Anderson Independent-Mail from Anderson, South Carolina on June 11, 2000 · 23
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Anderson Independent-Mail from Anderson, South Carolina · 23

Anderson, South Carolina
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 11, 2000
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ffiQMPAOElB IB Prosecutors fear for lives of witnesses From Page IB prosecutors showed up at the door to pick her up "She was asleep when they came looking for her and they told her to get dressed in a hurry and took her away" Ms Rivera said Last Wednesday sitting at the kitchen table she told the prosecutors "Trn scared" Ms Rivera said She told them a friend had gotten a call a couple of days before warning her not to walk with Jennifer "because they’re going to kill her” Again Jennifer was told that she’d be fine Ms Rivera said The family relaxed a bit “When they say "don’t worry' “ she said “you don’t worry” It’s hard to tell how much if any intimidation Jennifer may have suffered in the months since she came forward as a murder witness Asked whether Jennifer had told her — or the police — about any threats before last week Ms Rivera couldn't recall any specific incidents though she said her daughter had expressed fear for a long time Leslin Mercado 13 who described herself as a close friend of Jennifer's said she had heard on the street that someone wanted to kill Jennifer but when she confronted her “she said ‘No no they're not after me’“ “I knew they was after her and that’s why I wanted her to tell me so 1 could help her" Leslin continued “They told me that they were shooting at her downtown but they missed her I was like What?’ "I asked her "Is it true?’ and she said No it’s not" " Leslin said "She didn’t like to talk about it” A 15-year-old girl who identified herself only by her street tag Kesha said Jennifer had spoken to her about being shot at "a couple of months ago" But the shooter missed Kesha said so Jennifer “felt as though she was safe that nothing was going to happen to her” Asked whether Jennifer had mentioned any of this to her mother both girls said they didn't think she had Asked whether any of them had considered asking the police for help they said it never came up The girls did offer advice to Jennifer however: "I told her not to go to court or whatever" Kesha said Added Leslin: “I always used to tell her "Stay in the house stay in the house! Wait until I pick you up’ “ The court file for Mr Pona’s murder case does not mention any threats to Jennifer though it does include some reports of alleged threats to other prosecution witnesses One teen-ager said someone had pointed a gun at his sister and asked her where he was Feliciano's mother Carmen Solano said even her son Carlos Echevarria was reluctant to testify for the prosecution Mr Echevarria has told authorities that he heard shots looked out a window and saw a Chevrolet Blazer pull out of his neighbor's driveway court records show The Blazer was found badly burned hours after the murder and Detective Patricia Cornell lifted two fingerprints matching Mr Pona's from the vehicle “Carlos says "I'm scared that they'll do something to me’ “Solano said "‘He told me he wasn't going to go (to court) because he didn't really see anything important — he was on the second floor" After Jennifer was shot Ms Solano said the woman in whose driveway the Blazer was parked when Feliciano was gunned down got so scared that she went into hiding with her daughter “She called me and she told me "Doa Carmen I'm not going to testify because I'm afraid'”’ Ms Solano said "She’s panicked” Ms Solano said she won’t press anyone into testifying but she’s convinced that the prosecutors don’t need any more help “I hope that there will be justice because this man can’t go unpunished” Solano said Many murders of witnesses puzzle police remain unsolved From Page IB truck off the road The gunmen raced to the truck and fired a second shot into a side window Then they opened a door and fired a final blast into Abbott’s head His murder remains unsolved In 1992 Doreen C Picard was murdered in a Woonsocket basement when she walked in on Raymond D "Beaver" Tempest who was beating a woman with whom he was having an affair Not only did Picard pay the ultimate price for what she saw but other witnesses were also threatened Terry Gelinas who lived across the street from where Picard was killed said Tempest told him “You're going to get into a lot of trouble” if he spoke to police The attorney general's office eventually gave Gelinas a bulletproof vest after assailants fired several shotguns blasts at another potential witness Ronald M Vaz Assailants cut off Vaz on a country road in Burrillville and beat him warning him not to testify against Tempest Prosecutors helped Vaz obtain a pistol permit and agreed to move his wife out of Rhode Island if he was killed because of his testimony Tempest was convicted of murder and sentenced to 85 years in prison In 1989 Irene D Bassett witnessed a man shoot up her apartment complex in Warwick Three months later the man returned with three friends They dragged Bassett into the woods beat and raped her One of the attackers cut her stomach and slashed her tongue in an effort to silence her testimony Bassett did testify in both the original case and against all four men who attacked her They were convicted and sentenced to about 15 years each in prison Ranger debate baffles many From Page IB faithful he is if he calls me a boys’ summer camp in Michigan one more time I’m going to put a silver bullet in his leg One of the actors who portrayed the Lone Ranger on the radio was named Brace Beemer The letters in “Brace Beemer” can be rearranged to spell “Embrace Beer” When we put the facts together we see that the question of exactly what the Lone Ranger shouted to his horse is a great deal more complex than we thought it was early in this column before we decided to brace ourselves with a couple of beemers if you catch our drift Have Barry is a humor columnist for the Miami Herald Write to him c o The Miami Herald One Herald Plaza Miami FL 33132 The Bee HiV£Gift shop Divmm 510 IN Main Street Anderson SC 225-2377 “ ABORTION IS 9 THE ULTIMATE I CHILD ABUSE Anderson Citizens For Life P0 Box 6064 Aitdwson SC 29623-6064 Rediscover Life Renew your physical mental emotional and spiritual life Caring for Mind Body and Spirit K EdenGardens of Anderson Assisted Living & Memory Care NQ1V OPEN! 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