CAMPBELL Criticism of probe angers city police
Police say a couple of leads are still being pursued.
By PAUL WHEATLEY
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CAMPBELL -- City police aren't pleased about being singled out for their investigation of an alleged kidnapping in which the two men charged were found innocent.
Sonia Vazquez, a Campbell resident and mother of one of the men, and Atty. Louis DeFabio, who represented her son, said the police department did a poor job on the case.
The FBI and the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation assisted in the investigation.
DeFabio said the trial of Joseph Gonzalez, 21, of Ninth Street, Campbell, and Jose Placeres, 29, of Glenwood Avenue, Youngstown, should never have gotten off the ground because evidence against them was flimsy.
"It was a rush to judgment by the [Campbell] police," said DeFabio, who mentioned that officers never interviewed any of the defense's alibi witnesses.
Response: Detective Manuel Darkadakis said he was never able to get an in-depth interview with the defense's main alibi witness, who is in federal custody -- contending he was "stonewalled" by the man's attorney.
"I can't control the amount of evidence in a case," said Darkadakis. "The jury made their decision."
Police are still following up on two warrants related to the case, Chief Gus Sarigianopoulos said.
"I think my detective did a fine job," the chief said. "What happened in the court is beyond our say-so here."
Brian Macala, Campbell's law director, says it's unfair to single out the department.
"To point a finger at us because there was an acquittal, I think is irresponsible," he said. "To say that it was a bad investigation is totally improper."
A jury deliberated nearly six hours Friday before finding Gonzalez and Placeres innocent of conspiracy to kidnapping, conspiracy to attempted aggravated murder and four counts of kidnapping.
The charges stemmed from the May 2 kidnapping of Maria Rosario Romano of Campbell and her three children, ages 7, 4 and 2, who were abducted at gunpoint while getting into their minivan on 13th St. around 9 a.m.
A $100,000 ransom was demanded, but the family was ultimately released at a Campbell gas station.
Romano was shot in the hip and says she now must use a walker.