by Joseph Koniski
|There are experiences in life
for which no one can prepare- a fire raging out of control in one's home;
a child struck down in a crosswalk by a speeding car...or being falsely
arrested, especially by being set up by those who took an oath to protect
and to serve.
For over eight years now I have been the victim of one of the most malicious acts based upon utter falsehoods, malfeasance and criminal intent ever conceived in the city of Steubenville, Ohio.
I feel compelled to respond to these unconscionable acts not only because I am unjustly incarcerated, but also because of the emotional stress and financial difficulties imposed upon my family and friends. To allow these falsehoods to go unanswered would be a betrayal to myself, my family, and the people of the community of Steubenville.
On Oct. 6, 1989, I was accused by officer Robert Mamula of the Steubenville Police Dept. of stabbing him in the hand with a 4 inch screwdriver. I swear by everything that I hold dear that Mamula inflicted those wounds himself.
Aside from Mamula's accusation, there was not one iota of physical evidence or a single witness to verify his accusation, in fact, all of the evidence and every witness that testified at my trial totally contradicted his story. This includes his fellow officers and his chief, Jerry McCartney.
The following allegations that I am about to list are not only true, they can be substantiated by either my trial transcript, credible witnesses, physical proof upon request, or tape recordings that are in my attorney's possession.
To begin with, I will make no attempt to
conceal my checkered past. About forty years ago, while still a teenager,
I stole a car for joy riding and was involved in rolling a drunk for $24.
In the early 70's I became involved in illegal gambling in Steubenville. The reasons I became involved are many. To begin with, Steubenville was a Mecca for illegal gambling. Anyone who grew up in this town can readily recall the numerous cigar stores in the downtown area. There was the Rex Cigar, Olympic Cigar, Penn Lounge Cigar, Dixie Cigar, Capital Cigar, Corner Cigar, Hy Hat Cigar, Smokestack Cigar, Freddie's Cigar, and several others, to numerous to mention, but enough to make an outsider believe that Steubenville was the smoking capital of Ohio. But the residents knew that these cigar stores were merely a front for bookie parlors. The majority of these bookie parlors were within a stone's throw from the Steubenville Police Department.
Being involved in illegal gambling was neither embarrassing or hazardous. The local mill workers and coal miners and the general working class fully supported these establishments, otherwise there wouldn't be so many bookie joints in such a small community. Being a bookie was not only acceptable, it was somewhat fashionable and no bookie who was ever unfortunate enough to get busted ever did any prison time if he was ever convicted. It was a slap on the wrist and business as usual.
And last, but not least, being a bookie was a lucrative business. A bookie not only made money but was protected under the aegis of the local law enforcement agencies. The reason he was protected is because he paid off the cops. Bribery; kickbacks; graft; protection, or any other moniker used to describe the monthly envelopes that the police received, the final word is POLICE CORRUPTION!
Nobody is more aware of how illegal gambling was conducted in Steubenville than myself, because in the early and mid seventies, I controlled the gambling in Steubenville. I did it with the full knowledge and protection of the Steubenville Police because I paid for their protection.
Because it has been nearly a quarter of a century since my involvement in said activities, I wish to refrain from mentioning the names of officers who are now retired or deceased, but I will name two officers who never hesitated to pick up their graft money as Capt. Leon Stinson and Police Chief Jerry McCartney. At the time these two were patrolmen and not ranking officers.
In the last half century, the Steubenville Police Dept. has never made a serious bust on illegal gambling in the city. It is not because the problem didn't exist, but because of the graft they accepted. The only serious busts came from the FBI, and I have a list of names available, of the individuals involved in those busts if need be, but suffice it to say that I was eventually one of those busted. I pleaded guilty and was put on federal probation just like every other bookie before me. As I mentioned previously, nobody ever went to prison for being a bookie in Steubenville, and through the years, the FBI raids caused the number of bookie joints in Steubenville to dwindle, but not to dissipate entirely. There is still illegal gambling being conducted in town and I can personally name several establishments that have been doing business in the same location for the past 25 years or longer.
These places were in action when I was running the numbers, and they are still in business, because as recently as Nov. of '96 I had friends go to these establishments and play illegal numbers; to bet on football games and to bet on high school games. I will repeat that- High School Games. Steubenville is the only known community in this entire country where it is known that you can wager on high school sports. I have parley slips that will verify that allegation and with that allegation you must bear in mind an excerpt I read from an article in Reader's Digest. A quote from that article states that: "The Massachusetts Commission on Crime in it's annual report stated that: 'No illegal gambling can exist in a community without the full knowledge and cooperation of the local law enforcement agencies.' ".
After my gambling bust by the Feds, I made several attempts at legitimate businesses to support my family, but like most small businesses, they failed. Then I made the worst mistake of my life. I got involved in drugs.
In retrospect, it is easy to see why drugs may be the downfall of this wonderful country of ours, but until I was personally involved, I was not too concerned or even aware of it's consequences. Prior to my involvement with drugs I owned a house with an in-ground swimming pool, dressed in the best clothes, owned a new Lincoln, had 2 boats, and a new truck to pull them around. Then I was approached by a friend to finance a drug deal. At that time I was past forty years of age and had never smoked a joint or did a line of cocaine in my life. Little did I know how easily addicted and entrapped a person can become by these evil vices.
At first I was amazed at the quick return I had made on the loan, and even more surprised at the profit I was given, and to top it off, there was a party. The party consisted of weed, cocaine, and women. Needless to say, I became entangled in the web, and before long, gone was my house with the swimming pool, the cars, the boats, and soon to be gone was my family and my freedom.
In no way do I wish to downplay my involvement in drugs, but I feel I need to vent my disappointment and displeasure in the sentencing. To begin with, there were six of us indicted in the drug conspiracy; each of us life long residents of the community, all middle aged family men with decent jobs.
When the FBI busted down the door to my house in a surprise raid, and totally ransacked the premises, they found no drugs. Not a single trace of cocaine or even one joint of marijuana. When the Feds turned over the tapes of my phone, which was tapped, there was not a single deal or even a mention of drugs by me. Neither was I arrested after the Feds ransacked my house, yet they still managed to make their case, and the six of us pled guilty.
My five co-defendants received a total of 18 months prison time. Not 18 months each, but a cumulative total of 18 months, or to be more specific, less than 4 months each. I received a total of 5 years.
This disparity of sentencing was carried out even though my 5 co-conspirators had been doing and dealing in drugs up to 20 years before I even saw a joint; even though they initiated me into drugs; even though they approached me to finance the deals, and to top it off, even though this was one of my co-conspirators 3rd drug conviction. He received the longest sentence of the 5, which was 6 months. Because I was the financier, I was considered the kingpin of the operation and I was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
It is at this point that my odyssey becomes interesting.
As I previously mentioned, when the Feds raided my house they found no drugs and my phone taps were also clean, and the reason for this is because I had already quit dealing in drugs. There were several reasons why I quit: First, I was losing more money than I was making because more people were on the books, or owed me more than I was collecting, and so it became a losing proposition. Secondly, I finally admitted to myself that I had become addicted to drugs and was totally abusing my body; I had alienated myself from my family and I was slowly losing my mind. Finally, because at some time previous to all of this, a man came to my house and revealed some startling information to my wife and me.
At this time this man informed me that both he and his wife were members of the District Attorney's Task Force. The DA at this time was Stephen Stern. He also informed me that I was being set up for a robbery and that my life was in jeopardy, and henceforth, so were the lives of my two young daughters.
Naturally I assumed that this man was just blowing smoke and was either trying to shake me down or set me up, and so I told him I didn't believe it, and how could he prove it? The next night, this same man again showed up at my home, this time accompanied by his wife, and several cassette tape recordings that they proceeded to play for me and my wife. On these tapes were the undeniable voices of Stephen Stern and members of his task force, conspiring to set people up, rob people, and even murder. This is not a misprint, I said MURDER!
Here are just a few of the discussions on the tapes: 1) Discussing the layout of "Birdie" Pinciaro's house, whom Stern suspected of receiving stolen property, and how his goon squad could burglarize the house. 2) Discussion about James "Buckeye" DeSabia, whom Stern suspected of illegal bookmaking, and how to rob him. 3) Discussion of one Ed Cunningham, whom Stern suspected of dealing drugs, and of instructing his goon squad to plant some drugs in Cunningham's house, and then raiding it. 4) The discussion of "Ratsy" Koniski, whom Stern suspected of dealing drugs and illegal bookmaking, and ordering his goons to tail me until they learned my routine, and then they could strong-arm me, and then the distinct voice of Stephen Stern saying: "...and after you rob Ratsy, you're going to take him out, right?", and a voice replying, "Right."
To those unfamiliar with the street terminology of "take him out", it means to kill him. Once again I reiterate, MURDER. Cold-blooded, premeditated, MURDER.
I will reveal who these two members of the DA's goon squad were, and why they came to me with this information, when the time is appropriate, or to anyone who is willing, and in a position to assist in my quest for justice.
My wife and I were both amazed and shocked at what we had heard, and after the couple left, I racked my brain wondering what to do with this information. Although I was familiar with the people the DA was discussing, I had no dealings with them, nor was our relationship of a nature to discuss such topics. In the meantime, my wife informed me that she had read in the Herald Star, that someone by the name of Cunningham was arrested for drugs a couple of weeks earlier. I decided to give Cunningham a call and hear his side of the story.
When I called Cunningham on the phone and inquired about the incident, he swore to me on his children's lives that he never dealt drugs and that there were no drugs in his house. He further related that a man whom he was barely aquatinted with, had just stopped by his house inquiring about a mutual acquaintance. The man then asked to use the bathroom, and Cunningham politely acquiesced, and after the man relived himself, he left. Less than a minute after the stranger left, the DA's goon squad busted in the door, went directly to the bathroom and found a quantity of drugs behind the toilet.
I use the term stranger because Cunningham couldn't even remember the man's name. I asked Cunningham what his status was, and he told me that he couldn't even convince his attorneys of his story, and that in all likelihood he was probably going to prison. He was represented by the law firm of Leonard Alpert of Weirton, WV. I told Mr. Cunningham that I might be able to help him.
Now that I believed the information to be genuine, I made it my business to procure the tapes. Not only was I able to gain possession of the tapes, I was able to obtain a notarized affidavit from one of the DA's goons, stating that at the behest of DA Stern himself, this member of the squad did indeed finagle his way into the Cunningham house and plant the drugs in the bathroom while Ray Terry and other members of the team waited outside, ready to pounce upon the innocent and unsuspecting subjects.
I then decided that I needed someone I could trust to be aware of the information that I possessed in case I should become the victim of foul play from Stern and his goon squad. My personal attorney, Jim Abrams, was out of town at the time and I felt the situation to be urgent, so I went to another prominent young attorney by the name of Joe Corabi. Mr. Corabi and I sat in his office and listened to the tapes together. Needless to say, Corabi was quite stunned by what he heard and said he had no doubt that it was Stephen Stern on the tapes. He then asked what I wanted him to do. I informed him that I wanted him to hold the tapes in case I should become the victim of foul play, and if I did, that I wanted retribution and compensation for my family.
Before Corabi would agree to hold the tapes, he made me take an oath that I would not reveal to anyone who had possession of the tapes because he was concerned for the welfare of himself and his family, if certain people learned that he possessed the tapes. I did swear myself to secrecy, and Mr. Corabi kept the tapes in his personal safety deposit box for a considerable length of time. At this time, no one knew the contents of the tapes except for myself, my wife, Joe Corabi, and Jim Abrams.
It was then that I decided to play my wild card. I wanted Stern to know that I had some very incriminating evidence about him and that I was no longer involved in illegal activities and that it would be in his best interest not to mess with my family. With that in mind, I decided to give Ed Cunningham a copy of the aforementioned affidavit.
Two days before Cunningham was to go on trial, I called him and asked what the prognosis was in regards to his case. He said that his attorney tried to get him to plea bargain, but he was innocent, and so he was taking it to trial. His attorney the told him that in all likelihood, he was going to prison. As he spoke I could visualize the tears in his voice.
Then I told him about the affidavit and offered to give him a copy. For a long moment the phone was silent, and then I heard Ed Cunningham sob. I couldn't quite understand why at the time, but now I imagine that I will do the same thing once I am vindicated of this travesty of justice.
I attended Cunningham's trial and when one of Stern's goons was on the stand his credibility was being questioned, and I remember him testifying that he had been working undercover for several years and that he was working in three states, Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky, and that his testimony had sent literally hundreds of convicted drug dealers to prison...and then Cunningham's lawyer presented the affidavit.
To make a long story short, the witness then recanted his story and admitted the the drugs were planted, and it was done so at the behest of the prosecutor, Stephen Stern. Judge Olivito immediately threw the case out of court.
This story may be hard to swallow coming from a man claiming to be innocent of stabbing a cop and sitting in a Nevada jail, fighting extradition back to Ohio. It also cannot be verified by Cunningham because he was smart enough to move far away from the corrupt city of Steubenville after his exoneration. I'm not sure if Ed's lawyer would discuss the case or not. I do believe that Joe Corabi (who is now a judge) is honest enough and man enough to back up my story about the tapes and their contents, but if for some reason there is still doubt about my story, there is one thing that nobody can refute, and that is the trial transcript of the Cunningham case that will always remain at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
The tapes are also still in my possession and they are currently being played for the judge of the Nevada Supreme Court as I am fighting my extradition.
I wish the preceding story were the end of my odyssey, but unfortunately, it is just the beginning. I was told to give you readers some insight as to the reason Stern so zealously cooperated with the Steubenville Police Department when they framed me. When you hear the facts about my case you will have no doubt that I was framed and how it was done. Just as I told you that the story about the tapes was not only true, but could be verified, the same goes for the story you are about to hear in regards to the frame up. Everything that you read here can be substantiated by either my trail transcripts, credible witnesses, or the evidence that is currently in the possession of my attorneys.
Somehow, word leaked out that I was the one who supplied Ed Cunningham with the material that vindicated him, and that I even had more material in regards to Stern's illegal activities, but I would have been satisfied to let sleeping dogs lie, but instead, I was arrested and indicted for my past dealings in drugs. I pleaded guilty to the charges and served 4 years of my 5 year sentence before being paroled.
Immediately upon being paroled I was accosted by an old friend named Pete Demos, and a new man in town by the name of George Fisher. Demos was a former captain with the Sheriff's department and the two of them had been involved in deals together, some legal, some not so legal. I knew Demos from the many hours we shared together at various poker games played throughout the Steubenville area. A poker game in Steubenville is never hard to find, and I must say here that Demos is an exceptionally good poker player.
Demos introduced me to Fisher, who claimed to be a self-made millionaire who still participated in gambling, because he enjoyed the action, and also because he was good at it. There are many of us who can relate to that. The three of us went out to dinner and during the course of our conversation, the two of them told me that they were thinking about buying a building, renovating it, and then putting in some gambling. They then asked me if I were interested in becoming a full partner. I told them that I was on parole. It was then that Fisher explained that everything that we did would be on the up and up, or at least, it would not be illegal to the point where we had to worry about being arrested, and so we were to meet the next day at Fisher's attorney's office, and there the three of them would explain to me what the deal was.
It was more out of curiosity than wanting to get involved that drew me to the meeting. For the moment, the attorney will remain anonymous, but he knows who he is, and he knows that I speak the truth, and that I am fighting for my life, and try as I may, not to involve him. If push comes to shove, I will not hesitate to reveal the source. This is not being a snitch or a rat, this is a cry for justice.
The next day, the three of us met in Fisher's attorney's office, and there I was given an education on Ohio's statutes in regards to gambling. 99% of the people reading this gamble. If you play penny ante poker with your next door neighbor and his son-in-law, you are gambling. If you're a golfer and you indulge in a half-dollar skin game, you are gambling. If you belong to a bowling league, and a portion of your expenses goes into a prize fund to be shared at the end of the year in accordance to how your team finishes, you are gambling. I doesn't matter if you are playing pinochle for a penny a point, or a thousand dollars for a game, you are gambling. But guess what? You are not breaking the law. According to Ohio Statutes on Gambling, you are not doing anything illegal, and therefore you cannot be arrested. I cannot quote verbatim how the statute reads, but in a nut shell, it says that for gambling to be considered illegal, somebody must be making a commission, or receiving a percentage, or garnering a wage from the money being wagered, to justify it as being illegal. We had no intentions of breaking the law, we were merely going to circumvent it. Their plan was then revealed to me. We were going to buy a run-down building, renovate it, and invite people to participate in games. if they wanted to wager on the games, we would gladly accommodate them.
It turns out that Demos got us a remarkable deal on the old Icarian Hall, just a block from downtown Steubenville. The building was terribly run-down from months of being unoccupied, and vandalism, but it was structurally sound. All of the windows were broken, it needed a new roof, there was water damage inside, and there were several loads of debris that needed to be removed, but the building was salvageable. Fisher was to put up the money for the down payment and also pay for all of the material to renovate the place. I was to do all of the labor remodeling the building. To assure me that I couldn't go wrong, the building was to be purchased in my name, and if our plan failed, the worse I could do would be to end up with a totally remodeled building, that contained 2 apartments, a huge hall with kitchen facilities, and a parking lot big enough to accommodate about 30 cars. I couldn't see where I could go wrong, and so the deal was consummated, and I went to work. We spent about $10,000 on material for renovations, not counting my labor, and in about two months, I turned a city eyesore into a good looking and workable building with two beautiful upstairs apartments.
But before I had completed my work, trouble began to brew. I had the downstairs all done, and would let the guys play pinochle or knock rum while I was working on the upstairs. Then one day, one of the guys downstairs came upstairs to get me, and said that a cop wanted to see me. This was around July '89. I went down and met a Steubenville policeman whom I didn't know, but I had been gone from town for over 4 years, so I no longer knew all of the cops. The cop called me over to the side and informed me that the Chief wanted something. I asked him what, and he said, "You know, an envelope." I knew that at this particular time that Steubenville had no Chief of Police. Rumor around town was that there was no one on the force smart enough to pass the test. I figured that this cop was like the majority of the Steubenville cops, and was just trying to shake me down, so I politely informed him that my place was on the up and up, and so there would be no envelopes. And so the police harassment began.
For the next several weeks, the city police would visit my place 2 and 3 times a day, every day. They would walk right in, and stroll about the place for about a minute, and then walk back out. I was not overly concerned at the time because I was still working on the upstairs apartments, and the boys downstairs weren't doing anything illegal, but after a few weeks of this, I thought I'd put a stop to it by putting a sign on the door that said "Private Residence." This did not deter the cops at all. They still came to my place 2 or 3 times every day, walked right in without knocking, unannounced, and with no search warrant, and they began to increase the hassle. First they sent up the building inspector to inspect my place. Next, they sent up the City Health Inspector to inspect my place. Next, they sent up the City Plumbing Inspector to check out the place. Each time that one of the inspectors arrived, he was accompanied by two city policemen.
I finally grew tired of this and so I gave Mr. Costlow, the City Plumbing Inspector, a call, and asked him what compelled him to inspect my place. He replied that he had received a complaint. I asked him who filed the complaint, and he told me that it was confidential. I then asked him if he checked out every complaint that he received, and he assured me that he did. I then asked him if it was standard procedure to take along two city cops every time he checked out a complaint. Mr. Costlow must have been momentarily dumb-struck, for he made no reply, so then I asked him, "Tell me Mr. Costlow, did you go and ask for a police escort to come and check out my place, or did they volunteer their services?" Mr. Costlow then replied, "Mr. Koniski, I'm sorry and I really don't want to get involved.", and then hung up. I did manage to tape this phone conversation.
The following day, my place was visited by an entourage of city cops. There was Jerry McCartney, Capt. Burchfield, Capt. Stinson, and two city patrolmen. First they walked in and just looked around, and then they invited me outside. I realized afterwards that they wanted me outside because they didn't want any witnesses to the threats that they made.
A very heated exchange took place on the sidewalk that afternoon. It was loud enough to draw patrons out of the Spot Bar, Joe's Sausage Shop, and the deli across the street. The heated debate ended with Capt. Stinson probing his finger into my chest and threatening to rip my head off.
It was then that I decided to retaliate. I'm not referring to retaliation with violence or malice, I simply decided to see the proper authorities and persons who would protect my civil rights.
Up to this time, the city police had made over 200 visits to may place, and guess how many arrests they made. None! Zip- Zero- Zilch- Nada! And the reason they never made any arrests is because there was never anything illegal going on.
So, the following day, I went to the Herald Star, the city newspaper, and talked to Paul Giannimore, and gave him my story. Then I went to the City Manager, Gary DeFore, and told him what was happening. Then I went to the mayor. Next I went to Gary Repella, the Service Director and also supposedly the boss of the city police, and finally, I went to the FBI.
When I went to see the Service Director, I took with me a copy of the State of Ohio's Statutes on Gambling. I explained to him exactly what I was doing, and told him about the police harassment I was getting. Repella then called McCartney on the phone, and when I asked him what the acting chief said, Gary just shook his head and said, "Ratsy, you really don't want to know."
The Service Director is supposed to oversee the police department, but I could see that Repella was intimidated by McCartney. Repella also testified at my trial in regards to this meeting, but he managed to be evasive in his answers. I'm hoping now that Gary will stand up for his convictions and show a little more intestinal fortitude, should he be called upon again to discuss those issues.
I knew that my retaliation had found a sore spot because the next day McCartney came up to my place accompanied by two city cops, and screamed at me, "What the hell do you think you're doing?" Just trying to get by, I told him. "Not in my town," he screamed, "you're never going to operate here. I'm either going to run you out of town or send you back to prison." Then he stormed out...only this time there were witnesses.
Now I was being admonished by my partners, Demos and Fisher. They said that I should have been more patient, and they called for another meeting at Fisher's attorney's office. At this meeting, the attorney informed us that if we didn't pay, we just wouldn't be able to operate.
I was 100% against paying. I stated that if we weren't doing anything wrong or illegal, then we shouldn't have to pay protection, and furthermore, it had become a personal issue with me. I tried to remain adamant about this but Fisher claimed that he had too much time and money invested in the project to have it go down the drain. Fisher then took a thousand dollars out of his pocket, put it in an envelope, and handed it to the attorney. The lawyer simply said that he would take the money down and see what he could do, and called for another meeting the following day.
The next day, the four of us met again in the attorney's office, and Fisher asked him if the chief got the envelope. The attorney replied that the chief wasn't in, so he gave the envelope to Capt. Burchfield, and the captain said that he would see that the chief got it, and that it was now OK to operate.
I still remained skeptical about the situation, and I spent the following day watching TV while the boys played cards and pinochle. It was the first day in over 2 months that no cops paid a visit to my place.
The following day was Oct. 6th, and because no police had come to my place by 4pm, I assumed that the harassment was over, and so I finally indulged in a little card playing, won a considerable amount of money, and around 8pm decided to call it a night. This was the night that I was stopped by Mamula.
Now I know the question arises as to why Mamula would frame me after the bribe was paid and accepted, and it's a question that I, myself, have pondered. Maybe the attorney didn't give the money to Burchfield like he said he did. Maybe Burchfield didn't give the money to McCartney. Maybe McCartney got the money, but was still hostile over my actions and decided to frame me anyway. Maybe Mamula had not gotten the word to lay off me and was still following instructions formerly issued by the chief. All of these are only conjectures on my part, but there are too many weak links in the chain for the truth not to emerge eventually. But this is what transpired on the evening of October 6th, 1989.
My first thoughts as I stepped into the
crisp autumn air were, "What a perfect night for football," and Steubenville
Big Red was playing Weir High at Harding Stadium, which was right on my
way home. I was contemplating on whether to stop and see the game
of not because as much as I love football, I had just completed putting
in about 24 straight hours of poker, and I could use some sleep.
On the other hand, I had also just won over a thousand bucks in the game
and that kind of keeps the adrenaline flowing.
As I eased out of my lot and headed north on 4th Street, I caught a red light at 4th and Adams Streets. A police cruiser was heading south, and caught the same light. I had my turn signal on for a left turn, and when the light turned green, the officer motioned for me to proceed. I made the turn and noticed in my rear-view mirror that the cruiser had turned, and was directly behind me. I had had enough experience with the police, especially the Steubenville Police, to know when to mind my Ps and Qs, so I proceeded west on Adams Street staying within the speed limit, made a green light at 5th, and caught a red light at 7th.
Once again I glanced into the mirror and noticed that the cruiser was still behind me, so when the light turned from red to green, I counted one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, and the continued to proceed west. As I hit the on ramp to Washington Street I again glanced into the mirror and being as the cruiser was still there, I wanted to make sure I maintained a legal speed limit because there were no more lights or stop signs for a considerable distance, and the "Z" has a tendency to get up and go.
After traveling the better part of a mile, the blue flashing lights of the cruiser came on. I immediately felt an erie sensation because this was an area where there were no buildings, no houses, no people, and unfortunately, no witnesses.
I noticed through my side mirror that the
officer was approaching me with a lit flashlight and so I rolled down my
window and tacitly awaited his instructions.
The officer then asked me to exit the car and to go to the rear of the cruiser which was parked directly behind my car. I did so and once back there I was instructed to put my hands on the trunk of the cruiser and to spread eagle my legs. After doing so I was thoroughly frisked by the officer. After being searched, he ordered me into the back of the cruiser and slammed the door. He then entered my car, and I could see through the windows that he was thoroughly searching it too. Up to this point I was completely unconcerned because I knew that I had broken no laws and my car was as clean as a whistle. That's how much faith I had in the work that Tyrone did.
After the officer was satisfied (or probably dissatisfied) that my car was clean, he came back and removed me from the cruiser and once again ordered me to the back of the cruiser with the same instructions to once again lean spread eagle on the trunk of the cruiser while he again searched me, only this time after he was through, he ordered me to put my hands behind me and began to cuff me. At this point I asked him what the problem was, but he neglected to answer me, and then put me back into the cruiser.
While in the back seat of the cruiser the officer went to the back of the car and then I heard a loud grunt. I had no idea what it was, but I turned around and I saw the officer make two more thrusting motions and let out two more groans, but still had no inkling what it was all about.
About this time another cruiser pulled onto the scene with it's lights flashing and in less than 15 seconds there were 4 or 5 cruisers surrounding us, all with their lights flashing. I could see that one of the cops was the Chief of Police, Jerry McCartney. It was at this time that I saw the officer who had stopped me, running up to the chief gesturing and screaming, "You can't believe what he did. He was choking me, he stabbed me, he tried to kill me."
Just for a moment I thought to myself "Wow!
I wonder when all of that happened," and just as suddenly, it occurred
to me, hey, he's talking about me. Then I heard the chief say "Take
him downtown and book him." Now I know Jerry (the chief) fairly well.
We not only went to school together, we also thieved together and when
I was in the bookie business, he never failed to pick up his share of envelopes.
I found out later that they were taking the officer who had stopped me to the hospital, and the officer assigned to take me downtown was Andy the Greek. I knew Andy fairly well, and he was considered a decent guy, and so I begin to plead with him, but all he would say was, "Joe, I'm just following orders."
Once at the police station I could see that neither common sense, pleading, nor begging was going to do any good, so I tacitly went through the booking procedure and then the two officers took me over to the county jail because the city jail was condemned and was uninhabitable.
Once we got to the county jail the two city policemen uncuffed me and went on their way. It was then that one of the two sheriff's deputies remarked, "So you're the infamous police slasher." This deputy's name was Ron Moro and I asked him what he meant by that remark as I was still really unaware of what was going on. Deputy Moro then stated, "We just got a call that they were bringing in a guy who just slashed up a cop. Man, we thought that you would have bumps and bruises all over your head. We thought they would really f--- you up."
Realizing now what was going on, I asked
the two deputies, "Would you two guys take a good look at me? I'm
not drunk, I'm not stoned, I am perfectly calm and totally rational.
What's more is, I don't have any bumps. I don't have any bruises
and I'm not all f---ed up, and all of us know what the Steubenville Police
SOP is, especially if a cop gets hurt." The two of them looked at
each other and one of them remarked, "Man, I really believe that you didn't
do it but you know we gotta do what we gotta do." And so they fingerprinted
me and took my mug shot. hopefully this mug shot is still available
because you will see no bumps, no bruises, not even a hair out of place.
But then I was off to jail.
This is the first of three episodes that I am writing in regards to this travesty of justice. In my next episode I will discuss my trial and the distinct possibility of jury rigging and the many lies and inconsistencies told by Mamula that can be substantiated by my trial transcript. In fact, my trial transcript will show that aside from Mamula's accusation, there is not one iota of physical evidence that can connect me to his accusation. Fact is, all of the evidence is directly contradictory to Mamula's accusation.
As for the jury rigging, everyone in the Steubenville community is well aware of Chief McCartney's and one of his cohorts being indicted by a grand jury for jury rigging and/or jury tampering. Of course nothing came of it but then again, nothing has ever come of the numerous times any of the Steubenville Police were involved in or suspected of being involved in any criminal activities, and lest we forget, I have and intend to publish that list.
In my final episode, I will show to what extremes and financial cost that McCartney and Stern have gone through to keep me incarcerated. They did so not to keep a dangerous criminal locked up, or because they feared for their lives, but because they realize what I know and can prove will not only jeopardize their careers, but will undoubtedly lead to criminal charges.
I speak the
truth because the truth will eventually set me free.
To be continued...
©2000 IIAO Inc.