Chicago Indymedia :
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Union Brother Appeals Death Sentence

Mario Flores was a Park District lifeguard and member of SEIU Local 46 in 1984 when he was convicted for a murder he did not commit. The facts of the case show the irregularities of the prosecution against him and the lack of evidence. Mario Flores should be freed and given a new trial.
During 1983 and 1984 Mario Flores was a member of SEIU, Local 46, working as a Chicago Park District lifeguard at Humboldt Park Beach. It was an ideal summer job for the teenage diving champion who took great pride in his lifesaving training. However, by November of 1984 Mario had been arrested for murder and armed robbery along with three other young men.
Mario is innocent and any fair trial will not prove otherwise, but his trial was a miscarriage of justice and his case demonstrates much that is wrong with the judicial system and death penalty. Mario Flores should be freed and given a new trial.

Near 2:00am, on New Year's Eve, 1983-84, two cars were involved in an accident at the intersection of Western and North Ave. Allegedly, two additional cars stopped at the scene of the accident. Later, at 6:45am, one of the drivers in the accident, Gilbert Perez, was found shot to death in a nearby alley at 2259 W. St. Paul. The car driven by Gilbert had been left against the light pole that it struck and according to the driver and passenger of the other car in the accident, Gilbert had left the scene on foot.
Undocumented anonymous phone calls tipped off police that a woman had information about the murder. Eleven months later Nancy Lebron agreed to identify men that she had supposedly observed from her apartment window at the scene of a car accident on New Year's Eve. She identified Sammy Ramos and Mario Flores from police photographs.
Sammy Ramos was arrested for the murder of Gilbert Perez. Sammy stated that he was not involved, but that Harry Gomez told him that Harry, Victor Flores and Mario Flores killed someone in an incident that began with a car accident.
In questioning, Sammy, Harry, Victor and Nancy related that Gilbert had left the scene of the accident in the third car arriving at the intersection. Nancy told several versions of what she saw with different license plate numbers, car colors and drivers.
Harry, Victor and Mario were also arrested for the murder of Gilbert Perez. Victor stated that he was at the murder scene. Mario stated that he knew nothing about the incident.

1) No physical evidence connects Mario to the murder.

2) The witnesses for the prosecution had much to gain by their testimony against Mario. In return for their testimony they received favorable conclusions for their own cases.

-Four counts of criminal drug charges against Nancy Lebron were dropped after her testimony.
-At first, Sammy Ramos pled the fifth amendment, but was then given full immunity. He also plea bargained three other cases including armed robbery, attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated battery and armed violence in exchange for his testimony.
-Victor Flores was promised that his testimony would be considered when the State determined how to proceed with his future case. Murder charges against Victor were dismissed.

3) The defense attorney never called any of the seven witnesses who would provide evidence of Mario's whereabouts on New Year's Eve. He did not bother to interview the victims of the car accident who stated that Gilbert left on foot and never took notes of any interviews with Mario.

4) The same defense attorney, in conflicting interest, also represented Sammy Ramos and Harry Gomez.

5) The judge threatened Sammy Ramos, attempting to force his testimony and coerced the defense attorney into statements to cover his own ineptitude.

6) In appeal, the judge determined that the defense attorney's omission of alibi witnesses did not show ineffective counsel, but rather was part of his strategy.

To join the campaign for a new trial for Mario Flores call 773 569-4318



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