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Yathomas Riley Closing Memo

Yathomas Riley Closing Memo

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Published by Tim Elfrink

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Published by: Tim Elfrink on Aug 21, 2012
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08/21/2012

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OFFICE OF THE STATE ATTORNEY KATHERINE FERNANDEZ RUNDLEELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUITSTATE ATTORNEYINTEROFFICE MEMORANDUMTO:File
 
FROM:Anna QuesadaAssistant State Attorney
 
DATE:8/20/12DEFT NAME:Yathomas RileyCASE NO:F10-17310RE:Closing Memo
 
At this time, the State is unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, YathomasRiley, shot the victim, Koketia King. Although the evidence demonstrates that the victim’s injuries werenot self-inflicted, the recently discovered Brady
1
material creates an insurmountable challenge to the prosecution of this action. (
See
Brady letter dated July 27, 2012, to defense counsel Kionne McGhee, infile).Unbeknownst to the State until July 26, 2012, the victim had been dishonest about her personalinvolvement with an inmate and her connection to that inmate’s possibly fraudulent criminal activityduring the time that she was employed as a State Corrections Officer. This fact created concernsregarding the victim’s credibility in front of a jury. Immediately upon the discovery of this exculpatoryevidence, the State turned over the information to defense counsel. Further, we reassessed the case andreviewed the evidence considering the new facts. It then became apparent that the victim had so pollutedthe case by lying to police, prosecutors and the court for over two (2) years that the State was forced toannounce a
nolle
 
 prosse
.At trial, the prosecution has the burden of proving all charges beyond a reasonable doubt.However, it also has an ethical obligation to only take cases to trial it knows to be provable under that burden. This does not mean the State should only take cases to trial where a conviction is guaranteed.However, it does require the State to proceed to trial only on cases where it feels in good faith that it cansatisfy this high burden. Therefore, although it is evident that the defendant was the one who shot thevictim, the State no longer believes that it can prove it to a jury.Here, the victim lied about the contents of a key piece of evidence – the blood-stained letter froma prisoner. In the defendant’s post-Miranda
2
statement to Miami-Dade homicide detectives, the defendant
1
Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963).
2
Miranda v
.
Arizona
, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).
 
stated the victim told him that the letter “concerned income taxes the victim was helping the inmate whowrote the letter complete.” The defendant never mentioned that the victim was involved in a scheme todefraud the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). In fact, when the State introduced the letter into evidenceat the defendant’s bond hearing on December 8, 2010, defense counsel Lance Armstrong failed to allegewhat this letter had to do with fraudulent income taxes. Despite the allegations made, no proof was ever  presented to the State or to the Court that the victim had in fact been engaging in illegal activity with aninmate. No one, not even the defense attorney or the presiding judge at the bond hearing, ever noticed thatthe number in the letter was in fact a social security number and not a phone number. If defense counselhad noticed, he certainly would have pointed it out to the court, as it would have bolstered his defense andincreased his chances of obtaining a bond for his client. Therefore, to the State’s knowledge, the fraudallegations remained accusations devoid of any support.
3
 It was not until the State read a Miami New Times Article, several weeks after it had been published, that it was ever brought to the State’s attention that the blood-stained letter included a variant-coded social security number disguised as a phone number. The article further corroborated this byinterviewing a person named in the same letter. The person interviewed claimed to have been the victimof identity theft and stated the social security in the letter belong to her. She added that false income taxreturns had been filed in her name. On the morning after reading the article, on a CD containing thevictim’s numerous text messages, the State also discovered an outgoing text message containing the samesocial security number that was contained in the blood-stained letter.
4
 Prosecutors brought the victim intothe State Attorney’s Office the following day to be interviewed and confronted her about theserevelations, at which time she admitted involvement in certain tax activities with an inmate.It is interesting to note that the defendant’s attorneys had access to photographs depicting the blood-stained letter very early in this case, but never approached the State with the information about the phone number in fact being a social security number. While the defense claimed that the victim was,along with other corrections officers, involved in a scheme to defraud the IRS, they never providedevidence to substantiate those claims. If the defense possessed this knowledge, they had every opportunityto bring it to the State’s attention. They failed to do so.Before the discovery of the Brady material, the State had sufficient evidence to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition to the victim’s testimony, the State had other evidence thatdemonstrated the defendant’s guilt. It is important to note the following facts:1.The testimony of Lead Homicide Detective, Dalyn Nye - The defendant’s post-Miranda statements were made to Detective Nye. Detective Nye would have testified that the
defendant’s version of events did not add up
and were in direct conflict with the evidencefound at the scene. (
See
Detective Nye’s 28 page report, specifically pages 10-13).2.The testimony of Homicide Detective Maria Mederos – Detective Mederos was
3 On prior occasions, the State had asked the victim if she had any involvement with the filing of fraudulenttax returns. The victim denied any involvement. The victim was also asked in her deposition about filing fraudulentincome taxes for inmates. Again, the victim denied any wrongdoing.4 It is important to note that the defense never requested a copy of the victim’s cell phone informationdespite it having been made available in September of 2010.
 
 present for the defendant’s post-Miranda statements and would have
corroborated thetestimony of Detective Nye
.3.The testimony of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Captain Gregory Logue - who wouldhave testified that in his training and experience, the
victim’s wounds were inconsistent witha suicide
. The homicide detectives, crime scene detectives and medical examiner would haveall corroborated that the location of the gunshot wound (on the philtrum of the victim’s face)is highly inconsistent with a suicide, and that the vast majority of gunshot suicide entrancewounds are either to the temple or in the mouth. These same witnesses would have alsotestified that it is very rare for women to kill themselves with guns.4.The testimony of the first responding Homestead officers and the crime scenetechnicians – who would have testified that
there were signs of a struggle in the bedroom;also inconsistent with a botched suicide attempt.
5.The testimony of Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Emma Lew – Dr. Lewwould have testified as a medical expert hired for consultation. After Dr. Lew’s review of theevidence, she concluded that both the shot to the victim’s face and the one to her thigh werefired from a distance of more than two (2) to three (3) feet away. Dr. Lew based her conclusion on the fact that both wounds were devoid of burning, residue, or powder.Therefore,
there was no evidence of a contact wound and that was inconsistent with asuicide
. Moreover, Dr. Lew determined that the thigh wound was the entrance point of the projectile and the buttock wound was the exit. At the bond hearing, Dr. Lew testified that inorder for the victim’s leg wound to have been self-inflicted as the defendant claimed, thevictim would have to of held the firearm at a distance of more than two (2) to three (3) feetaway from her right buttock and be able to pull the trigger – something very difficult for thevictim to have been able to accomplish. Therefore,
 Dr. Lew’s medical opinion was incomplete contradiction to the defendant’s version of the events as told to Detectives Nye and  Mederos – that the victim had shot herself in the “ass” 
. Regarding the shot to the face, Dr.Lew also determined it was inconsistent with a self-inflicted wound. Dr. Lew characterizedthe possibility that the shots were self-inflicted as being “extreme” and “remote”. Dr. Lewwould have also testified that she would have expected a more positive gunshot residue(hereinafter “GSR”) result if the victim had in fact been holding the gun as the defendantclaimed, as she would not of had an opportunity to wash her hands before the test wasadministered. Dr. Lew noted that the defendant’s GSR results were less significant becausehe was up and about and holding onto his son, rolling around, etc. Dr. Lew’s testimonyregarding the GSR would have also been corroborated by the State’s Analyst – Chris Hanlon.6.Text messages sent to the victim by the defendant – The State was prepared tointroduce text messages sent by the defendant to the victim just a couple months before theincident stating,
“I’ma kill you” 
and another sent immediately after telling the victim to savethat message (which she did and gave to the police after the defendant carried out his threat by shooting her two months later).7.Testimony of Homestead Police Officer G. Reyes – Officer Reyes interviewed thevictim’s two children (both of whom were in the house at the time of the shooting) just hoursafter the incident at the Homestead Police station. Y.R. (a minor), the defendant’s three 3 ½year old son, stated that,
“Daddy shoot (sic) Mommy.” 
8.
Kristi House interview of Y.R. – Following his interview with Ofc. Reyes, Y.R.

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