Archive for January, 2010

A Summary Of The Case

by on Jan.26, 2010, under News, Updates

A Brief Summary:

Carlos Ventura (a drug dealer) and Manuel Lugo met on the same night that Ventura was murdered.  They had a brief arguement over misinformation given to Ventura about Lugo (that Lugo was moving in on Venturas territory).  Lugo corrected the misinformation, they shook hands and went their separate ways. About 10 minutes later, shots rang out from the area Lugo had just left.  He walked back up the street to find that Ventura and his pregnant girlfriend had been shot to death.  Miraculously, the baby was born alive.

7 weeks later, Wilfredo Roman and Manuel Lugo were arrested.  Lugo was charged with ordering Roman to shoot Ventura and causing the death of Colon in the process.  Roman was charged with shooting Ventura and Colon. In a statement to police, Lugo admitted that he had an arguement with Ventura but that the arguement ended peacefully. That he had nothing to do with the shooting and that he was a block away talking to a girl when the shooting took place.  (it is worth noting that where Lugo was and where the shooting happened, aren’t visible to one another)Roman told police that he witnessed Lugo and Ventura argue and that shortly after a blue car arrived and that Lugo spoke briefly to the passenger. The car drove away and came back around.  Chino and a fat guy got out.  Chino walked over to Venturas car and shots rang out. (Being innocent Lugo never gave any credit to Romans statement)

Lugo and Roman were tried in April of 1994, by seperate juries.  During Lugos trial Angel Otero, the prosecutions only “eyewitness” to the shooting, testified that after the arguement between Lugo and Ventura, Lugo instructed Roman to kill Ventura but to be careful of his pregnant girlfriend(Marilyn Colon).  That he (Otero) then witnessed Roman pull out an Uzi from his coat and shoot Ventura and Colon.  His step-son, Julio Santos, testified that he heard the arguement between Lugo and Ventura but did not witness the shooting.

Ramona Garcia, the defenses only eyewitness, testified that on the night of the shooting, she was on Vyse Avenue and observed a car arrive.  That she saw 2 people get out of that car and then heard several gunshots.  She testified that these people were not Roman and Lugo.

On April 27,1994, Roman was acquitted of all charges and Lugo was convicted on all counts and sentenced to 45 year to life.  (Manuel is serving time for ordering these murders and no shooter has been charged with carrying it out)

Information revealed in a book by Professor Robert Jackall, published in 1997, states-Ulysses  “Chino” Mena alleged that Lugo was opening a drug spot on Vyse Avenue for Sepulveda (Lenny).  That Lugo was having problems with Ventura and turned to Sepulveda to persuade Ventura.  That Sepulveda, Mena and some other guys waited on Vyse until Lugo signaled that Ventura had arrived. Then Sepulveda asked “who is going to do it?”  Mena said he would and ran over to Venturas car where he shot Ventura and Colon.

6 days before Lugos sentencing, at Lenny Sepulvedas plea agreement (for numerous charges other than this crime)he admitted that he ordered mena to kill Ventura.  Sepulveda added that he did that at Lugos behest and based on future drug business consideration. (Remember Lugo is incarcerated for ordering Roman to kill Ventura)

In an affadavit to Private Investigator Michael Race on Sept. 9, 2003, Angel Otero recanted his trial testimony and swore that Dawn Florio, Lugos prosecutor at trial, coached him on what to say at trial.  Otero also alleges that Florio gave him money to buy drugs at a Manhattan prison, “The Tombs” and that at the conclusion of that visit, he was searched and found in possession of $30. and was given an infraction for having contraband. September 2005, 2 years after this affadavit, Dawn Florio was arrested for given drugs to her imprisoned client at the same facility “The Tombs”)  (Florio is now a defense attorney after being fired from the Bronx DA’s office in 2000 for perjury)

In a sworn affadavit to Race on November 6th 2003, Julio Santos (Oteros step-son), also recanted his trial testimony stating that his step father told him to lie for reasons unknown to him.

In addition, Vivian Otero, Angels Oteros wife at the time, gave Race  an affadavit on Sept. 27., 2003.stating that about a month after Lugos arrest, she was interviewed by Dawn Florio and that she informed Florio that she was in her bedroom when the shots rang out.  That she left her room to check on her children (Julio and his sister) and that they were both in bed and Angel  Otero was in the living room. (Probably why Vivian was never called to testify because it would have blown Florios case out of the water) (It is worth noting that Dawn Florio was on her way to a judgeship at that time and was willing to do anything to win this conviction) Vivians 2003 affadavit supports Angel Otero and Julio Santos’s recantations.

Based on the above information, which was known to Florio at the time of the trial, but not to Lugos defense, it is clear that the verdict of conviction against Lugo was obtained based on false testimony.  Clearly, Angel Otero, the prosecutions only “eyewitness” never heard Lugo instruct Roman to kill Ventura and was apparently not even a witness to the shooting.

It is evident that in this case the police conducted a botched investigation and that Sepulveda and Mena (two informants)  while under promises of lenient sentences, could have been led to implicate Lugo in the crime to cover Florios wrongful conviction of lugo.  (Afterall, the DA’s office will not turn over their original confessions. Probably because they don’t mention Lugo and would only help exonerate him.)  Florio allowed Angel Otero to falsely testify at trial. Despite his admission to the murders of Ventura and Colon, Mena has never been charged.

Lugo maintains that he doesn’t know who killed Ventura and Colon.  That if Sepulveda ordered Mena to kill Ventura as records show , only they know why they did it. Sepulveda is the self admitted leader of one of the most vicious drug gangs this state has ever seen. 

Unlike Lugos admission, Roman, Mena and Sepulveda admissions, only demonstrate that apparently Roman was a witness to the crime and that Sepulveda and Mena were participants in the crime.

Confronted with totally different stories of what happened that night ( Sepulveda and Menas stories versus Oteros versus Romans) and with Vivian Oteros exculpatory statement, Florio acted  as prosecutor, defense counsel, judge and jury by going ahead with Angel Oteros lies.  Florio had an obligation as an assistant DA to present all the evidence for the jury to evaluate before reaching it’s decision.  By withholding crucial evidence, Florio has deprived Lugo of a fair trial.

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New evidence discovered after appeals were nearly ending:

by on Jan.20, 2010, under News

In the 1997 book written by Robert Jackall,The Wild Cowboys, there appears an excerpt concerning Chino’s statements to New York County District Attorney Daniel Brownell and Bronx County Assistant District Attorney Donald Hill (the excerpt does not indicate when Brownell and Hill became aware of this information).  The excerpt notes this information was disregarded by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office:

“Chino” (Ulysses Mena) also confessed to the double murder, but the bureaucratic vagaries of the criminal justice system thwarted fixing his guilt legally.  Manuel Lugo aka Supra worked for Lenny (Lenin Sepulveda) opening a spot on 2183 Vyse Avenue at 181 Street in the Fourth-Eight precinct; Wilfredo Roman worked for Supra.  Carlos Ventura the already established big man on the block, refused to stop selling his own brand of crack out of the same building.  So Supra turned to Lenny for help in persuading Ventura.  On December 30, 1990, Lenny took Rob Base, Lace and Dominican Chino up to Vyse Avenue where they waited until Supra signaled to them that Ventura had arrived on the block in his car.  Lenny asked his boys: “who’s gonna do it?” and Dominican Chino (Ulysses Mena) said: “I will.”  Chino ran over to Ventura’s car and shot Ventura in the head.  But also in the car was Marilyn Colon, Ventura’s girlfriend, seven months pregnant, terrified and wide-eyed.  So Chino shot her too.  Supra and Roman were tried for the murders in the Bronx.  Supra was convicted, Roman was acquitted.

Then Chino, in a fit of remorse, poured out his story to Mark Tebbens, Dan Brownell, and Don Hill, and even agreed to a 20-years-to-life plea to the murders.  As part of his own plea agreement, Lenny admitted his role in the murders and named Chino as the shooter.  But when the investigators contacted the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and the Four-Eight detective squad with the news, they received chilly receptions.

Were the boys from Manhattan once again trying to outshine the Bronx by unmaking a made case? (Emphasis added).

PAGE: 230-231 of the book “The Wild Cowboys” AUTHORED BY PROFESSOR ROBERT JACKALL.

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Bronx ADA Dawn Florio Fired!

by on Jan.20, 2010, under New Information, News, Updates

Bronx Assistant District Attorney Dawn Florio fired, for providing a false alibi for her ex-boyfriend.
Bronx Assistant District Attorney Dawn Florio, niece of Appellate Division Second Department Justice Anita Florio, has been fired, for providing a false alibi for her ex-boyfriend Peter Soto. Soto’s accused of “dumping” his current girlfriend by the side of the road in Orange County, and then burglarizing her Bronx apartment. Florio initially claimed to be with Soto at the time, but later recanted. She’s been fired, but no charges have yet been filed. The Soto case has been transferred to the Queens District Attorney’s office, to avoid a conflict of interest.

From Inner City Press Bronx Report Archive #2 2000 (April – July 17, 2000)

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Jackall Co-Conspirator

by on Jan.20, 2010, under New Information, News, Updates

The book by Professor Robert Jackall  “The Wild Cowboys” was originally published in 1997.  He updated the book October of 2005. He has become a co-conspirator with those keeping Manuel Lugo in prison.

In his updated version, he states that Manuel Lugo admitted to setting up these murders and that the wrong witnesses are why he’s in jail. If this was the case, there would be no Lugo Support Committee.  Mr. Lugo had nothing to do with ordering these murders (as charged) or setting up these murders as Jackall states in his book.  We challenge Mr. Jackall, the Bronx DA and/or detectives to bring forward this so called “admission.”  Mr. Jackalls timing (book update) and his words are an obvious attempt by those with power to sway Manuel Lugos supporters.  Not to mention that book was updated while Mr. Lugo had motions pending in court.  They throw one road block after another.  What does that tell us? 

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What the Colon and Ventura families should know:

by on Jan.20, 2010, under News, Personal Messages

When Manuel Lugo was convicted, Carlos Ventura and Marilyn Colons family were convinced justice was done.

These families trusted the evidence at trial, as presented by the prosecuting attorney, Dawn Florio.  What these families did not know then, was that the case on trial against Manuel Lugo and Wilfredo Roman was a complete fabrication.  What these families did not know then was that they were being lied to by the prosecuting attorney.  These families were unaware of the fact that Roman did not kill Ventura and Colon under orders from Manuel lugo as the prosecution alleged during trial.  These families did not know then that lugo did not give anyone orders for Ventura to be killed.  When Lugo was convicted, these families thought that justice was served. Little did they know then, Ulysses “Chino” Mena, the person who confessed to killing Ventura and Colon (as records show) was given a free pass by the prosecution.  Lenin “Lenny” Sepulveda and Mena (as records show) were informants at the time that they rendered their admissions.

These families did not see justice materialize as they would have had, had the culprits responsible for the murders of Ventura and Colon been brought to justice.  These families were lied to and should demand that the case be reopened and that the individuals responsible for the death of Ventura and Colon be brought to justice.

The Ventura and Colon families should demand an explanation as to the reason why Mena, the confessed shooter, was never prosecuted (as records show) and will soon be released back into the same community where he admitted to viciously murdering Ventura and Colon.  Mena is scheduled to appear before the  parole board any given day.  In demanding justice, the Ventura and Colon families will get the satisfaction of bringing those who are really responsible for the deaths of their loved ones to face the punishment that they deserve.  It will also enable Lugo to have a legitimate chance to demonstrate his innocence before a jury that will be privy to the truth and  not just what the prosecution wants them to hear.

Lugo is innocent and the evidence in this case clearly demonstrates that Lugo was railroaded from the very start of the prosecution against him.  Unless Manuel Lugo is given the fair trial that he has been denied, a fair trial where the truth will be brought to light, those responsible will never be held accountable for the deaths of Colon and Ventura.  It is extremely sad that Ventura and Colon, two innocent human beings, lost their lives for no reason whatsoever and that the person who killed them got a slap on the wrist by the prosecution and has not been brought to justice.  It is also extremely sad that Lugo is incarcerated for a crime that he did not commit.

The District Attorneys Office will try convincing the Ventura and Colon families that justice was served by convicting Lugo.  Sepulveda still says that he ordered the murders at Lugos behest.  But whatever happened to the well tailored story presented at trial which Angel Otero fabricated and the prosecution did not correct?  Wasn’t Otero telling the truth, according to the prosecution, when he testified that he heard Lugo order Roman to kill Ventura?  Why should we now believe Sepulveda when he alleges that he ordered Mena to kill Ventura at Lugos behest?  We not only want justice for Manuel Lugo who we know is innocent, we also want justice for the victims and their families.

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A Message From Manuel Lugo:

by on Jan.20, 2010, under Personal Messages, Updates

I have spent the past 27 years in prison for a crime I did not commit or witness.

Dear Reader:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your apparent interest in our quest for justice. As you should have by now learned, I have been incarcerated since February 19, 1991  for the senseless deaths of Carlos Ventura and Marilyn Colon, a heinous crime in which I have no involvement whatsoever. Thanks to God, my family and those who believe in my innocence, I have managed to find strength to pull through this painful ordeal determined as ever to prove my innocence.

Contrary to what Dawn Florio (the prosecuting attorney at my trial) made the jury believe and what the Bronx District Attorney’s Office wants you to believe, I am not responsible for the deaths of Ventura and Colon. I did not set up the death of Ventura. I did not order or ask anyone to kill Ventura. I had no knowledge that Ventura and Colon would be killed and I did not witness the shooting.

After my conviction, overwhelming evidence that was withheld by Florio during my trial surfaced. This evidence pointed to Lenin Sepulveda as the only individual with a motive to want Ventura dead. It also pointed  out that Lenin Sepulveda and Ulysses Mena as the only individuals responsible for the deaths of Ventura and Colon. The evidence includes an admission made to the police by Sepulveda that he ordered Mena to kill Ventura and an admission made by Mena that he killed Ventura and Colon.

I admitted to the police that Ventura and I had an argument and that the argument ended peacefully and we went our separate ways. However, my argument with Ventura does not make me responsible for the deaths of Ventura and Colon. I have maintained my innocence from the moment of my arrest because I am innocent of this heinous crime.

When I was convicted to life in prison, the Ventura and Colon families and the people of the State of New York were led to believe that justice was served. However, it is evident that justice was not served then (by sending me away to prison for this crime) nor is justice being served today by my continued wrongful incarceration. All I want is a fair day in court where all the evidence in connection with the Ventura and Colon deaths, can be fairly evaluated , thus allowing the truth to surface and justice to prevail. I was convicted based on the lie of Angel Otero (the prosecutions only eyewitness) and my continued incarceration is based on that lie. Angel Otero’s lie has been proven to be a lie by overwhelming independent evidence.  This evidence includes Angel Otero’s own admission that his testimony at my trial was fabricated  with the complicity of Florio. While I am still incarcerated for the deaths of Ventura and Colon, the self admitted murderers and violent criminals ( Sepulveda and Mena) have not been held fully accountable for this heinous crime.

Please, join our efforts to bring this travesty of justice to an end and uncover the truth which will vindicate me and allow Ventura and Colon to finally rest in peace. Until the truth is uncovered, justice cannot be served nor will Ventura and Colon be able to rest in peace knowing that the individuals responsible for their deaths have not been held accountable and that an innocent man is being punished for their deaths.

While I have expressed sincere sadness to the Ventura and Colon families for their loss, I cannot say that I am sorry for a heinous crime in which I played no role whatsoever, a heinous crime that I am not responsible for. I pray that the Ventura and Colon families and anyone who believes in justice, find interest in uncovering the truth about what really happened the night Ventura and Colon were killed and demand that those responsible for this heinous crime be held accountable.

Thank you for your interest in making sure that justice prevails. May God bless you always.’


Manuel Lugo

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