Crime

Prosecution wants jailhouse witness’ statement banned from murder trial

The defense attorney for Jeremy Macauley, accused of murdering a Tavernier couple in 2015 to silence an extortion attempt over a large drug deal, says there are possibly two witnesses who overheard another man — the brother of Macauley’s co-defendant — say he was the one who pulled the trigger, not Macauley.

Palm Beach Couty State Attorney’s Office prosecutors, acting on behalf of Monroe County prosecutors because of conflict, filed a motion Wednesday to forbid any such statement from being mentioned during Macauley’s trial for first-degree murder and armed robbery, which is scheduled to begin May 15.

Jeremy_Macauley
Macauley

A former Monroe County jail inmate, Eric “Bama” Lansford, gave prosecutors and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detectives a sworn statement in October that Kristian Demblans, 35, twin brother of Adrian Demblans, who pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact of a murder earlier this month, told him while they were locked up together that he was the one who shot Tara Rosado, 26, and Carlos Ortiz, 30, on Oct. 15, 2015, inside their Cuba Road home.

Assistant State Attorney Reid Scott filed an April 19 motion with Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia requesting that statement never be heard by the jury.

“Any statement made by Kristian Demblans to Eric Lansford, or any other yet undisclosed witness, would be hearsay without recognized exception under the law,” Scott wrote.

Adrian Demblans pleaded guilty on April 10 and was sentenced to 10 years in state prison. He agreed as part of a deal with the state to testify against Macauley.

After the sentencing, Macauley’s attorney, Ed O’Donnell Sr., spoke with prosecutors outside the Plantation Key courtroom and told them he was told there were two witnesses other than Lansford who heard Kristian Demblans take credit for the Rosado and Ortiz murders while he was in county jail last summer on drug charges.

According to an April 19 motion to compel discovery filed by prosecutors, Plantation Key defense attorney Rayme Suarez was part of the conversation and said she represents the witnesses to whom O’Donnell referred.

“At the time, Mrs. Suarez refused to disclose the names of the witnesses to the state,” Scott wrote in the court document. “The State of Florida has attempted to contact Mrs. Suarez and obtain the names without success.”

But Suarez said Thursday that it was just one of her clients, whom she did not name.

Scott said definitively that Macauley is the only person who fired the .45-caliber pistol that killed Ortiz and Rosado. He said Kristian Demblans never told Lansford or anyone else he committed the murders or was involved with the killings .

Kristian “Demblans has no relevant information as to the night of the murder other than he did not commit the murder,” Scott wrote. “Further, there is no independent physical or forensic evidence, or eye witness testimony even suggesting that Kristian Demblans was present during the murder.”

“The only possible reason the defense would attempt to call Demblans would be to impeach his testimony with that of Lansford, or another yet undisclosed witness,” Scott wrote.

The state argues Adrian Demblans drove Macauley, 34, to the home Rosado and Ortiz shared along with Rosado’s three young children on Oct. 15, 2015, for the purpose of killing Ortiz. According to text messages detectives obtained from Ortiz’s cell phone, he threatened to tell police Macauley was dealing a large amount of cocaine he found offshore the summer prior to the slayings while he worked as a charter fishing boat mate. Ortiz demanded a share of the drug profits or else he was going to the police, according to court documents.

The bodies of Ortiz and Rosado were found in their bedroom the next day, each with a single bullet wound to the head. The children were found unharmed. Detectives theorize Rosado was killed because she could identify Macauley, who was business partners with her husband in a tattoo and smoke shop.

David Goodhue: 305-440-3204

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