Thursday, 20 March 2008

"Car belonging to Madeleine case witness destroyed in blast."

Portugal Resident 20/03/08


A CAR belonging to Russian computer expert Sergei Malinka, who has been questioned by police as part of the Madeleine McCann investigation, was destroyed in an explosion in the early hours of this morning (Thursday, March 20) in Praia da Luz.

The incident is said to have taken place at around 5am next to his apartment, where the word “fala” (talk) had been written on the pavement next to the car.

Witnesses told The Resident that two cars were involved in the blast and maintain that one belonged to Malinka.

Police first interviewed Malinka on May 16, 2007, around two weeks after Madeleine McCann went missing.

Police searched the home of the IT expert, who designed a website for Robert Murat and was seen talking to Murat several times in the days after Madeleine’s disappearance. He was adamant that he was interviewed as a witness, not a suspect.

He has lived in Praia da Luz for around seven years and has always maintained he had nothing to do with Madeleine’s disappearance.

He claims he only had a professional relationship with official suspect, Robert Murat, and he has never been named as an arguido.

The Judicial Police could not confirm this morning’s blast took place but witnesses in the area have told The Resident that two cars were involved. They have also said that one of the cars belonged to Malinka.

The Resident spoke to Robert Murat, who said that he had not been told about the incident but did confirm that Malinka drove a Silver Audi, similar to the car that was torched.

I am in England now but I am surprised that no one in Praia da Luz phoned me to tell me about it”, he said.

Rodney Reed: oral arguments started at Court of Criminal Appeals

News 8 Austin 20/03/08

Rodney Reed makes renewed plea for new trial
3/19/2008 6:25 PM
By: Catie Beck

Reed's lawyers and state prosecutors made their case Wednesday.
While he sat behind bars in East Texas, his lawyers sat before judges in Austin.

Once again they asked for a new trial.

Rodney Reed was hoping for the best case scenario.

"That the judges actually pay attention to what's being argued and accept it for what it is � the truth," Reed said in an interview earlier this week.

Reed's lawyers and State prosecutors made their case in the Court of Criminal Appeals.

"I think it went well," Reed's attorney Morris Overstreet said. "I think the questions they asked were timely and pointed. I think we were prepared for this case."

Reed's lawyers argued that the state withheld evidence in the original trial, even physical evidence, specifically tests done on a beer can found at the crime scene with DNA on it belonging to a police officer. That officer was also a friend and colleague of Stacey Stites' fianc�, Jimmy Fennell Jr.

"You put Mr. Fennell's best friend David Hall at the scene of the crime would a jury question whether Fennell had anything to do with it?" Overstreet asked.

Fennell's recent indictment on rape and kidnapping charges has the court considering his tie to the case. But Stites' family has no doubt that the first trial was fair and that the right man is in prison.

"I absolutely believe that Rodney Reed is the man that did this," Stites' sister, Debra Oliver said.

State prosecutors defended the prior decision as well.

They said the State never withheld evidence and that Reed had a history of violent sex crimes. Though he has never been convicted of one, several allegations have been made.

"Even if he gets free on this one, there are a lot of cases against him, there are a lot of women that haven't gotten justice," Oliver said.

Reed's family has hope for his justice and a fair trial.

"They railroaded my son, and they said what they wanted to say," Reed's mother, Sandra Reed said.

Now all that can be done is to wait, something Reed has learned how to do well.

View Rodney Reed's brief (death penalty case oral argument requested).

View the state's case (respondent's reply brief).

View Fennell's additional motion (motion to supplement habeas record and request for disclosure of exculpatory evidence).