Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Nifonged in Nicaragua

"Send out the Gringo. We'll kill him!"

On November 23, 2006, Nashville native Eric Volz was arrested in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua for the rape and murder of his ex-girlfriend, Doris Ivanez Jimenez. Despite conclusive evidence that he was in Managua over two hours away at the time of the crime, the twenty-seven year old publisher of El Puente Magazine, was convicted last month, following a three day trial. Mr. Volz was sentenced to serve thirty years in “El Modelo” prison, the maximum sentence allowed, after Judge Ivette Toruño Blanco threw out all the defense evidence, which included testimony of multiple alibi witnesses, cell phone and computer records, signed credit voucher, and more. Also disallowed were the findings of the prosecution’s forensic expert, who testified that none of the physical evidence (over 100 hairs found on and around the victim, as well as blood, saliva, semen, and footprints) matched Volz. The parallels between the Volz case and the Hoax, ranging from evidence of actual innocence to improper extra-judicial statements by the prosecutor and the community hysteria fueled by inflammatory media coverage, are all eerily similar.
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Evidence of an Alibi
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In Durham, District Attorney Mike Nifong, after initially refusing to view Reade Seligmann's alibi evidence, reinvented the Hoax to change a thirty minute alleged assault into a five to ten minute event, after conclusive documentation (time-stamped photographs, ATM and restaurant receipts, cell phone records, and witness affidavits supporting the alibi) were publicized. Later, in another revision, the time and duration of the assault would again change in an apparent effort to beat the alibi.
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In Nicaragua, prosecutor Maria Esperanza Peña would disregard ten signed depositions from witnesses who verified that Volz was in another city, cell phone records, instant messages, and a signed credit voucher. Judge Blanco would later disallow six of the alibi witnesses from testifying, before throwing out the testimony of the remaining four witnesses as being refuted “very bravely” by another witness who claimed that he did not see Mr. Volz when delivering a rental car. In the tradition of Nifong, Maria Esperanza Peña would also alter the theory of the crime to fit the alibi.
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Of the change, the local media cheerleader, El Nuevo Diario [a/k/a the Snooze Room South] would gleefully proclaim:

“With this version the Office of the public prosecutor tries to consolidate its accusation against Volz and once and for all to annul his alibis of being in Managua the day of the crime.”

The Friends of Eric Volz website offers meticulous details of Mr. Volz’s alibi for the time the crime occurred:
Statement of Facts in Connection with Eric Volz' Whereabouts
on November 21, 2006

Doris Ivanez Jimenez was murdered on Tuesday, November 21, 2006, between 11:45 am and 1:00 pm, inside a clothing store she owned, Sol Fashion, in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

On the day of her murder, Eric Volz was over two (2) hours away in Managua. The proof that Eric was in Managua and innocent of this crime is conclusive. Many witnesses have given written statements and will testify that Eric was in Managua on the day of the murder. These statements are available to anyone who would like to review them. In addition to these many eyewitnesses, no physical evidence exists that would connect Eric to this murder.

.Throughout the evening of November 20, 2006, Eric was in Managua at the house where he lived. Eric's house also serves as the offices of EP magazine, a bilingual Central American magazine. Eric awoke there the morning of November 21, 2006, and entered the office area at around 9:15 am. The housekeeper, a security guard and no fewer than five EP workers were there at the time, saw Eric, and have given written statements confirming this fact. Eric's defense counsel has these written statements, which are available for anyone to review.
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At around 10:30 am, Eric received a visit from Maria Mercedes, who works at Etica y Transparencia, a non-profit organization. Maria had been on the cover of the launch issue of EP. Maria Mercedes brought along a friend and they met with Eric at the offices for about half an hour, until approximately 11:00 am.
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Around 11:30 am, Eric met with Ricardo Castillo, a potential contributing editor who is a journalist working with diverse foreign media including the BBC of London and America Economia. Several EP workers observed the meeting with Castillo. This meeting also included a telephone conference call with Castillo and a business contact in Atlanta, Georgia (USA), Nick Purdy.
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This 54-minute conference call ended at 1:15 pm and is documented by phone records that are available to anyone who wishes to review them. Also available are Nick Purdy's personal notes and instant messages (IM) from Eric showing that in total the two were engaged in intensive, back and forth business communications from approximately 9:21 am until 2:07 pm. In addition to these telephone records, cell phone records for Eric's cell phone also confirm Eric's use of his cell phone in Managua that day.

Eric then had lunch with Mr. Castillo and an EP employee at the same house in Managua. The lunch, prepared by the housekeeper, Martha Aguirre, was witnessed by other EP colleagues. Castillo left the house around 1:30 pm. Mr. Castillo and Mr. Purdy have provided written statements that are also available for anyone's review.
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Eric was at his house in Managua with at least five people when he received the tragic news that Doris was dead. Around that same time, 2:30 pm, yet another witness arrived, a hair stylist who had been previously scheduled to be there. She, too, saw Eric at the house in Managua.
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At about 3 pm, Eric rented a car, as he had done many other times, to get to San Juan del Sur and help Doris' family. Although Eric had a car in Managua, the rental vehicle was better suited to pass slow traffic on the road to San Juan. The car was delivered by the rental agency to the Managua house. Eric did not meet with the rental car staff himself. One of his employees brought the rental car credit vouchers inside the house for Eric to sign. Eric's Nicaraguan counsel has copies of the vouchers showing that Eric signed the credit voucher for the car. Cell phone records show that Eric was using his cell phone in the greater Managua area until 4:31 pm that afternoon. On his way to San Juan del Sur, Eric went to Rivas to pick up Doris' father, Ivan Jimenez. They then proceeded to San Juan del Sur where Eric assisted the family with Doris' funeral arrangements and attended her funeral.
Physical Evidence
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In Durham, police and prosecutors initially expressed certainty that DNA evidence would tie the suspects to the crime. When DNA evidence exonerated the suspects, District Attorney Mike Nifong would proceed with indictments regardless and attempt to downplay the significance of the lack of physical evidence in the media and in court filings.

In Nicaragua, prosecutor Peña would initially speak hopefully about biological tests, then decry the delay in receiving the results, then publicly and falsely indicate that forensic testing pointed to Volz. At trial, Judge Blanco would disqualify the testing and testimony of the prosecution’s expert witness - Noel Martín Corea. Although Mr. Corea found that scientific testing of blood, hair, pubic hair, saliva, and semen did not match Mr. Volz, the judge ruled the results as “not being conclusive” on the incredible basis that Mr. Corea did not know what he analyzed and couldn’t read his own reports. In tossing the evidence, Judge Blanco ruled that it neither favored nor incriminated the defendant. Blanco would also disqualify a footprint expert’s findings as not conclusive.
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Witness Credibility, or lack thereof.
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In Durham, charges have been brought with no evidence other than the word of an accuser devoid of credibility and despite a mountain of evidence that disproves her claims.

In Nicaragua, charges were brought, and convictions secured, solely on the word of the suspect who was originally charged with the crime. At the time of his arrest, Nelson Antonio López Danglas, an admitted drug addict and convicted criminal, was found to have scratches on his body and injuries to his penis, but was later inexplicably exonerated by prosecutor Peña. During the trial, Dangla, apparently testifying while under the influence, was the only witness who placed Volz at the scene of the crime and not in Managua.
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Rumors of Bribes
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In Durham, Clyde Yancey, a/k/a Cousin Jakki, would fuel the Hoax with a tale of a $2,000,000 offer to drop the charges. Despite a Durham police investigation that debunked the rumor, media pundits Wendy Murphy, Georgia Goslee and Cash Michaels would continue to promote it.
In Nicaragua, Mercedes Alvarado would use her close ties to local journalists to wage a media war against Volz that included a tale of an $1,000,000 offer, allegedly made on behalf of the defendant, incredibly, by the attorney of an uncharged and unrelated suspect. Alvarado used the rumor to incite a courthouse mob and was allowed to testify to the unsubstantiated offer at trial..
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Media Frenzy
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In and around Durham, the Hoax was hyped by inflammatory press coverage that presumed the suspects guilty. They emphasized the "brutal" and "horrific" thirty minute assault, included definitive statements from District Attorney Nifong about racist motives and a police spokesman describing a, now known to be fictional, wall of silence. They publicized a potentially life-threatening vigilante "Wanted" poster, declared the team’s imagined silence "sickening," and fomented hatred by noting the class and economic disparities between the poorer locals from town and the privileged Yankees in gown while never failing to note the races of the accuser and the accused. .
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In Nicaragua, the Volz case became a tabloid sensation with headlines cheering the near lynching of the Gringo. There were declarative statements from prosecutor Peña labeling Volz's alibi as false, as well as misrepresenting evidence, demands for “justice,” cries to not let the Gringo buy his way out, and complaints that "If he were a Nica, they won't have let him out [on home arrest pending trial and after multiple attacks were made against him in jail and outside the courthouse.]." The Snooze Room South would repeatedly emphasis the race, class, outsider issue by refering to Volz as a Mexican-American or employing the slur: "Gringo.".
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Community Uproar
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In Durham, an angry mob assembled around the lacrosse captains' house, banging pots and pans, calling for “justice” while bearing "Castrate!" signs, distributing life-threatening vigilante posters and “fact” sheets full of lies. Victoria Peterson called for the house to be burned to the ground. An armed contingent of the New Black Panther Party approached the Duke campus after declaring their intention to interrogate the lacrosse team. In court and outside the courtroom, members of the NBPP would threaten a wrongfully indicted young man with cries that included, “[You’re a] dead man walking.”
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In Nicaragua, an angry mob, numbering in the hundreds and wielding machetes and clubs, waited outside the courthouse chanting, "Send out the gringo, we'll kill him!"
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In fairness to Nicaragua, it should be noted that there one does have the right to a speedy trial, which is supposedly guaranteed in our Constitution. From his arrest in late November to his conviction in early February, Volz's Nifonging took less time than it has taken Attorney General Roy Cooper's special prosecutors to decide whether to continue the Nifonging that began over one year ago.

Philip Wood
Sources and additional information on the Nifonging of Eric Volz:

18 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Sounds like Durham has a Sister City with Nifong's & Stephens twins! They even have a snooze room!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Jail in Nicargua for a gringo [i][b]might[/b][/i] be more frightening than jail in NC for a rich white yankee... dunno

Anonymous said...

oops that was supposed to be might

Anonymous said...

was Maria Hock a candidate for being elected DA as Nifong?

Anonymous said...

should have been Maria Rock

LieStoppers said...

9:30: Not that I am aware of but I cannot say with any certainty. I'll look for more information in the next few days. - Philip

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LieStoppers said...

Corrections: The post has been edited to reflect the proper name of the prosecutor, María Esperanza Peña.

Anonymous said...

Well, I hope the DOJ and/or President Bush go to his rescue. We cannot tolerate Americans being falsely imprisoned (that includes the Duke Palyers as well).

BDay

bill anderson said...

Something that we need to keep in mind is that Nicaragua is considered to be a Third World backwater where "justice" routinely is bought and sold where corruption if endemic.

It has come to this: we now are comparing Durham and Nicaragua and find that the two places are identical when it comes to a "justice" system. What does this say about Durham?

Anonymous said...

I was once told by an Assistant U.S. Attorney (who later became Governor of Illinois) that you don't necessarily get justice in a courtroom; the only thing you can reasonably expect is "the law." When officers of the court are able to use and abuse "the law" as Nifong et. el. have, we must all be ashamed of what we have allowed to happen. Newspapers like the once-great NYT should have grabbed the Nifong story and run with it, but they aided and abetted him because of the NYT's liberal and very racist bias against white males. Thank God we have people like Bill Anderson, K.C. Johnson, John-in-Carolina, and Liestoppers standing athwart history and saying "No!!"
Another former Conservative Republican turned Libertarian.

jim2 said...

I wish this would be required reading for all potbangers, the 88, Brodhead, and all others involved in perpetrating or perpetuating this travesty.

Anonymous said...

You draw an interesting parallel between Tennessean Eric Volz and the Duke Defendants and also their persecutors. Volz is now rotting in a Nicarauguan jail, having previously swallowed the swill at University of California San Diego. But you fail to draw the strongest parallels of all:

1. The defendants in both cases are white males, or perceived as white males.

2. The victim and the non-victim are non-white females.

It appears that the true purpose of the Liestoppers Blog is to perpetuate the biggest Hoax and most dangerous Lie of all: "All Races Are Ekwalz!"

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for this guy, but people need to stay out of these banana republics.

GuyInCT said...

Unfortunately, the US is becoming more like them when it should be the other way around, Thanks to all the Multiculturalists here.

Anonymous said...

Im sure this happens allover the world. It would be nice we send a Team of Special Forces over there and put a BU&&%T in her head....