalty
phase of the case.
According to prosecutors, Quinones and Rodriguez were part of a drug ring
based near 170th Street and Vyse Avenue in the Morrisania section.
Prosecutors say Quinones and Rodriguez killed Edwin Santiago on June 27,
1999, because they thought he was a police informant. They later burned the
body of Santiago, who had been cooperating with police.
The two men were convicted four years to the day after the charges were
made public against them in July 2000. The case was delayed after U.S.
District Judge Jed Rakoff, who presided over the trial, tossed out the
charges, ruling the federal death penalty unconstitutional.
Rakoff cited a spate of death row inmates cleared through recently
developed DNA testing.
A federal appeals court, however, reversed Rakoff, saying the U.S. Supreme
Court had upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty.
Although it will be up to the jury to decide whether the crimes warrant the
death penalty, Rakoff still has control over what evidence he will allow
the jury to hear.
After the verdict yesterday, Rakoff said outside the jury's presence that
he was reluctant to allow prosecutors to put on a witness who had initially
identified Quinones as the man he had seen kill another man while driving
in a car.
When prosecutor David Rody argued that the man should be allowed to
testify, Rakoff interrupted, saying, "Certainly the court cannot be
oblivious to the fact that eyewitness identifications have been
extraordinarily suspect and have been the cause of mistaken death penalty
Rakoff said he would rule this morning about the evidence.
(source: New York Newsday)
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