tv News Channel 3 News at Noon CBS February 10, 2016 12:00pm-12:30pm EST
the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. these are their stories. honey? oh, my god. philip? [gasps] [sobbing] [glass breaking] [screaming] help me! help! d.o.a.'s philip messick, 55. guy put up a good fight.
heard the wife screaming. how is the wife? stabbed multiple times. circling the drain at roosevelt icu. they tossed the place pretty good. hey, did the neighbor hear anything past the screaming? yeah, a car screech away. robbery gone bad. our doa kept some interesting company. the y he's with in this picture is jack vitale, a made member of the gambinos. so we're looking for somebody stupid enough to rip off a mob associate.
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she was in acute hemorrhagic shock when they wheeled her in. thought for sure we'd be calling it. did she say anything at all? not to me, but my concern was getting her on the table. she was down a liter of blood with eight deep, penetrating wounds. but it was her lucky day. deep cuts missed the majors. well, whoever did this thought they were tying up all the loose ends well, they didn't. she's conscious. stabilized faster than i thought she would. that's why i called. well, thank you, doctor. we appreciate it. just take it easy. room's getting crowded. who's in there? one of yours.
hey, fellas. bob cerullo, friend of the family. how you doing, man? you on the job? retired out of the seven-four. listen, if she's able, we'd like to ask her a few questions. so if you can give us some time. can he stay? okay. that's fine. mrs. messick... do you know the men who did this to you? no. did you get a good look at them? white. 20s. did you get a good look at a face? one of them... pretty good. would you recognize him if you saw him again? do you think that your husband may have known the men? no. phil was everybody's friend. they were married 15 years. you know, maybe she's not up to th yet. we have just one more question,
does the name john vitale mean anything to you? they grew up together. you mean her husband and john vitale? in bensonhurst. [groans] johnny wouldn't do this. thank you, mrs. messick. we'll be in touch. you looking at wiseguys for this? no, we're just asking the question. phil messick wasn't hooked up. then why do you suppose he's hanging around with connected guys? like i said, he grew up with guys who went in that direction. other guys went straight, like myself. you two go way back? grade school. and if you went down his block or mine, at one house, everybody went to the police academy, at the next, they're all criminals. my life story. what did messick go into? accounting, c.p.a. he was a square, a good guy. a decent guy. list of stolen goods from the insurance company,
anything past theft for motive? we're looking into some of his friends, business associates. he knew some very interesting people. he was an accountant for kenny genovese and john vitale. gambino family, mid-level workers. you thinking a possible hit? with robbery as a cover-up, it's worth considering. or on the other hand, messick grew up with these dudes in bensonhurst, and he could have just been their accountant. did he live like a gangster? he lived decent, not outrageous. i mean, he's been married for 15 years, and most mobsters don't leave witnesses behind. yeah, a witness they thought they killed. listen, go to messick's funeral. see who his friends were. and take ostrover from organized crime. ray antonelli. he's with the gambinos. used to handle some loan-sharking. but he's out of the game to a large extent. pauly wilson, does collections up in the bronx under guise of running a drycleaners. it's quite a send-off for an accountant. messick and the gambino crew seem to be pals. did you ever hear of him burning anybody, anything like that? (ostrover) nah, we were surprised by the murder. there was no warning.
he worked o.c. for two years. (green) that's bob cerullo. he said he was a friend of the family. how friendly do you think he was with the gambinos? he grew up with a lot of guys that got made, gave him an inside edge when we were tracking dirt. (fontana) hey, do you have any gambino associates on the arm? we're looking for an interaction between messick and the gambino family. greg muggio. he just got nailed for running a ponzi scheme, cost 1,000 retirees their life savings. where's he locked up? he's out on bail awaiting trial. but he's incned to be chatty. anything to reduce the time he knows he's gonna do. i'm in the rag trade, legi when messick did my returns, the irs audits stopped. guy was a genius. a genius at what, cleaning dirty money? messick was on the up and up. that's why me and the guys went to him. and he didn't make any mistakes that would lead to him getting carved up? messick didn't screw up. he didn't take anybody's money.
didn't rat anybody out. his murder was a tragedy. whoever did it, you ps better hope you get to them first. hey, hey, don't take off your coats. messick's stolen property showed up at a pawn shop on rivington, and they found a clean set of bloody prints that came back to a darrell dennehy. he's got a long sheet, but it's mostly burglaries and trpassing-- there's nothing violent. he stepped up his game. you have an address? bogus, but his p.o.'s waiting see you. all right. dennehy's been been regular to his report day the last two weeks, failed his drug screen both times. no record of employment or proof of applying for same. he when's his next visit? uh...four hours? my guess, he'll show. he knows he has to pass his drug test. three failures means a bus back upstate. [phone rings] [coughs] darrell dennehy, come here. what, what? come here! what did i do? legs! we'll talk abo it at the station.
you know, i got another shot. you think we came re because you failed a piss test? where were you thursday night at 7:00? ow! did you hear him? or was that question too tough for you? i don't remember where i was this morning, let alone thursday. were you on the upper west side? i can't remember that. do you know a man named philip messick, or his wife valerie? can't say that i do, no. interesting, so how did your bloody fingerprint end up on their stereo receiver? in messick's blood, no less. now, how the hell would a thing like that happen? i picked that stereo up off the street. [both laugh] that's a good answer, so maybe you can explain to us how your shoeprint ended up all over their brownstone? was that your evil twin? you don't have the sheet of a killer, and you don't have that killer look in your eye. and we know that there were two of you in that brownstone. and since we got to you first, we gonna give you first crack at a deal. and don't tell us any lies, because that lady
i didn't touch her. and i didn't touch the guy. i was just there to help carry the heavy stuff. it was just a robbery. tvs, stereos, and drive the van. okay, so what happened? we started going through the house, and this guy comes out of the bathroom. and, uh, jay, he goes nuts. he goes off on him. jay? fleckner. that's the guy who brought me in on this. but a robbery-- it was just a robbery. how much cash? five grand. and now he's out there spending it without you. that's a damn shame. where do we find jay? [hair dryer running] [hair dryer stops]
(fontana) blink, i'll pu your brains on the bed. (green) put your hands up! now get up! there's an awful lot of blood in that water. cut myself shaving. we're gonna give you plenty of time to work on that story. i got nothing to say. i want a lawyer. (fontana) get him the hell out of here. (green) take your time, mrs. messick. (fontana) do you recognize any of these men as the man who attacked you in your apartment that night? (green) do you need to sit down, ma'am? (valerie) number two.
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jay fleckner was remanded. his lawyer says he's not interested in a deal. he forget valerie messick i.d.'d him? or the sink full of messick's bloody cash in his hotel room? the lawyer says fleckner's very volatile. he doesn't care. he wants to take his chances. how we doing with his accomplice, darrell dennehy? as far testifying,
still, he was there in the house with fleckner, and hopefully he's been around the block enough [cell phone rings] to know when to deal. it's lieutenant van buren. the bloody money in fleckner's hotel room showed trace marks our lab techs couldn't identif so they passed the bills over to treasury for analysis. what did they find? well, the bills have been serialized, watermarked, and floated by the feds to track a money laundering stream. well, how did the cash wind up at messick's apartment? the feds said it was first used to buy ecstasy from a drug dealer who had ties to the gambino organization. but more than likely it wound up with messick for laundering. can we prove that? well, it's a good guess right now, but either way, the money ties jay fleckner to the ctims. the problem is, the feds won't return it. that money plays into an investigation. what kind? one i'm not at liberty to discuss. then let's talk about our investigation. that money is key physical evidence
and we need to produce it in court. i'm sure you've got more than our money to make your case. (borgia) your money? we recovered it during our investigation. there might be some movement on the case in the next year. we can talk then. you could potentially be helping a man get away with murder. this cash has been filtering through drug rings, sex slave operations, and laundering outfits. shutting those down could prevent 20 murders. i won't jeopardize that. (judge grayson) the prosecution found the bills on your client. prosecution alleges that the bills were found on my client and that blood traces on them belong to the vict. i've read the memo, mr. wellman. it doesn't sound like trace blood. the money was described as in a bloody bath whent was found. our experts need the opportunity to challenge the findings. mr. mccoy, where is the actual evidence itself? it's in federal hands. we've written letters to the u.s. attorney and the chief judge to mandate its return. any time frame as to when that might happen?
we haven't had any response yet, your honor. when they're good and ready. that's the response you can expect. which doesn't serve the defendant's right to a speedy trial. unless you can provide access to at least one bill in a timely fashion, the money's out. (borgia) with your confession and the physical evidence tying you to the crime scene, if this goes to trial, you could expect 25 years. or you testify against jay fleckner, and we're prepared to offer 20. what's not computing, mr. dennehy? i don't think i'm interested in testifying against jay. why? i think i've said enough already. it's one thing to say it to the cops, but on the stand, him lookin' at me... what is this, some sort of ham-fisted attempt at negotiation? i don't want any more to do with puttin' him away. fifteen years, that's the basement offer.
that's got nothing to do with your testimony. i'd be testifying, front and center, in a courtroom filled with gambino button men. we'll shield your identity when you testify. yeah, what happens when it hits the papers? you can't stop that. we're talking about ten years of your life, mr. dennehy. i spent two-thirds of my life locked up. i can do the time. but i sure ain't interested in dyin'. c.o.! [door buzzer] unbelievable. valerie messick came within a sliver of losing her life at fleckner's hands. she'll have the jury's sympathy. if she holds up physically. what's her condition? on the mend. she's got some awful scars on her face and neck. still, a oneitness id... a witness who is a victim and a grieving widow. let's make sure her scars are visible to the jury. if she's all we've got, let's ke it count.
he was covered in blood. (mccoy) was he alive? barely. i went to his side. he pointed past me, and then...he died. what was he pointing at? two men down the hallway. i tried to yell for help, but that man saw me and attacked me. (mccoy) can you tell me who you're pointing to? the defendant, jay fleckner. can you describe how he attacked you? he...pounced on me. he pinned me down. he had a knife in his hand, and he began slashing... at me. i... don't remember much else. i blacked out and woke up in the hospital.
mrs. messick... that's a horrible ordeal you've just described. but i'm afraid i'm going to have to take you back to it just a little while longer. how would you describe your emotional state when you first entered your house that night? when you sawyour front door ajar? you were nervous, weren't you? yes, i was a little nervous. (wellman) wasn't like your husband to leave the door open like that? no, phil never left the door open. when you came in, you saw your husband covered in blood. what would you say your emotional state was then? terrified? yes. panicked? yes. you came in, you saw your husband in a pool of blood. were you crying at that timethe way you are now? yes, i was. (wellman) crying. in a state of grief and panic,
and yet you were able to get a good look at the man who wielded the knife against you? a good enough look that you can say with absolute certainty that your assailant was the man you identified? yes, think so. you think so, or you know so? there is a significant difference. i'm as certain as i could have been under the circumstances. with your vision hampered by your tears, you mean? with your husband of 15 years lying brutally murdered by your side? is that what you mean? mrs. messick... please. i will ask you again. are you 100% positive that the suspect you identified is the man who attacked you? i'm...
yes or no, please. no. it all just came rushing back. phil is on the ground,all the blood on him. i was as confused up there as i was that night. but the i.d.--were you certain it was fleckner when you saw him in the police station? my husband was dying on the floor in front of me, covered in all that blood! [scoffs] and then that man was on top of me. i only got a look at his face for a second. did i ruin the case? you were strong on direct, but...
without that... in the matter of the people vs. jay fleckner, on the count of murder in the second degree, how do you find? we find the defendant... not guilty. d.o.a.'s got one to the chest. jay fleckner. well, what do you know? there is justice in the world. the guy who called it in is the one who shot him.
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