Timothy, Eddie, Saint Cabrini discussed on Crime Junkie

Crime Junkie


See, and he wasn't involved. He says that he didn't even know Sean. Eddie also says that he doesn't know why Timothy told police that he was involved, except that the two of them just never got along, they actually got into a fistfight in school in 1985, but Eddie says that that was the last time they saw each other until like 91 at a bar, where they exchanged a look but didn't even speak. A lieutenant at the sheriff's department in Florida offers to give Eddie a polygraph, and he agrees. When he's done, the person conducting the polygraph says that in his opinion, Eddie is telling the truth. Police don't have enough to charge him with anything. And back in New York, despite his unwillingness to speak with detectives, Joey also agrees to take a polygraph and he passes too, so no charges for him either. That same day, Timothy's case goes to a grand jury, and he's indicted on a second degree murder charge. But by now, Dennis has already started to build a really strong defense. Because Timothy's mother is certain that in January of 1986, Timothy was actually in a youth group home called saint cabrini, which is an hour away from Middletown. Timothy was apparently sent there because he was getting into some trouble. But he hadn't been arrested or anything back then, so we're not talking about a high security setup. I mean, still, the kids who stay there are monitored. And his lawyer realizes that this could be the answer to their prayers. He subpoenas the records from saint cabrini and sure enough, he sees that Timothy's placement there went from December 30th, 1985, through January 31st, 1986. Dennis is now totally convinced that Timothy's confession was bogus. But the records he has won't be enough to satisfy the court. Their general placement records, there's no documentation proving that Timothy was there when Sean was killed. So it's time to get the DA's office on board. Of course, prosecutors want more information. So they send an investigator of their own to the facility to dig deeper. The DA's investigator manages to get more detailed records that show not just placement, but hourly bed checks on the day of the murder. Dennis pours through the records as fast as he can, but in the meantime, a preliminary hearing is held, where police dispute the defense's claims that Timothy's confession was coerced. Detectives who testify say Timothy wasn't scared at all. He was totally calm when they spoke with him, and they were, too, because they didn't think that they were interviewing a suspect. But Dennis says that with a guy like Timothy, police wouldn't have had to be wildly aggressive to get him talking. He was very compliant, and it would have been easy to press his buttons. An article by police interrogation expert Richard a Leo in the journal of the American academy of psychiatry and the law says that people who are highly suggestible or compliant are more likely to falsely confess. Highly suggestible people tend to be unassertive and have higher levels of anxiety. And those in other personality traits can make them more vulnerable to interrogation pressure. Timothy could fit the bill, but maybe that doesn't even matter. Maybe those group home records will be all they need to prove that he wasn't involved. According to Tristan Corden's reporting, the saint cabrini records state that all 43 youths were in their beds from the night of January 15th, 1986 through the next morning. They were checked on every hour from one to 9 a.m., and in that important time window of like four to 6 a.m., staff noted that everyone was asleep and the cottage was clean and quiet. But it might not be the solid piece of evidence the defense thinks it is. This episode was made possible by Etsy, where special doesn't have to mean expensive. I don't know if you guys have met me before, but I adore sequin. 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That's because a sank cabrini staff member who was on duty at the time testifies at the hearing, and according to detective sergeant Jason Jennings, the man admits that he had been caught sleeping on the job once before. And his supervisor told him if it ever happened again he'd be fired. So, as for the group home records being indisputable proof that Timothy was nowhere near Middletown, investigators have their doubts. But his lawyer doesn't agree, he says the attendance records placed Timothy at saint cabrini continuously through the entire month of January in 1986. So if prosecutors want to move ahead, they're going to need to show that the facility's records are wrong. Not just around the time that Sean was murdered, but a couple of days before that when Timothee said that Eddie called him at home to arrange the whole thing. The DA realizes his office probably won't be able to tear apart Timothy's alibi. But there's one more thing that he wants before he just dismisses the murder charge. He asks for a polygraph. Under most circumstances, a defense attorney is not going to urge a defendant to take a polygraph. But this is not most circumstances. Not only is Dennis convinced that a polygraph won't hurt them, he thinks it's going to be the thing that saves Timothy. So on Saturday, October 17th, Timothy is brought in from jail to a library in the DA's office. While he answers questions, his lawyer Dennis, Timothy's mom, the DA and the investigator wait in another room. There's some nervousness in the air. Even though the defense thinks this will go their way with the polygraphs. I mean, you can never be a 100% sure. But Timothy finishes up and right then and there, they find out he passed. That Monday, after 12 days in Orange County jail, Timothy walks out a free man. The DA tells the public that at this point there is no indication that Sean was murdered because he was involved with drugs in some way, so police are back to square one. Detective Bernstein wants to keep going, maybe track down other group home employees, formally interview them, even polygraph them. But the chief tells him it's time to move on, the charge was dismissed, that's it. Cynthia tries to wrap her head around the latest development. I mean, in less than two weeks, there went from being three people potentially facing charges for her son's murder to none. It is a roller coaster ride that she never wanted to get on in the first place. And as much as the Edwards family has been trying to move forward, it's almost impossible to do while they're still being bombarded with rumors. Especially because many of the people who share info have an ulterior motive. Like, if someone is mad at a neighbor, they'll tell Cynthia the neighbor might have had something to do with Sean's murder, hoping that she'll pass it along to police. This goes on for years, and in October of 1999, that's when a new lead comes in. A man who just retired from the Middletown state hospital tells police that one of the psychiatric patients, a guy named William, used to threaten to kill staff members, quote, like

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