Monday, March 17, 2008

Day Five: Testimony Ends Early

Judge Donalty ends session for today.

Judge says that the next witness will be NYSP Investigator Serrano. His testimony will include the playing of a composite of his interviews with Flaco. Judge wants to give more time to defense to work on the narative of that testimony.

Judge indicates that he expects the testimony will end Tuesday and summations could be done at that time. The jury could get the case by Wednesday.

Day Five: Why Flaco Was Arrested

On June 6th, at UPD, Flaco asked Kopek to go to lock up or Oneida Countgy Jail. Kopek says that Flaco asked several times, but the questioning went on.

Kopek says that he did not arrest Rivera for impersonation. Kopek is shown paperwork of arrest of Rivera for impersonation and felony drug charges. Kopek signed the paperwork.

In rebuttal, ADA Lisi asks if the paperwork shown him as evidence indicatdes that the charges were drawn up but never filed. Rivera was never charged.

Kopek is asked who first talked about the black car at the shooting. Kopek says that it came from a person on Neilson St. and not Rivera.

Kopek also is asked about if he takes despositions from everyoned they talk with. Kopek says no.

Kopek steps down.

Day Five: The White Vehicle Is Found

Kopek says that, when checking the flight plans of Jose Cirino, Kopek says they found the white vehicle. He says that they also spoke with the driver of that vehicle.

Kopek says that on April 17th, Flaco was not a person of interest in the Lindsay case. Kopek says that he did not know Syracuse authorities were told Flaco was a person of interest. Kopek says he was not a person of interest, but an associate of Rivera who needed to be spoken with.

Flaco became the prime suspect May 14th because of the info, inconsistency and details of his story.

Day Five: Kopek's First Interview With Rivera

Kopek talks about the interview with Rivera the night of the shooting. Rivera was telling about the traffic stop. After about 15 minutes, Kopek learned Lindsay died.

Kopek says that neither he nor Longo beat Rivera.

Kopek says that in the photos taken from the Diaz-Rivera residence, every person was ID'd except that the person Rivera said was Mahoon was actually Jose Cirino.

Mario Siera was a person who was arrested on April 12th and that a search warrant was obtained for Siera's residence.

Question is made if people in a photo from Diaz are giving gang signs. Kopek says that they may be gang signs, one of them from the Latin Kings.

Day Five: Kopek Questioned About ID of Flaco

Wittman asks why Kopek did not write in his notes about Rivera's ID of Flaco as shooter.

Kopek says that he was mistaken when he gave a date of when Rivera first talked about the black car. Kopek also says that the words Wesley Molina-Cirino dose not appear in his notes.

Kopek says he said nothing to Rivera when he drove Rivera to UPD the night of the shooting.

Day Five: Flaco Is Arrested

Molina-Cirino was arrested at the end of the interview.

Kopek says that the phone Rivera had the night of the shooting was taken.

Kopek says that the idea of a black vehicle associated with the shooting came up very early in the investigation.

Wittman cross exam starts with question on Kopek not being involved in taking the first statement of Rivera.

Kopek was not at second Rivera interview when Rivera ID the shooter. Kopek says that he did not meet with Rivera for two weeks after returning to Utica. It was at that meeting that Rivera first spoke of the black car. Rivera said there four people in the black car. Rivera IDs two of the occupants as Wesley Molina-Cirino and Luis Montos.

Kopek says that Rivera saw the car at least five times the day of the shooting. Kopek did not take a deposition from Rivera about the black car and its occupants.

Day Five: Kopek Interviews Rivera

Kopek got a call from Syracuse authorities to go to Syracuse for a meeting to interview Flaco. The request was made by the Onondaga DA office based on a request from Flaco.

Kopek met with Flaco and listened to Flaco's story. Trooper Serrano and interpretor Ramos did the questioning in spanish.

Flaco was giving info with his attorney present. No promises or understanding was made with Molina-Cirino. Kopek asked if they could meet with Flaco again and could they bring him to the site where the gun was supposed to be. That happened at a later date.

After May 14th, Flaco became the prime suspect.

On June 1st, Kopek met with Flaco at that time. They met for about an hour. Kopek said he wanted to get Flaco's story on paper. The lawyer said OK.

Kopek says they knew that Flaco was going to be released on the drug charges on June 6th. Molina-Cirino was taken back to Utica to talk with him more about the case.

They came straight back to UPD and brought him to an interview room. They room was equiped to record the interview. The room contained a large amount of evidence. The interview lasted five and a half hours.

Day Five: Kopek Was Lead On Lindsay Case

Kopek was assigned to be the lead investigatorf in the murder case of Lindsay. Kopek says there were 900 or so leads. UPD was not only agency working the case. State, local, county and federal invesigators were working it.

Kopek went to Puerto Rico looking for the person known as Mahoon, Natale Gonzalez. After speaking with him, they determined that the person in the photo they brought from Utica was not Gonzalez, but it was Jose Cirino. The two did look alike. They did find Jose Cirino and questioned him over two days. Records showed that Jose Cikrino was supposed to go to Puerto Rico April 12th, the day Lindsay was killed.

Prior to leaving Puerto Rico, Kopek was told Rivedra identified a shooter. Arround May 2nd, Kopek and Trooper Fallon questioned Rivera. They began to work on a case arround Flaco, Molina-Cirino.

Day Five: Robert Kopek Testifies

Robert Kopek is an investigator, Officer Cormotto, at UPD. He was working on the day Lindsay was shot. Kopek was at headquarters training a new investiagtor when he heard radio call for officer down. While enroute, Kopek heard call about suspect car stopped on John St. Kopek and his partner, the trainee, were the second car on the scene on John St.

Kopek says he heard Sammy Rivera say, "A guy in a white hoodie shot the cop." Kopek says that Rivera said that twice.

Kopek checked the interior of the car. He saw a child in a safety seat behind the driver seat. Kopek thought the child was dead. He checked on the child and saw that he was OK.

Kopek noticed that there was blood and brain matter on the drivers side of the red Neon car.

Kopek took Rivera to UPD headquarters. Rivera was brought to an interview room in the CID area at UPD.

Kopek says there was no conversation with Rivera in the ride back to UPD. Kopek and Investigator Longo questioned Rivera.

Kopek says that he worked closely with Lindsay.

Kopek says that Cormotto told him that Lindsay had passed away. Kopek returned to the interogation room with Longo and Rivera. Kopek says he was very upset and left the room to get himself calmed down.

Kopek moved on to get away from Rivera and joined Naomi Diaz in another room. He asked her about acquiantances of Rivera. She gave Kopek two named Wesley Molina-Cirino and a person named Mahoon.

Diaz gave permission to return to her house to get photos of these people. They got the photos.

Kopek says that the photos remined him of a traffic stop in Utica in August 2006. Kopek backed up a traffic stop and the occupants of that car were Wesley Molina-Cirino, Jose Cirino Aiella, the man accused by Flaco to be the shooter. Also in the car was Jose Cirino, the cousin of Molina-Cirino and another person.

Day Five: Recording Ends

Flaco says that the only people he knows know about the shooting are Jose, Sammy and Indio. When questioned about who else theses guys may have told about the shooting, Flaco says Jose hung out with blacks and he, Flaco, doesn't get along with blacks.

Wittman has no follow up questions. Court adjourns until 2:15PM.

Day Five: Break In Recorded Meeting

Flaco says he never handled the gun used to kill Lindsay. A few of the investigators leave the meeting.

Flaco repeats about not wanting his name to come out because he'd get in trouble.

Day Five: Flaco Talks About Lindsay

Flaco says he recognized Jose's voice on the speaker phone.

Flaco says that Lindsay had arrested him in 2001. He says Lindsay was a good person.

Flaco says he was at his house,talking with a cousin on the phone. The cousin told him he was on the street and there were plenty of cops out.

Flaco says that Indio told him about the shooting of the cop. Flaco says that Indio was a lookout for police at the time of the shooting. Flaco says the police officer had Rivera's son in his arms.

Flaco says that Lindsay got back in his car and Jose came up and shot him in the back.

Flaco says that Lindsay didn't get into problems with anybody. Flaco says he told UPD that Lindsay was a good guy. UPD picked up Flack on April 17th on an outstanding warrant. Flaco says he didn't tell UPD everything at that time because he was scared.

Flaco says that Jose Cirino was wearing a white hoodie.

Day Five: More Flaco and Indio

Flaco says he ran into Indio on James St., near Seymour. They were talking and about things and that's when Indio told him about the cop situation. Flaco says he told Indio that's your problem.

Flaco talks about the "river" where the gun was tossed. Flaco says that the water is wide and Flaco says the big boats go there. Sounds more like the Barge Canal instead of the Mohawk River.

Flaco says that while talking with Indio on James and Jose called Indio. Indio spoke with Jose on speakerphone and Flaco listened in. Flaco says that Jose told Indio that he threw the gun away and went to Puerto Rico.

Flaco says Jose stopped on the bridge and threw the gun away.

Day Five: Flaco Talks About Indio

Flaco says that Indio was in Utica police custody and didn't want to talk. Indio had told Flaco that Jose was leaving. flaco then retells the story about saying good bye to Jose. Flaco says that Indio told him that Jose killed Lindsay.

Flaco says that Indio was on the corner and Jose was running towards him. Indio was watching for police. Flaco says Indio told him that Jose "hit the officer" then he ran away and they got in a car and left.

Day Five: Flaco Talks About Gun Location

Flaco says that he can't describe where the gun is...he can show them. Flaco says the gun was in a bag and the bag was tied. He saw this at 1 o'clock in the early morning. Jose was in a white Nissan, belonging to Jose's girlfriend.

They were in Utica at Dudley and Arthur in Cornhill. Jose told Flaco he was leaving. flaco wsent to shake his hand and Jose said, "Look what I have here. I'm going to get rid of it." And then Jose left.

Day Five: More Recording

Flaco says he was at a cousin Maria's house on Dudley Ave. Flaco says it was near Square St. The Syracuse investigators are not familiar with the Utica Streets.

Flaco says he saw the gun on the day after Lindsay was shot. Jose had the gun. Jose showed him the gun, told him he was going to get rid of and and then leave for the airport to go to Puerto Rico. Flaco says Jose and his girlfriend wnet to Puerto Rico.

How did Flaco know Jose Cirino shot Lindsay...becaused Indio told him. Flaco says Sammy and Indio don't want to talk about the shooting.

It is hard to keep track of whick Jose's Flaco is talking about. Investigators are confused.

Day Five: More From Recording

Flaco describes the girl who was with Jose Cirino. Flaco says hed dfidn''t speak with Jose very much. He would go by the house to see flaco's girlfriend. Flaco says that it was a crack house.

Flaco is asked how he knows where the gun was thrown. Flaco says becaused Jose told him. Flaco says he knows where it is and he can show them. Flaco says that he wasn't there when the gun was tossed. He says that he was with Sammy Rivera's uncle Indio.

Flaco says Jose told him that he was going to buy a pistol. Flaco says thhat he didn't want to kn ow about it. Flaco didn't know where he bought the gun, but he knows he had it. He says he saw the gun about two times and Jose always had it on him.

Flaco says he doesn't want his name to come out because people in Utica will kill him.

Day Five: The Full Meeting

The Syracuse investigators do not have a good understanding of the North Genesee St. location Flaco is saying is where the gun was tossed.

Flaco says he doesn't want his name to come out in this. He would have a big problem.

Flaco says he found out about all this after "they killed the police officer." Flaco says that the "they" he refers to are Jose Cirino and Sammy Rivera.

Interpreter Ramos says that tghe Jose Cirino in volved in the Lindsay shooting is not the same Jose Cirino involved with him in the Syracuse drug deal.

It is quite confusing over if the Jose Cirino in Utica is a cousin or not. The Jose from Syracuse is a cousin and the Jose from Utica is not. The following referenses to Jose Cirino will regard the Jose Cirino Flaco says was involved in the Lindsay mirder.

Flaco says that Jose showed him the gun and that Jose told him he was going to throw the gun away and leave the country. Flaco says that Jose Cirino lived near Nichols and Lansing Streets in Utica.

Day Five: Weidman and Recording Info Cross Examined

After recess reagrding transaltion issues, court resumes. Judge explains that the recordings played by the ADA were selectded portions of the May 14th meeting with Flaco, in Syracuse. Defense attorney Wittman wants the full meeting to take place so that all previously heard snippets can be seen and heard in thedir proper context.

The playing of the recording will take a little more than an hour.

The recording is shown on several screens in the courtroom. The visual part is relatively small. Under is a text, in english, what is being said in the meeting.

This is the first part of the May 14th meeting, before Utica investigators arrived.

Day Five: Flaco Has Two Versions Of Learning About Shooting

Flaco says on the recording that he was on the phone with his cousin Jose the night of the shooting. His cousin told him he was on the street and there were planty of cops.

Flaco then says that his cousin Indio told him aboujt the shooting of Lindsay.

Flaco had earlier said that Jose Cirino and Rivera were involved in the shooting. He later says that when Lindsay took Sammy's ID and returned to the car, Jose shot him.

Flaco says he knew Lindsay because Lindsay had arrested him before.

Prosecution has no more questions of Weidman or recording to play. Wittman to cross examine, but asks to go to bench first. Judge calls for short recess.

Day Five: Flaco Changes Story

Flaco says he got the shooting info from his cousin Jose, which is different than what Flaco said before. Flaco says hed told Jose that Jose's involvement in the Lindsay shooting was Jose's problem and not his problem.

Flaco says that Jose told him that he was wearing a white hoodie and had his face covered.

Regarding Flaco getting info from Indio, Flaco says he met with Indio at Seymour Ave and james St the day after Lindsay was shot. He ran into Indio and they were talking. Flaco says that Indio talked about the murder and Flaco says that that is their problem.

Flaco says that Jose spoke with Indio by phone on Saturday. Jose called Indio and Flaco was listening on the speaker phone. Jose says on the phone that he threw the gun in the river and he was going to Puerto Rico.

Investigators question Flaco about the difference between the earlier story of Jose Cirino showing Flaco the gun and the story with Indio. Flaco says that the girl was driving the white Nissan and they stopped and tossed the gun.

Day Five: Flaco Says Cousin Dumped Gun

On recording, Flaco says that Jose Cirino told him he was going to dump the gun in the river and then left for the airport.

NOTE - this part of the May 14th meeting is before the Utica investigators arrived in Syracuse.

Flaco says that the gun was in a white Nissan that belonged to a girlfreind of Jose. It all took place late in the morning after Liondsay was killed. The meeting between Flaco and Jose took place at Dudley and Arthur Streets. Flaco said that he shook Jose's hand and Jose showed him the gun, said he was going to get rid of it and go to Puerto Rico.

Flaco says that Jose Cirino and Sam Rivera were the people involved in the murder of Lindsay. Flaco says that he learned about his cousin and Rivera's involvement from Flaco's other cousin, Indio.

Day Five: Recording Of Meeting Is Played

Recording of the meeting held on May 14, 2007, in Syracuse is played. Flaco is there with defense attorney Keller and interprerter Ramos. There are subtitles posted on the recording.

Flaco says he is wiling to give information regarding where the gun is. Molinia-Cirino says the gun is in "the river" It was thrown in the river under ther bridge. He says that the guns was thrown there by his cousin. Flaco says he was told by the person who took him to the site. Flaco says he told them that was their problem.

Flaco speaks in english about the location.

Flaco was asked if he ever actually saw the gun. Hed said yes, it was in a leather bag. He says his cousin Jose Cirino told him he was going to the river to throw the gun away. Jose Cirino left for Puerto Rico the following Saturday. Flaco says that a girl drove Jose Cirino to dispose of the gun.

How did Flaco know where the gun was tossed. Flaco says that Jose Cirino told him. Flaco says that he wasn't there when the gun was tossed.

Flaco described the gun as a 44 magnum. It was a big gun, black in color. Flaco said the gun had a rubbber grip. Flaco says he saw the gun at least twso times before and that Jose Cirino always had it on him.

Flaco says he was shown the gun on April 13th.

Day Five: Meeting With Molina-Cirino Is Recorded

June 6, 2007, Flaco was released from Syracuse authorities. Flaco was met by Serrano and otherf invesitagors and taken back to Utica.

Weidman identifies recording on DVD and computer hard drive of the meeting held with Molina-Cirino. Thoses recordings are entered as evidence. Judge calls ADA Lisi and defense attorney Wittman to bench. This is a long conference in which Judge Donalty is listening. Wittman in forcefull in her gestures regarding issues related to the playing of the recordings. Bench meeting ends.

Judge accepts recordings for limitged use. The DVDs contain the full meeting before and after the arrival of Utica invesigators. The third recording is a "compilation" from the meeting to highlight areas the DA wants to focus on. Judges says that the jury will have access to full meeting recording at a later date.

Because Wittman has transcript of full meeting and not the condensed version to be presented, Judge calls for a break so all can get on same page.

Day Five: Note On Serrano

Point of clarification, Invesigator Sam Serrano is a State Police invesigator. He lead the interrogation of Flaco, speaking in spanish.

Day Five: Stan Weidman Takes Stand

Stanley Weidman is a Senior Invesitigator at Onondaga County DA office. Was State Police invesiogator before that. May 14, 2007, Weidman took part in meeting with Molina-Cirino. Keller wanted it on the record, before the meeting, if info from Molina-Cirino gave useful information Onondaga DAs would not seek larger drug charges against Flaco.

Weidman says that Flaco would sometimes answer questions in broken english or begin before full intrepretation.

Day Five: Where's The Gun

Ramos says the meeting was at area near Mohawk River, not canal, near Denny's on North Genesee St.

Another meeting helf in June to go over what Flaco would do after Syracuse drug case was resolved. It was agreed that Flaco would return to Utica to continue to work with investigation of Lindsay case.

Ramos says that there were a few times when a simple question was asked in English and Flaco would begin to answer before interpretation.

No cross examination.

Day Five: Utica Police Join Meeting

Two Utica invesigators, Serrano and Kopec, arrive to join the meeting. Officer Serrano takes the lead in questioning Flaco. Serrano questions Flaco in spanish. Ramos says that it was accurate spanish being spoken.

Ramos says that Flaco did not ask to stop the questioning.

Ramos met with Molina-Cirino's Syracuse lawyer, Mr. Keller, in Utica at the area arround the bridge on North Genesee St. over Barge Canal. Flaco was at that meeting to show where Flaco said the gun used to kill Lindsay was disposed.

Day Five: Gabriel Ramos, Jr. On Stand

Mr. Ramos is a private invesigator. He has a business in Syracuse. Part of his business includes interprertation for defense attorneys in Syracuse. He was hired by Falco's lawyer in Syracuse when he was facing Onondaga County drug charges. ADA Colluza goes over Ramos credentials as a spanish speaking interpreter.

Ramos translated for Falco at meeting regarding Lindsay case. Ramos says that Flaco knew why he was at the meeting, to help Utica investigation in consideration for himself regarding to Syracuse drug charges. Ramos had no trouble understanding Flaco.

Meeting was video taped. There was a lengthy break in the meeting so Utica investigators could join the meeting. The break was at least an hour.

Day Five: Scholl Cross Examined

Scholl says that all questions to Flaco in the meeting went through interpreter. Scholl felt that Flaco had some understan nding of english, would start answers before interpreter finished. Molina-Cirino never answered in english.

Scholl is asked who she talked with to determine Flaco's level cooperation with Utica investigation. Scholl says she didn't speak with anyone, but knew he was working with Utica investigation. So, she gave him break in sentencing.

Day Five: Trial Resumes

Bridget Scholl is first witness. She is an ADA in Onondaga County, handling drug cases. She handled a felony drug case in Onondaga county in which Flaco and Jose Cirino were charged. April 2007 she was contactd by Federal Marshals related to Molina-Cirino. 4/18, Molina-Cirino was arraigned on his charges in Syracuse. Scholl knew that Molina-Cirino was a person of interest in the Lindsay case. A plea offer had been made to Molina-Cirino and rejected. At a later date Flaco's lawyer told Scholl that Flaco had information about the gun used to kill Lindsay, would the ADA be interested. Scholl said yes and a meeting was set. 5/14, a meeting was held involving authorities and Flaco.

Issues related to Flaco's understanding of english are addressed and Scholl indicates that Flaco has some understanding of english. Utica Police arrived to continue the meeting.

Flaco was sentenced on the felony drug charge and given time served. Scholl says consideration was given for his cooperation with the Lindsay investigation.

Judge instructs jury not to use the guilty plea on the drug charges in Syracuse in consideration of this case. It was allowed only to provide a timeline for Scholl's testimony.

Day Five: Trial Continues Soon

Judge Donalty disposes of other court business before the Molina-Cirino trial resumes. Better than a dozen uniformed Utica Police officers are in the courtroom. Chief Pylman here as well. ADA Colluzza enters. Defense attorney Wittman was here representing other clients before Judge Donalty before this trial begins.