I am a personal friend of Doreen Giuliano. That being said, it doesn't change the facts of the story. I met her not long before Christopher Ketcham penned his Vanity Fair piece, Mother Justice. I have stayed in contact with her, and I still cannot make sense of as to why John Giuca still languishes behind prison walls. Here's a PDF of the piece.
What will follow this is a piece I penned a couple of years ago. I had intended to write an entirely new piece, but there have been a number of new pieces, notably a very recent article on the Gothamist by Hella Winston which really gets into most of what I would have added. Here's a piece from MyLifeOfCrime. What I'm going to do is to follow my piece with a breakdown of John Avitto's offerings to Anna Sigga-Nicolazzi, and see if there is any possibility that she did NOT suborn perjury. Let's see how I do...
The Grid Kid Meets Wilson-Pakula
What would you do if you were unjustly jailed for a crime obviously committed by another? What would your family do to see justice served? How would you counter the lies and falsehoods intended to paint your family member in the worst light possible? Is there anything you would not do?
John Giuca is currently languishing in jail for a crime committed by another party. John was arrested on December 21, 2004 for the murder of Mark Steven Fisher, a student at Fairfield University, out for a night of fun with some college buddies. At the time, he was not of drinking age, but he and his buddies managed to access some bars on the upper west side – there, at a sports bar, he met a college acquaintance, Angel DiPietro and made his acquaintance with one of her friends a pretty young blond named Merri. His buddies would leave Mark to his new company. Eventually, he ended up in a bar on Second Avenue, where he ran into John Giuca and Albert Cleary. Albert was a friend of Angels. The group was not allowed into the tavern, and so, it looked as if they wanted the party to continue, someone would have to come up with a new plan. John then offered Mark and the young ladies to join him to come to Brooklyn. Angel is the only person who protested taking Mark with them. John offered his home, and the group went by yellow cab to Prospect Park South. John’s mother and stepfather were away on vacation.
At some point, Mark visited an ATM at a convenience store, at approximately 5:30 in the morning. Not long after his cash withdrawal, he returned to John’s house, then Mark crashed on one of John’s couches. At 6:41 AM, a 911 call reported gunshots, leading to the body of Mark Fisher being found on Argyle Road, not more than fifty feet from Albert Cleary’s home.
Can it be posited that in exchange for the Wilson-Pakula, the life of John Giuca was sacrificed?
Consider the benefits:
Susan Cleary was able to keep her son out of prison.
Charles Hynes directly benefitted from the prime suspect, who turned star witness, Albert Cleary's mother, Republican executive vice-chair committee member Mrs. Susan Cleary.
John Giuca continues to languish in a jail cell for a crime he did not commit.
Let's see justice done - let's send John home to his family.
I mention this because I had also decided at one point to become an accountant...only I had "failed" the English portion of my college entrance exam.
The guy who earned a 12.9 reading average in the 6th grade couldn't ace an essay test.
Want a piece of the Brooklyn Bridge? I'm your man.
Ever read The King Must Die? It's based loosely on Greek mythology. I was transferred into an adjacent English class one day before the essay test was issued on the book. The teacher told me that I could take the test, but that I wasn't going to be penalized if I didn't do well on the exam. I read the book the next morning on the train on the way to school.
I got the third highest grade on the test.
Suffice it to say...I can write a coherent enough essay in order to qualify to be an accountant.
Now, idiots...don't you think you should have left well enough alone? I would be crunching numbers for a living, and maybe too inured to bother delving into whether it makes sense for two planes to have "collapsed three buildings...but I digress.
First version of Avitto's "testimony":
Avitto’s version of the alleged confession had Fisher visiting an ATM with Giuca and two unnamed accomplices, who beat and then shot Fisher after he angered them by withdrawing only $20.
But she also conceded that Giuca’s alleged confession to Avitto could not have been true because, while Avitto said that Giuca described the robbery and murder as happening immediately after an ATM trip, “basically at the same time, at the same transaction…all one and the same,” she never in fact believed that Fisher made a second trip to an ATM—a striking admission considering that in her summation at trial she made several references to a “first” ATM visit, implying there had been a second.
Soon to be followed by:
In a rambling response to Giuca's attorney Mark Bederow’s questioning she testified that she believed what Avitto had told her because “it was more like a conversation [he and Giuca] had had some time before, which in this case was months, and not being as focused because they weren’t kind of putting it in his brain for any particular purpose at the time that he’s hearing about it, and the when and the what, where.”
Of course, there is the matter of his very recent recantation of said testimony:
At the hearing, he testified that he “made up” his account of Giuca’s confession—which he claims to have constructed from newspaper reports he read at the time—so the DA would help him get his warrant “squashed” and keep him out of prison and in a drug program.
Addressing Giuca from the stand, Avitto said, “I did it because—I'm sorry, again. I did it to help myself. I was scared to go to prison for three-and-a-half to seven, okay. I mean, if you look at my rap sheet and all the prison time I did, three-and-a-half to seven, you would probably think I could do that anytime. But I was scared. So what I did was, we were friends in there and I said to myself when I got out and I violated, I said I could come up with a story about you and put pieces together from what I read in the newspaper and everything and get the D.A.s to help me get out of my warrant."
Avitto went on: "I knew I couldn't do a drug program at that time. I knew it for a fact. So, I kept warranting, walking out of programs, walking out of programs, walking out of programs, and I just fabricated the story more and more so the D.A. would believe me about you. And I'm truly, truly sorry. Please forgive me.”
So...let's see. We have, in this case:
- Violation of voir dire (In the United States, it now generally refers to the process by which prospective jurors are questioned about their backgrounds and potential biases before being chosen to sit on a jury. "Voir Dire is the process by which attorneys select, or perhaps more appropriately reject, certain jurors to hear a case." It also refers to the process by which expert witnesses are questioned about their backgrounds and qualifications before being allowed to present their opinion testimony in court. As noted above, in the United States (especially in practice under the Federal Rules of Evidence), voir dire can also refer to examination of the background of a witness to assess their qualification or fitness to give testimony on a given subject.)
- Perjury by a false witness (forgive me if these aren't strictly legal terms)
- Failure to fully vet possible alternate perpetrators (see the screen maps above)
- Violation of Brady vs. Maryland (Brady evidence also includes evidence material to credibility of a civilian witness, such as evidence of false statements by the witness or evidence that a witness was paid to act as an informant.)
I will end with some pictures taken on John's day in court (August) - I believe there will be a face or two that you may recognize.
I hope that you will pass this story onto someone, and if you have someone who you know has been falsely accused of a crime, and is currently languishing in prison, contact Jeffrey Deskovic at the Innocence Project.