Complaint One: Jorge M. Depina asserts the following in his complaint: I am writing this letter in regards to my false conviction. I was wrongly accused and convicted of murdering an individual by the name of Joa Resendes. I am aware of the fact that many people claim innocence, when in fact they are truly guilty. However, in a case such as mine, that's based on circumstantial evidence. I am innocent. Therefore, I am seeking the help and justice that I was denied. I will take this opportunity to inform you about this case. In this case, Joao Monteiro, Gildo Teixeira and myself are the three people charged with felony murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
On Saturday night of December 27, 1997, myself with four other
friends decided to drive from Boston, to Providence, RI to attend a
dance at a nightclub named "The International." The four other
Andy Carvalho (the driver of the vehicle we were in, also an employee of Polaroid),
Nelson Miranda (a Boston College Alumni who works as a probation officer for juveniles),
Jose Pina (the owner of the vehicle, also a cable vision employee) and
Gildo Teixeira (he was a paralegal messenger for a Boston law firm at the time).
We arrived at the club around 11:30 p.m. and remained there until the closing time which was 2:00 a.m. While in the club, we enjoyed ourselves by socializing with other individuals we knew, dancing and drinking a few alcohol beverages. As the club was closing, everyone exited the club through the side door, a fire escape exit with a ladder type stairs attached. When I finally arrived outside, I noticed at least four to five fights in progress. Each fight appeared to have at least a dozen men fighting. I briefly spoke to a female cousin, for approximately a few seconds, and then proceeded to head towards the car I had arrived in. The car was parked across the street on the corner of Citizens Bank. As I approached the car, I found Jose and Nelson standing there. The three of us then stood there waiting for Andy and Gildo. Since Andy had been the driver, he kept the car keys in his possession; therefore we had no way of getting into the car. We waited impatiently, with a hurry to leave since things were out of control. Fights had taken over the place. Bottles were being thrown and men were running around with knives in the air. Andy and Gildo finally arrived to the car. Upon their arrival, we immediately got into the car and began pulling off.
As we were leaving, Anthony Rosa and Joao Monteiro, friends of ours who also resided in Boston, pleaded with us to give them a ride back since their ride had left them behind. We managed to squeeze two more people in the car with us and took off while the fights were still taking place. We drove around the corner onto Broad Street and pulled up at a red light. As we were stopped there, waiting for the light to turn green in order to proceed onto highway 95 north, a green Jeep Cherokee with MA plates pulled up beside us. One of the three occupants in the Jeep was yelling out the back seat, trying to get our attention. Anthony Rosa claimed to know him so Jose Pina decided to roll down his driver's side window. The occupant from the jeep, who was later identified as George Lopes, quickly jumped out the jeep and proceeded to punch Jose Pina. Jose immediately rolled his window up. As all of this was occurring there were two state police cruisers behind us just a few cars down. They witnessed the entire incident and came running with their guns drawn. They pulled over both vehicles and took everyone out both cars. They searched the vehicles and us. The front seat passenger of the jeep, identified as Manuel Goncalves, had a stab wound from the nightclub. He claimed he received the injury from two individuals from our car. I wasn't aware of anyone from our car attacking him. However, we were all questioned by the state police and then told to get back into our cars:
After approximately 20 minutes, the Providence Police arrived at the scene, summoned by the State Police. We were once again taken out of the car and both vehicles were searched all over again. A Providence Officer asked if there was anything I needed to tell him. I stated that I didn't know what was going on. I and the others: Jose Pina, Anthony Rosa, Andy Carvalho, Nelson Miranda, and Gildo Teixeira were then placed in a police wagon. Joao Monteiro was taken separately in a police cruiser. I, alone with Gildo Teixeira and Joao Monteiro were the only ones handcuffed. When we arrived at the police station, we were all perplexed and asked a detective our reason for being there. We informed the detective that we didn't know he men from the jeep and that none of us attacked him like he'd claim. The detective didn't give us any answers. Then all of a sudden, an officer approached me and made the comment, "We got our guy!" He then took me downstairs to a booking room and had me finger printed. I was completely baffled and become frightened. I knew I didn't do anything wrong so I figured it was a misunderstanding that would soon be cleared up. I had no idea that this was going to end up the way it did. The nightmare now began.
I was then told to strip and was searched again. I was given back my shorts and a T-shirt, then placed in a cold holding cell without any knowledge of what was happening. The Miranda Warnings weren't read to me, nor was I allowed my privilege of a phone call to contact my family or a lawyer. I was left clueless in the cell for almost two hours, yelling out to any officers who could hear me, asking why I was being held. I didn't get an answer. Finally, I was given my clothes and told to put them back on. I was then handcuffed again and taken upstairs. As I was leaving, I noticed that Joao Monteiro and Gildo Teixeira had also been held in the holding cell, and they too were on their way upstairs. We were taken into a line up room with tinted windows and found our other four friends waiting there. They told us to put hats on then lined all seven of us up from left to right facing them in the following order:
1. Joao Monteiro
4. Andy Carvalho
5. Jose Pina
6. Anthony Rosa
7. Nelson Miranda
The odd thing about the entire line up is that they had Mr. Monteiro, Mr. Teixeira and myself standing on a platform a few inches higher than the others did. We were only there for a few minutes, then returned back downstairs for another strip search before placing us back in our holding cells.
About an hour later, we were taken to our second line up. This time the door was slightly opened and we could hear the conversation behind the window. While standing there, we were able to hear several officers. We also heard something very disturbing. There was a young lady's voice saying, "I don't recognize nobody." Then a mans voice replied, "Take your time." The lady responded by saying, "They are not here." Then the disturbing comment was made. The male's voice said. "Just pick any 3 of them, come on!" She then said, "I can't recognize them. They ain't the ones."
I will never forget those words. We later told our attorneys about what was said, but nothing was done. After we stayed in the line up room for about ten minutes, we were taken downstairs again, stripped and placed back in the cells. I slept for a while only to be awakened for a third line up. I was tired, cold and hungry. This was about 5 am. This time we were only there for a few minutes. We were stripped down to our shorts and a T-shirt and placed in the cold cells to sleep on steel bunks. Through out all of this, the officers refused to inform us of our reason being held. We were also denied our rights to a phone call. At approximately 10 a.m. Sunday morning, a detective who passed out breakfast was asked what we were being held for and what exactly is going on. He told us that he didn't know and left it as that.
Jose Pina, Nelson Miranda, Andy Carvalho and Anthony Rosa were not placed in cells. In fact they remained upstairs the entire time. They were never taken down to the cellblock. We found out later that they were released.
On Monday morning, thirty-two hours after we had been stopped by the Rhode Island State Police, they took me up stairs to the interrogation room. I was puzzled and asked what was my reason for being there. They handcuffed me to the desk and then proceeded to question me. A detective told me to state everything I had seen outside the club. I told him what I knew. People were fighting everywhere. I had seen a male of dark skin complexion with dread-locks hairstyle being helped off the ground after he had been stabbed. Then as soon as all the passengers were at the car, we drove off. They asked if I saw anyone actually stabbing someone and I said no. I became frustrated and asked him why I was being held. The detectives standing up said that he had two eyewitnesses who saw me stab two people. I told him that he was lying because I didn't attack, nor stab anyone. This conversation went back and forth. My understanding at that point was that we were being held for what Manuel Goncalves, one of the occupants in the Jeep Cherokee, was saying at the time both cars parked at the red light. He had claimed that people in our car had stabbed him. This detective became very belligerent, wanting me to admit to stabbing whomever he ‘vas talking about. When I asked the other detective, Mr. John J. Corley, what was I being charged with?" he replied, "First-Degree Murder."
My heart simply dropped. I began yelling that I didn't know what they were talking about because I didn't stab anyone. The other detective started screaming at me. He kept telling me that he has two eyewitnesses who identified me. I became frightened, confused and irritated. Tears began rolling down my face as I filled with anger. I pleaded with them to allow me to take a lie detector test to prove I was not lying. They would not listen. Nothing I said mattered to them. The entire situation wore me out. The whole time I kept telling myself that this wasn't happening. I just couldn't believe any of this. It was all just one big misunderstanding. It was all surreal.
They read me my rights and gave me a form to sign. They uncuffed me from the desk and took me to an open room where we sat down around a table. They took my statement then typed it on the computer. I was then taken downstairs and allowed to make one phone call. I was finally given my clothes and was told to get dressed. They took my jeans, coat, boots and hat. I had worn a pair of sweat pants under my jeans, so that is what I was given back, along with my hooded sweatshirt. Joao Monteiro and Gildo Teixeira came out and were shackled together and taken to court. Joao Monteiro told me that when the detective spoke to him, they told him that his story checked out. Mr. Monteiro informed them that he had gotten into a serious car accident two weeks prior. As a result of his accident, he ended up with a dislocated shoulder; therefore, there was no way he could have been involved in a fight with a dislocated shoulder. The same angry detective told Mr. Monteiro that he had to have known something, and although his story checked out, he may indeed be innocent, but that's just not how the system works in Providence. His exact words were, ‘You are not in Boston. Out here you have to give something. Tell us who did it or you go down for it." Mr. Monteiro replied, "I don't know anything that I could tell."
We arrived at Providence District Court and were taken into the Judge's Chambers. The Judge asked the prosecutor what he was charging us with. The prosecutor, George Lazere, said First-Degree Murder and One Count of Conspiracy. The Judge asked how he could charge three people with one stabbing and stated that this case is nothing more than a manslaughter case. George Lazere said he was moving forward with First Degree Murder and asked that we be held without bail. The Judge granted the state it's request and set a bail hearing for January 12, 1998.
We were then taken to the A.C.I. Upon arrival we were allowed a phone call to contact our families to inform them what was happening. We were all very emotional and terrified, not knowing what was gong to happen. We had pled not guilty and maintained our innocence. After a few days, our families had contacted several lawyers and three attorneys had been hired to represent us.
On January 12, 1998, we went before a Judge for our bail hearing. Nylton Pires was the state's only witness at the time. He took the stand and testified that he had went to school with the victim, and that he was standing outside the club and witnessed several fights taking place all at once. Then he said he watched as the victim, Joao Resendes, jumped out of a fight and ran to the trunk of his car along with another young man. Once at the car, the victim removed something from the trunk then ran towards a big brawl that had about 40 people or so involved. Nylton Pires claimed that the victim, Mr. Resendes, was in the middle of the crowd and that Joao Monteiro grabbed him and pinned him down by his shoulders to the trunk of the car. He then claimed that he saw me come towards the victim and make multiple downward, stabbing motions toward the victim's chest then I ran and jumped into a red Honda that looked identical to Jose Pina's car. He did say that he never once saw a knife. At one point he said that he saw two red Hondas and a white BMW. He mentioned the BMW as being involved and tried to focus on that but the prosecutor continued to distract him from mentioning the BMW. Nylton Pires' story kept changing. During cross-examination he fell apart. He couldn't identify our appearance. He also gave two different locations as to where he had his car parked. At first he testified that he was 40 feet away from the fight, then it switched up to 60 feet away. Later he testified he was standing 100 feet away on the side of the club at a pay phone booth. However, the police photographer had photographed the entire crime scene, and in the report it stated there wasn't a phone booth in site. This pay phone booth never existed.
Nylton Pires was asked if he was able to talk to any of the police officers that arrived at the scene about what he had witnessed. He said that he didn't because he had gotten in his car and driven home. Though on his way home he notice the state police had pulled over two cars and decided to approach one of the troopers and informed him that the people in the red Honda was just involved in a stabbing. He was asked if he had signed a statement and he said, "Yes." At this point, his statement was presented to him and he was asked to read it. Mr. Pires looked over his signature but didn't read it because he didn't know how to read. The attorney asked him if he had reviewed his statement before signing. He replied that he was allowed to take his statement home to his wife in order for her to look it over. It wasn't until after his wife reviewed it that he signed it. He was asked these questions because he kept contradicting himself. If he wasn't lying than he was mistaken. He stated that he had seen the victim hit someone with a bottle. The Defense Attorneys caught him changing his story multiple times, but since it was only a bail hearing the judge didn't allow our attorneys to thoroughly cross-examine him. I couldn't believe the things he was saying, but I remained calm because I knew we were innocent. People in the courtroom were in a rage. People were mumbling and bursting out comments, "He's lying." The judge threatened to clear the courtroom twice.
On Tuesday, January 13, 1998, the Providence Journal printed an article about our case. It stated. "During their cross-examinations, defense lawyers David Cooper and Robert Watson elicited testimony from Nylton Pires that could hurt the prosecution's case."
When we arrived to court on that day, we were informed that the State had a new witness. The witnessed was Gelci Reverdes. Ms. Reverdes had been sitting with the family the day before in court. Before she took the stand, she was out in the lobby when two individuals overheard a conversation she had with a female friend. Her exact words were, "I don't know if they really did it." I didn't really see it." Her friend replied, "That's wrong." When these two individuals heard this, one actually approached her and asked what did she know about the case. She said, "I didn't really see what happened." He asked what she was talking about then. She stated that she was a witness. He then told her that we were innocent; we didn't commit the crime. She replied, ‘Well. I'm here to help out my family. If it were your family, wouldn't you do the same? Someone has to pay!" He repeated that we didn't commit the crime. She asked how did he know that for sure and he replied that he was there. He then immediately notified the lawyers about his conversation with Ms. Reverdes. This whole incident took place before she took the stand. This individual later testified at trial about his conversation with Ms. Reverdes is Nelson Miranda. He was one of the guys who were with us but released by the police. There was another incident in the ladies room where two ladies overheard Ms. Reverdes say to a friend, "I'll make sure they never come up here again. They'll stay in Boston after this. There are clubs in Boston." One of the two ladies turned to her and said, "It's a free country." Unfortunately, the ladies had no idea that Ms. Reverdes was a witness in the case. It wasn't until after she took the stand that the ladies were able to inform my lawyer, Robert Watson, about the bathroom incident.
While on stand she told so many different stories. At first she stated that the victim arrived at the club around midnight, then it changed to 1:30 a.m. She had been there with her boyfriend and as soon as he arrived, he came over and greeted them. After the club, she supposedly left right behind him. She claimed to watch as he crossed the street and went to his car and I quickly ran up to him and attacked him by stabbing him. But then she said she watched me stab two other individuals before I had approached the victim. Finally she said that she seen me with a bunch of guys chase him then I stabbed him. She went on and on with different versions of her story. She even said that at one point, she tried to help a friend named Sandra with her brother (Ambrosia) who was beaten up in another fight that had taken place. She said she helped him up and walked him to her car while still focusing on Joao Resendes' attack.
Gelci Reverdes goes as far as to even say she actually drove her friend's brother home and returned to the scene to witness the victim bein2 stabbed. Her story simply didn't add up. Ms. Reverdes lives in Pawtucket, RI and the nightclub is located in Providence, RI. It takes one at least a half-hour to drive from Providence to Pawtucket and back. The attorneys became frustrated with her because she wouldn't answer all their questions and when she did answer, it was brief and sarcastic. She would often glance over at her friends and laugh.
Attorney David Cooper, Joao Monteiro's lawyer, asked her how did she learn that this hearing was taking place. She had claimed that she hadn't heard a word about it in the community. She then said she asked around. David Cooper wanted to know if she had any knowledge of this case through the media. She denied it. He told her that he found it difficult to believe that she was present at a place where a friend had been murdered and never once picked up the newspaper or turned on the news to find out what was going on with the case.
Attorney Cooper also asked her to describe how his client, Joao Monteiro, looked that night. She pointed over to the defense table where we were seated and replied, "He's bald now but I remember him." "So how did he look?" asked Cooper. "He looked like an animal with an afro", she stated. Cooper then asked what Mr. Monteiro was wearing. She spoke louder and said "I don't remember what he was wearing, but I saw him. He looked like a wild animal. He had a knife, they all had knives." Cooper told her to describe Monteiro's afro. He asked. "How was his hair, was it like my afro, short, medium, what?" She responded, "It was wild. It wasn't good hair." Then she looked over to her friends and laughed. Again she was caught lying because Monteiro's hair was braided and his police mug shot photo proved it. This proved our story of how she identified us by the photos in the newspaper because on the morning of our arraignment. Monteiro had unbraided his hair before appearing in court. A photo of us was taken in the Judge's chamber that day. This photo was posted in the newspaper and it is the photo she had seen. The fact is that Mr. Monteiro's hair was in braids the night of the incident and the photo taken of him by the Providence Police Department after being booked proved it.
Ms. Reverdes was asked to describe the knife. She said it was a knife and smiled. She also accused me of stabbing two individuals prior to stabbing the victim. She would not answer some questions and glance over to the prosecutor, George Lazere. Attorney Lazere would then object and attempt to assist her. She had said she was the victim's family. Then the next day when she was placed back on the stand to finish her cross-examination, she had a different answer. She now said she knew him but not that well. She just knew him from the country but they are not related. However, before she testified, she had a conversation with Nelson Miranda that she clearly spoke of the victim as being family. She testified at the Bail Hearing that she's the one who drove to the victim's mother's house to tell her the news and drove the mother to the hospital. In the Grand Jury she had another version of their relationship to the victim. She claimed that the victim was a cousin of the father of her children but during cross-examination, she made it clear that she didn't know his family. She claimed she witnessed the entire thing. She said she saw me attack and stab the victim, yet she could not describe the knife or any of us. She couldn't tell where she was standing, nor could she describe where the victim was attacked. She never said her actual distance from where she claimed to have witnessed the incident. She was also asked about the conversation she had with a tall, dark-skinned gentleman (Nelson Miranda) in the lobby before taking the stand. She denied it all.
Ms. Reverdes sat in the courtroom while Nylton Pires testified days earlier and picked up a few things to put together. With the help from the prosecutor and Providence Police Detective, John J. Corley, she came up with her story. Nothing she testified was true. The State didn't have a case against us with Nylton Pires, therefore. Ms. Reverdes came along to do exactly what she had originally said: "Help her family; someone has to pay!"
On the fourth day, the state presented another witness, Elma Braz. A completely different story emerged. She claimed to have known the victim for some time now through dating him or someone she knew was dating him. I can't recall exactly, but she knew him well. She stated that after leaving the club with her sister, Tania Braz, they were saying goodbye to a cousin from Brockton, MA when they saw the victim, Joao Resendes being attacked in the middle of numerous men. She said she saw him run from the crowd, only to be chased by a crowd of guys and beaten then pushed onto a car trunk. She said she and her sister ran over and yelled for the victim's attackers to stop. When he fell to the ground, she tried to help while the men repeatedly kicked and punched him. She said she was hit with a bottle and saw the faces of the attackers. She testified that she never saw me anywhere, and that I was definitely not one of Mr. Resendes' attackers. She then testified that she saw Gildo Teixeira and Joao Monteiro punch and kick the victim. However, at the trial she testified that she really didn't see Gildo Teixeira do anything. She said he had thrown a punch but missed. She went on with her story that involved Joao Monteiro. This story was a complete lie. There is no possible way Mr. Monteiro could have been involved in any fights due to his broken shoulders from a previous car accident that had taken place two weeks earlier. She was either lying or had mistaken Mr. Monteiro for someone else.
The last witness for the state was medical examiner, Dr. E. Loposata. He testified that the victim's cause of death was exsanguination due to injury of the heart and one stab wound of the chest. Other significant findings were one stab wound of the right leg and one of the left buttock, contusions and abrasions on the face and knuckles. She stated that the abrasions may have been from defending himself or may have been consistent with him having been involved in a physical confrontation. Dr. Loposata's words were, "It's quite possible those abrasions on his knuckles may have been from punching." She showed the court what angle the knife struck the victim, which did not act in accordance with what Nylton Pires was saying. It made no sense how Joao Monteiro could pin a man taller than him down with two hands, holding on to him by his shoulders, and for me to come in, swing the knife in up and downwards motion without striking my codefendant. Obviously struggles would have taken place. Any logical thinking person who pictures it would admit it made absolutely no sense.
Dr. Loposata also testified that it was possible multiple knives and more than one person may have stabbed Mr. Resendes. The different stab wounds were not consistent, so more than one type of knife may have been used. My attorney, Robert Watson, asked her if he would have been able to move around, or did he fall to the ground after the fatal blow. She stated that he would have been able to move around or even run around for a few minutes before falling from his injuries. She also testified that he had a seven and a half towards inch wound in his chest. This wound would have had blood. According to other testimonies, including Nylton Pires, there was a lot of blood.
After the Bail Hearing, the Judge gave the State two months to get an indictment before granting bail. The Judge stated that they are entitled to six months but he felt the State's case was weak and told the prosecutor if he can't get an indictment he would set bail because it would not be fair to hold us without bail.
The state got an indictment in three months. The witnesses had changed their stories once again, contradicting the Bail Hearin2's testimonies. This time their stories were better put together. One could tell they were prepared and trained.
Gelci Reverdes was now able to describe the knife, whereas before she couldn't. She knew the color of the handle and described the blade. The prosecutor's were able to correct their every mistake. They were throwing words to help them before our lawyers had the chance to object. He suggestive in every way; it was pure coercion. At the Grand Jury we were not allowed to be present, but I have the transcribed testimonies and the audiotapes which proves everything mentioned.
We filed many motions for all evidence, and we had a difficult time getting them. The Prosecutors played games throughout this entire case. Evidence was misplaced or mysteriously lost. It was difficult to get a fair trial. There was a critical piece of evidence that we went to the extreme to obtain. This evidence was the victim's shirt. Ms. Reverdes had testified many times that Joao Monteiro pulled the victim's shirt up to bare the flesh so I could supposedly deliver the fatal blow. If we had been able to present the shirt, it would have shown a hole and proved that she had been lying all along. This would have contradicted the State's claim. Mysteriously, the entire victim's upper body clothing disappeared. The police claimed to have misplaced it but somehow his under pants and his jeans were recovered. They kept anything that could help clear us from the State's charge of murder. There were many people who viewed the police line up but none of their names, addresses, statements or reports were revealed to us. We were entitled to all forms of discovery, whether helpful or harmful. What may not help the State may have cleared us.
One of the patrolmen who responded to the crime scene had reported that he drove five young women, who claimed to have witnessed the whole incident to the end, to the providence police station. These women said they were certainly able to pick out the perpetrators if they saw them again. We never got their names or any reports of what was said in our discovery that could have been exculpatory. The conclusion is that they obviously stated that we did not commit the crime. It's fair to say that if they had identified us as the attackers, they surely would have been statements and reports generated against us and they definitely would have been witnesses to the State.
There were also Polaroid photos of us that were shown to numerous others, who claimed to have seen the incident. But there was no report of who these people were; just initials on the back of the photograph to indicate someone had viewed them.
At the Pre-Trial Suppression Hearing, our lawyers moved to suppress Gelci Reverdes' testimony due to the contradictions, and continuous efforts to mold her story every time she testified. Unfortunately, the Judge denied it. We went to trial and the entire case got worse. Nylton Pires brought along his own interpreter and it was allowed. Gelci Reverdes improved her story. She could now describe the knife better, focusing on its small details. She now remembered it had small-ridged points on its side; the knife's handle was black with designs engraved on it. She said she made sure of it because she went to an army store on Thayer Street and took a look at it. In the beginning she had never mentioned Gildo Teixeira's name in any of her testimonies. Now at the trial, she all of a sudden remembered seeing us talking. She stated that Teixeira was looking out, holding the crowd back while Monteiro and myself attacked the victim. Then she claimed Teixeira yelled out, "Come on let's jet" when he heard the police. She was surely told to do this by the prosecutor in order to get the conspiracy theory in motion. During, extreme long hours of cross-examination, Ms. Reverdes got stuck many times. She would stall on answering the questions and look over to Detective, John J. Corley, and he would make different facial expressions. At times he even mumbled answers to her. Judge Clifton had to speak to him twice about it but he continued on. Attorney David Cooper notified the Judge about it but nothing was done.
There was jury tampering. A man described as the victim's brother made a comment to two jurors outside the courthouse that scared the jurors and made them ask for extra protection in the court. The jury described a man with dread lock hairstyle and the victim's brother was the only individual in the courtroom to have dreads and fit the description given to the investigator. Yet all the Judge did was address the court. The victim's brother hadn't missed a court date ever. He was always in attendance every time the case went to court. According to the people who spoke to our investigators, he was seen in the court hallway speaking to George Lazere the day the incident with the jurors occurred. Since then, he never returned to court, even for the verdict. This was strange because he had never missed a day. George Lazere was the original prosecutor before passing the case to prosecutors, Scott Erickson and Patrick Lynch, who is now the new Attorney General of Rhode Island. Being pushed by the Judge and our attorneys to start the trial, George Lazere passed the case over to these prosecutors at the last moment. He didn't feel he had a strong case and had been stalling for time. Therefore, he claimed to have had a Hawaii vacation planned. He wanted to postpone trial so he could take his trip but once the Judge spoke of granting us bail, he passed the case on. Once the case went to the jury for deliberation, Mr. Lazere returned. He was seen again speaking to the victim's brother on the day that the incident with the jury occurred. Attorney Cooper went to speak to him and asked him if he wanted to pass on those jurors in order pick a new jury and start the trial all over again.
The trial had been going on for about a month now and we had been so tired and drained. Everyday our families and community supporters had been missing work and school to drive out to Rhode Island, so we decided to just put our trust in the jury's hands. We had presented a very strong case and showed them we were innocent. All that was left was the verdict and we waited for a not guilty verdict. To our surprise the verdict came back as guilty. This unjust verdict had the entire courtroom in shock. It was clear that we did not commit the crime.
None of the witnesses' stories matched. We have Nylton Pires whose story was very confusing. He claimed he saw Monteiro and me but never once saw Teixeira or the murder weapon. We have Gelci Reverdes, whose story was all over the place. She was lying about everything. She claimed I had stabbed at least two or three people that night. We have Elma Braz who claimed to have assisted the victim and said she never saw me in sight but did see Monteiro and Teixeira assault the victim. However, during trial she stated that Teixeira didn't hit the victim. Then there was Andy Carvalho, our driver on the ride to Providence. He was called in to testify as a rebuttal witness for the State. The prosecutor had threatened him because he was on probation in Boston and needed permission to leave the state. They used it against him to get him to testify that he had parked the car in a different location than where he had actually parked. His testimony contradicted Nelson Miranda's testimony and assisted the State with their version of the story.
Just like the jury tampering, we can not prove this. For sure, the jury's minds were tainted. Judge Clifton could have called a mistrial, but he did not. He did not give us the chance of a fair trial. The prosecutor objected to everything. Judge Clifton gave my attorney little space on cross-examination. Before trial had begun, Gildo Teixeira's attorney, Robert Craven, argued for a judgment of acquittal and it was granted. However, later on after a chamber conference, he came back and reversed his decision. He allowed Teixeira to go to trial on the charge of First Degree Murder. It's all on record.
Our clothing articles that were taken by the police and sent to the State's Crime Labs for testing came back negative. Forensic results for blood and anything else that would tie us to the crime came back negative.
I was portrayed as some guy running around stabbing people. The State's witness, Gelci Reverdes mentioned two prior stabbing before Joao Resendes, but where is the blood evidence? Don't you think I would have been covered in blood or at least had some blood trace on me? A murder weapon was never discovered. Perhaps because the person who murdered Mr. Resendes left with it. Out of hundreds of people, the State only produced three witnesses. This simple doesn't add up, nor does it make any sense.
There were seven people who were stabbed; yet none of them identified us as being involved. According to the State Troopers, John A. Beauregard and Trooper LaValley, the night club closed at 2:00 a.m. and we were stopped at approximately 2:05 a.m. on Broad Street which is blocks away from the crime scene that had taken place on Westminster Street. This proved that there wasn't enough time for us to have been involved in any fights then escape to our car and drive roughly three or four blocks within five minutes. The time just wasn't there for us to have any involvement with the fatal stabbing of Joao Resendes.
Manuel Gonsalves and his friends who had been the green jeep Cherokee were friends of the victim Joao Resendes. They all gave statements and none of them recognized anyone of us as being involved in the stabbing of their friend, Joao Resendes. Manuel Gonsalves had originally accused someone in the red Honda of stabbing him but later on in the hospital, after reviewing our photos said it wasn't any of us.
This was my first time in Rhode Island. I never met the victim or seen him before in my life. The first time I learned of his identity was a few days later when our attorneys gave us a newspaper article that had his photo.
At no time was Gildo Teixeira, Joao Monteiro or myself together that night other than the ride home. Mr. Monteiro did not arrive with us. He was given a ride back when his transportation had left him behind.
The court claimed to have misplaced all our court files and most of the complete record was lost and never found. The Prosecutors, Defense Attorneys and the Judge had to sit down and reconstruct the files as best as they could. Important documents were never recovered.
The whole ordeal was corrupt from the beginning. Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice, Maureen Goldberg, said on several occasions during our appeal argument that this case has been a mess from the beginning.
I am searching for help of any kind. I am innocent and wrongfully convicted of a crime I did not commit. All I want is to get the truth out in the open in order to get the justice that I was denied. I'm agreeable to take a polygraph and willing to do anything within my power to prove my innocence. As of now, all I can do is pray and wish someone is able to hear me. I have faith in the Lord that the truth will come out one day. I just hope I survive to see this day. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Jorge M. DePina, P.O. Box 8273, Cranston, R I. 02920. Joao Monteiro can also be written to at the same address. You may also email Gildo Teixeira