By Seth Daniel
One defense attorney in the Officer Daniel Talbot murder case is questioning the relationship between the Revere Police and the caseâ€™s key witness, who has received more than $8,500 in witness relocation expenses since the investigation began.
Talbot was shot and killed behind Revere High School (RHS) in the early morning hours of September 29, 2007, while he was off-duty.
On trial for Talbotâ€™s murder is a quartet of defendants, though the lead case is that of Robert Iacoviello Jr., 21, of 59 Thurlow Ave. He is charged with murder and is the accused shooter of Talbot. He also faces two unrelated firearms offenses.
Also charged in the case – but with lesser crimes – are Derek Lodie, 18, James Heang, 18, and Gia Nagy, 18, all of Revere. They are facing various charges of accessory to murder.
Only Nagy is out on bail. The other three defendants have been held without bail in the Nashua Street Jail since October 2007.
Attorney Peter Krupp, who represents Iacoviello Jr., filed numerous motions in Suffolk Superior Court in January and February, requesting more information and also questioning the relationship between the key witness and Revere Police.
The key witness, who is named in court documents but whose name has been withheld by the Journal, is a 22-year-old Revere resident whom many around town would say is troubled – with a past that includes a few run-ins with police over the years.
Krupp questioned why the police chose a key witness that is a troubled young man and who allegedly changed his story several times when talking with authorities about the Talbot murder.
â€œDespite the fact that [the witness] told Revere Police complete lies and altered his story in the days following the incident, Revere Police chose to work with [the witness] and ultimately offered him assistance in exchange for cooperation,â€ wrote Krupp in a court filing.
What does all that mean?
Well, it could mean nothing more than the fact that a young man who has been in trouble several times with police has decided to help them find the murderer of a Revere police officer.
Most people involved with the case would tend to believe that.
However, for Krupp and others defending the case, the familiarity between the key witness and the police could mean the possibility of coercion – and establishing the possible coercion of a key witness to the jury would be a blow to the prosecution, especially in Suffolk County, where juries tend to be skeptical of prosecutors and police.
In the ensuing investigation into the Talbot case – only days after Talbot was shot – court records indicate the witness told Revere Police that he had driven Iacoviello Jr. and another defendant in the case, Jimmy Heang, to the RHS parking lot to help out their friend, Derek Lodie, another defendant in the case.
Lodie was the first individual to allegedly engage in a confrontation with a group of off-duty police officers that were socializing and drinking beers on the bleachers behind RHS. Those officers included Talbot, William Soto, Stacey Bruzzese and former Officer Evan Franklin. Talbotâ€™s fiancÃ©e, Constance Bethel, was also there.
The witness told investigators that he parked on True Street and waited for his friends. Shortly after hearing gunshots, he allegedly fled the scene and went back to a party, where he had been previously, at the McNeil household on Cooledge Street.
After picking up three friends at that party and leaving very shortly after arriving, documents indicate the key witness began driving away from the party.
Then, at the corner of Blaney Street and Constitution Avenue, four police officers, including Officer Soto, made a traffic stop of the key witness and his friends.
Despite the very hot investigation of Talbotâ€™s shooting, and the policeâ€™s existing relationship with the key witness, the group was allowed to leave the scene shortly after being stopped. According to records filed by Krupp, neither the key witness nor his friends were questioned about Talbotâ€™s shooting or their whereabouts during the shooting.
However, the key witness was brought in later for questioning, and on October 4, 2007 – just five days after the shooting – he entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the commonwealth. That MOU indicated the key witness would cooperate with the investigation and provide testimony in exchange for witness protection amenities.
Krupp indicates in a filing that, when questioned, the key witness displayed a familiarity with police that sent up a red flag for him.
â€œIt appears from discussions in the case that [the key witness] began cooperating with police in their investigation soon after the incident occurred,â€ wrote Krupp. â€œIn a recorded interview with police in early October 2007, [the key witness] exchanged a familiarity with the interrogating police officers and a strong susceptibility to being influenced by police.â€
Krupp went so far as to say that during the stop and during the interviews, police and the key witness seemed to be on a first-name basis with one another.
In court filings, he also drew upon an incident that happened on Goldie Street on the evening of Halloween 2006.
In that incident, a Malden man stabbed the key witness on Goldie Street after some sort of confrontation between the two. During the ensuing chaos of a search for the Malden man, police cornered the man in a driveway on Goldie Street.
Coincidentally, Officer Dan Talbot was the officer who confronted the Malden man and ordered him to drop the knife he was brandishing. When the man didnâ€™t comply, Talbot fired eight shots from his handgun at the suspect. Oddly enough, he didnâ€™t hit the man with any of those shots; they all missed.
An investigation into the incident cleared Talbot and all involved Revere officers of any wrongdoing. Police were cleared, mostly, on the statements made by the key witness. In fact, the key witness is believed to have testified for police at the Malden manâ€™s criminal trial, which wrapped up after Talbotâ€™s death, in January 2008 while the key witness was in the witness protection program.
Between October 2, 2007 and February 14, 2008, the state paid more than $8,500 for the key witness to remain in witness protection.
Other major witnesses in the case include the brother of one of the defendants and also a Saugus youth who – in wearing a T-shirt that read â€œFree Lodieâ€ – was the instigator of a major fracas at the 2007 Columbus Day Parade between himself, Revere Police and friends of Talbot.