Monder Law Group - News
On January 27, 1998, a murder took place at a parlor in Harlem. The victim was a retired police officer, Albert Ward. Mr. Ward ran an illegal gambling parlor in Harlem. Law Enforcement responded with full force. They had 37 officers which included four lieutenants and eight sergeants on the case. Later that evening, fifteen arrest and seventy-five summonses were issued. The police officers also interviewed several witnesses at the gambling parlor during the murder.
Information gathered by police indicated that there were two individuals involved in the murder of the Mr. Ward. They found out that this was a robbery that went badly. Mr. Ward was shot amidst the chaos of the robbery. Some of witnesses interviewed stated that a black male with dreads was the trigger man and his compliance was a dark black male. The witnesses were asked to look at some mugshots. They were able to identify the compliance of the trigger man. Then law enforcement focused their attention on the shooter. They were able to draw a composite sketch of the trigger man. The officers were then told that the shooter could be a man named Mustafa.
The investigation shifted from Mustafa to Jon Adrian Velazquez when an eyewitness named Augustus Brown pointed the finger at Mr. Velazquez. Mr. Velazquez was asked to participate in a lineup and he consented. He was picked out of the lineup by three eyewitnesses and then he was charged with the murder of Mr. Ward.
The case for the prosecution hinged on eye-witness testimony. There were no fingerprints or any DNA evidence gathered at the scene. All but one of the witnesses for the prosecution pointed the finger at the defendant, Mr. Velazquez.
Mr. Velazquez was convicted and sentenced to 25 to life. Mr. Velazquez did not match the composite sketch and the law enforcement failed to investigate other leads. It was later found, according to some of the witnesses, that they were pressured to identify Mr. Velazquez. Some witnesses even recanted their testimony that Mr. Velazquez was the shooter.
Mr. Velazquez’s attorneys have filed a 440 Motion to vacate the conviction. The court has yet to rule on the motion. Mr. Velazquez, his family and his attorneys are hopeful that the judge will vacate his sentence.
If you have questions about eye-witness testimony in your San Diego case, contact San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Vik Monder at 619.405.0063 or visit Criminal Eye-Witness Testimony Attorney