Sunday, February 15, 2015

Man who spent 10 months in jail for father's murder is released after PACEMAKER records prove his alibi

A man who was charged with the murder of his father and spent 10 months in jail before pacemaker records proved his alibi is now seeking $5million in damages from Ontario police.

Frank Cara was visiting his grandparents on an early February morning in 2012 when his father Claudio, who he lived with at the time, was stabbed to death five times.

It was Frank who found his father bleeding on the kitchen floor, the knife still in his chest.

Cara was charged with his father's murder, despite his protestations he was visiting his grandmother when his father was attacked.

Claudio's pacemaker had recorded his heart's very last beat, at 10:35am that morning.

But that very evidence which proved Frank's innocence, and was provided to police by St. Jude Medical in July, lay sitting for months in a 15,000-page folder deemed 'marginally relevant,' according to the Toronto Star.

Meanwhile Frank was sitting in jail, having been charged for his father's murder and denied bail by police in November.

Models like the one Claudio used also record if an electrical pulse was unsuccessful in its attempt to contract the heart.

Which is how the pacemaker was able to record when exactly his heart beat last.

It would be 10 months before his lawyers found the data that would set him free.

Frank is now seeking compensation, recently filing a claim for wrongful arrest and detention, as well as investigation negligence.

The 31-year-old said police ruined his life, destroying his career and reputation.

Despite the fact that four witnesses confirmed Frank had been visiting his ill grandmother at the time his father was killed, Durham police were convinced he was the murderer.

They tracked Frank's car, read his text messages and intercepted his phone calls, and even asked his sister to wear a wire while confronting him.

And, according to the suit, one officer tried to ruin Frank's reputation with his family and friends, while another made threats to his girlfriend.

It claims one officer said Frank 'was a drug addict, as well as a liar and a murderer,' and another warned Frank's girlfriend, who had children, that she would be reported to child protective services if she did not kick him out of the house.

Bernie O' Brien, one of Frank's lawyers, said Frank was accused of the crime 'long before any sensible investigation had been undertaken.'

'On the flimsiest of evidence, they came to him and suggested he had been complicit.'

Frank maintained his innocence and some family members, as well as his girlfriend, still stood by him.

He also co-operated with police, providing DNA, fingerprint samples, his car and clothes.

But the suit alleges police continued to fumble the investigation.They waited eight months to do a DNA analysis, didn't request Frank's clothes until days after the murder, and, although they had already searched the house immediately after the killing, they decided to search it again three months later.

And when Frank refused to take a polygraph test because he found them unreliable, police took it as 'further evidence of his guilt'.

Investigators had actually used the pacemaker as a threat to Frank, telling him it would have 'a lot of information' on it.

Frank told the Toronto Star he remembered replying, 'go ahead and do that'. But they didn't and the suit alleges they instead chose to 'ignore and bury it'.

Frank's charges were withdrawn in December 2013, after his lawyers had experts analyze the pacemaker data.

It was ruled that 'there was no longer a reasonable chance of a conviction' based on medical evidence.

A Durham police spokesman said they could not comment on the case because of current legal proceedings.

As for Claudio, his murder is listed on the Durham police website as an unsolved homicide.

But Frank said that, instead of trying to figure out who killed his father, he owes it to Claudio to restore the family name 'back to where it once was'.

Original report here

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