Man exonerated in headphone slaying due to fired detective
Friday’s death of a special needs athlete saw a young man being sentenced to life in prison without parole. The case was complicated by the Philadelphia detective currently charged with sexually assaulting several witnesses.
Ex-Detective Philip Nordo was implicated in at least eight murder trials, according to prosecution. He’s been in custody since 2017, accused of stalking, intimidating and sexually assaulting male suspects and witnesses during his career. His trial is scheduled for October.
Friday’s case was the latest to unravel. A judge reversed Arkel Garcia’s 2015 conviction. The teenager confessed that he had asked Nordo to show him pornography. After both sides presented evidence that Nordo had sexually groomed witness in the case, and after trial prosecutors had suppressed their misconduct, the ruling was made.
Christian Massey was 21 years old, and was apparently killed by his $300 Beats by Dre headphones. He had purchased them the day before. His family listened in court Friday as prosecutors said that new testing on DNA found at the scene has not helped identify another suspect.
Garcia, now 27, was named by a confidential witness. He was paid and propositioned in Nordo’s favor, prosecutors claimed. And his confession made little sense. While he admitted to the detective that there were two accomplices in his alley, security footage clearly showed that only one of them was present. The shooter was also identified by him as a man who, according to prosecutors, could not have pulled off the trigger. Garcia’s mom insisted that Garcia was at her home at this time.
“Look, this is a terrible situation for everyone. Robert Mozenter, the defense lawyer, said that while they didn’t find the shooter, they never arrested anybody in connection to this homicide. He also stated that an innocent man was convicted illegally and that there was no peace for this family.
The case marks the 21st exoneration for the office of District Attorney Larry Krasner, who frequently sued police during his long career as a civil rights lawyer.
Massey, known as a gentle giant, was an athlete who had played basketball and soccer in high school.
“Nordo used Massey’s investigation to groom two people he sexually exploited.” Both of them testified before the grand juries,” Assistant District Attorney Michael Garmisa said to the judge on Friday. Had the jury known that, he said, it might not have returned a guilty verdict.
Garcia was not present in court Friday, but he is still in prison. In 2015, Garcia was sentenced. He snapped and got into a fight with the court security personnel. He was sentenced to an additional five- or 10-year term.
Mozenter hopes to quickly resolve the issue, Garcia serving seven years.
Mozenter said, “He had an anger problem and it was not surprising that he would be so under these circumstances.” “The whole criminal justice system in this case failed him from the moment he was arrested. The courts failed him. His lawyers failed. He was not represented by the DA.
According to a signed stipulation, the office that was headed by a former district lawyer failed to disclose exonerative evidence about Nordo. It also includes transcripts from prison calls that he made to the confidential witness in the case.
Nordo’s lawyer declined to comment immediately on Garcia’s case, but previously stated that Nordo was innocent.
Mozenter believes his client, who didn’t finish high school, would be released from prison soon before his trial.
He said that the plan was to get him out and send him to a trade school or high school. Then, we’ll get rid of the city.
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