smells a rat
Lawyer: State rewarded '81 murder trial snitch
By Franci Richardson
Friday, December 17, 2004
man who insists he was wrongly convicted of a shooting murder 23 years
ago hopes to win a new trial by proving the state lied when it denied
rewarding a key witness for his testimony.
guy consistently maintained that he was not an informant, not a rat,''
said Kevin Reddington, a Brockton attorney who has been trying to get
James Rodwell, 48, of Burlington a new trial for nearly two decades.
``If I can confirm he was given a promise, reward or inducement, then I
can file a motion for a new trial and I just think they have to give it
was convicted of the November 1978 fatal shooting of Louis Rose Jr.
outside a Somerville bakery. The state's key witness against him was
David P. Nagle, a law enforcement snitch who made a career out of
committing armed robberies to support his drug habit, according to
will appear Monday in Suffolk Superior Court to ask a judge to unseal
the transcript of a 1985 discussion between a cop and the judge who
delivered an unusually light sentence to Nagle when he pleaded guilty
to 10 counts of armed robbery.
believes the document will prove Nagle's sentence was his reward for
falsely testifying that Rodwell confessed to committing the murder.
the state never disclosed the terms of an agreement at trial, said
Reddington, the document may be enough to secure Rodwell a new trial.
Yesterday, the former prosecutor who tried Rodwell's murder case asked
a reporter for a copy of the motion, but refused to say whether he made
a deal with Nagle.
don't want to comment on the Rodwell case,'' said David Siegel from
Connecticut. ``Rodwell was a very dangerous person and he is where he
father, John Rodwell, 74, of Burlington said the unsealing of the
document is a milestone that's been a ``long time coming.''
been in for 23years because someone else committed the crime and the
state withheld this evidence all these years,'' said the elder Rodwell.
in 1985 during Nagle's guilty plea, minutes after state police Lt.
Thomas Spartichino privately spoke to Judge James McGuire, Nagle was
sentenced to seven to 12 years in prison. He had a rap sheet with 20
armed robberies and kidnapping charges. And military records show he
lied to McGuire at the hearing about serving in Vietnam as a machine
McGuire is deceased.
state has always denied it rewarded Nagle for his testimony. Yesterday,
District Attorney Martha Coakley declined comment on the issue.