Former Prosecutor

Lying to federal authorities such as the FBI is a crime that is punishable by up to five years in federal prison. Over the past year or so, many people have become aware of this crime due to recent highly publicized cases that have filled the headlines relating to the ongoing Special Counsel’s investigation of foreign interference in the 2016 election. Indictments have been unsealed relating to multiple defendants pleading guilty, being sentenced by a judge and sent to prison for this crime. Others await sentencing after negotiating plea deals for this crime as well as others.

However the same circumstance doesn’t apply for lying to local or state law enforcement authorities. It’s important to know that difference. Although statements you make to a police officer (true or false) can be used and held against you in a court of law whether your Miranda rights have been read to you or not at the time your statements were made, but the act of telling a lie in itself is not a crime. 

Those who have visited my Website, or read articles here on my blog have been educated strongly to never speak when questioned by police or any other type of law enforcement authorities without an attorney present. It is also crucial not to volunteer information. This instruction is imperative whether an arrest has been made or the possibility of one may be pending. Even if police believe you’re only a witness to a possible crime you have the right to say nothing to them if they question you until an attorney is present.

Main Suspect of Brutal Murder Apprehended in Spain

In the May issue of this blog I posted an article relating to what has been called a vicious murder conspiracy that took place in close proximity to the Everglades in Northwest Miami-Dade County in 2011.

The five men that were implicated in the attack that took the life of Camilo Salazar were all prominent in their own way by virtue of their professions or their business savvy. Based on the evidence found at the scene of the crime, Mr. Salazar was apparently intolerably tortured before his death occurred

Updating an article that was posted on this blog in mid-February, a North Lauderdale woman was sentenced to forty-one months in federal prison after the judge in the case determined that a tougher punishment for the crimes she committed was warranted.

Normally, in cases such as these some type of restitution and penalties are always assessed by the judge but it’s rare that such a harsh sentence is imposed. In fact, most of those that plead guilty to the crime she was found guilty of usually get a minimal sentence or even probation if their previous criminal record is fundamentally unsoiled.

Background

When writing articles for my blog I try to find stories which are interesting, current, deal with cases in South Florida and hold the reader’s interest. In many cases the stories that are told are left incomplete before a final resolution has been decided.

In a variety of these articles, I’ll leave the reader with the words “check back here” for further updates. With that in mind I’ll bring readers up-to-date on some of the cases that were unresolved at the time of their original inception and their completion at the time they were written.

On May 28, 2017, I posted an article titled:

The mission of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) as specified on their Website “is to work in partnership with local communities to protect the vulnerable, promote strong and economically self-sufficient families, and advance personal and family recovery and resiliency.”

The Courts that oversee cases brought by DCF in South Florida are known as Dependency Courts and will bend over backwards to keep young children together with their natural parents. In cases of parental abuse, although evidence will be weighed to remove a child in some cases, the overwhelming decision of the court is keeping a family united.

The Florida Dependency Court Information System (FDCIS) is a web-based case management system that provides the Court with resources to receive up-to-date information for what has been signaled to DCF to be potentially abused and neglected children. Its other function is to assure timeliness of court events. This system basically provides the court with what is deemed to be reliable data which is entered into the system to assist judges in making proper decisions. The system also utilizes data exchanges with various other agencies.

Alexis Vila Perdomo is a Cuban born two-time World Champion wrestler and 1996 Olympic bronze medal winner who defected to the United States via Puerto Rico in 1997.

Perdomo and Manuel Marin were friends from their days living in Cuba and Marin assisted his friend with coming to the mainland, gave him a job and helped him open a wrestling studio. He later went on to coach wrestling at Michigan State University. Based on an arrest warrant which implicates the two men and others with conspiracy to commit murder and other charges, Perdomo considered Marin to be his mentor.

At the time the alleged murder took place; Perdomo was featured as a mixed martial arts fighter (MMA), performing on the Florida regional circuit and then the Bellator circuit as well as with other MMA organizations. He previously served a three-year sentence after authorities mistakenly believed his actions to be attempted terrorism when he accidentally crashed his car into an area of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. He was ultimately charged and pleaded guilty to the felony of airport violence. Prior to his conviction his primary defense was that he suffering clinical depression at the time of the incident.

In the early morning hours this past February Cesar Cepeda lost control of his pickup truck by the on-ramp at the intersection of the Dolphin Expressway and Florida’s Turnpike. He was able to move the vehicle onto a grassy area on the side of the highway. Unable to restart the vehicle, he called his father Jose for assistance. His father promptly arrived to help his son. As the two men were standing on the side of the road by their vehicles, another car veered off the highway, striking and killing the two of them.

The man who ran into the father and son then left the 2014 Camaro he was driving and took off with the father’s Chevy Equinox. The SUV was later found that same day abandoned in the town of Homestead.

DNA evidence left at the scene found in and on the suspect’s car matched a man named Earl Lewis, of Homestead and led to a manhunt that went on for nearly a month. The Florida Highway Patrol began their search for Lewis assisted by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office as well as the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

As 2017 was coming to a close the last act performed by Marlin Joseph was allegedly murdering his 36-year-old girlfriend, Kaladaa Crowell and her 11-year-old daughter Kyra Inglett.

After the double murder occurred, Joseph went on the run taking Cromwell’s gray 2012 Toyota Camry. The BOLO (Be on the lookout) issued by authorities specified that the car Joseph was last seen driving had a Bethune-Cookman specialty license plate BA0MJ. His description signified his hair styled in short dreadlocks, a cross tattoo between his eyes, as well as a large tattoo on the right side of his face. He was listed at 5’10”, 180 lbs. wearing khaki pants with no visible shirt at the time of the shooting. Police were concerned that he might have changed his appearance.

A five thousand dollar reward was offered by the US Marshal’s Service in conjunction with the West Palm Beach Police Dept. for any information leading to the whereabouts and capture of Joseph, but no one cashed in on the money when the Marshals tracked him down without any help from the public. Joseph was found hiding in an apartment complex in Lake Worth through what the Marshal’s service touted as their normal investigative process. He was taken into custody on New Year’s Day wanted on two counts of first-degree murder.

A North Lauderdale woman was jailed last month after a jury found her guilty of ninety counts of stealing federal funds. The jury deliberated for approximately thirty minutes before finding her guilty of all charges in Fort Lauderdale federal court. Her sentencing hearing is set for April 5, 2018 when she can be sent to federal prison for up to ten years. Additionally, she will most likely be slapped with a fine of up to $250,000 in addition to restitution of the stolen money and at least three years of supervised release after her sentence is served.

She was represented at trial by a Federal Public Defender.

Myriam Etienne illegally accepted more than $130,000 in Social Security benefits which were directly deposited into a bank account she jointly shared with her grandparents. For more than a decade Etienne illegally received her grandfather’s benefits as well as receiving her grandmother’s payments after she also died.

The four boys were attending a party in Homestead when they apparently got bored and decided to leave. They drove around the area for a while in Quentin Vicks’ Ford Taurus stopping at a liquor store before moving on to the area of Mr. Vick’s neighborhood of Hidden Grove.

At the same time the four young men were en route to the South Miami apartment complex. Robert Nelson was making his rounds for his employer; 50 State Security, in his company car. He had previously worked as a flight attendant before taking the armed yet un-uniformed security job. Their paths crossing ended in tragedy with the ambush style murder of the security guard.

Nelson was well liked at the apartment complex which was located at the intersection of Southwest 271 Terrace and 138 Avenue close by to the Crystal Learning Center. One neighbor who was interviewed recalled Nelson helping his wife to the door of their apartment in the late night hours when it was very dark outside. “He shined the light on my doorway so my wife could come up the steps,” the neighbor said. Others living in the complex also had only good things to say about the security guard.

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