Monday, August 22, 2005

Dan Abrams proves he's a mensch during Figeuroa update

Information is starting to roll out in the tragic death of Latoyia Figeuroa. Alleged murderer Stephen Poaches apparently led the police to Figeuroa's body after an acquaintence he recruited to assist him in moving her body dropped a dime by calling the Citizens Crime Commission

Friday afternoon, after the man dialed the tip line and asked about the $100,000 reward for information on Figueroa, cops and the caller planned how to trap Poaches.

Poaches allegedly had asked his acquaintance for a body bag and a truck. So police gave the acquaintance what Poaches requested and told him to wait until nightfall to go ahead with the plan.

About midnight Saturday, Poaches and his acquaintance drove to Chester and pulled over by a grassy lot near 4th and Palmer streets.

Police moved in and cuffed Poaches standing next to the dead Figueroa. Poaches was wearing a bulletproof vest and was carrying a .45-caliber handgun.

Up until the phone call, "we didn't have anything," said the police official. "There was nothing over [Poaches'] head. He went to work every day. There was no crime scene. We had nothing."

According to Poaches' attorney, Michael Coard, Poaches was wearing the bullet-proof vest and carrying the gun because he and his family had supposedly received threats. Coard also maintained there was not enough evidence to charge him, taking what seems to be a page from the Ira Einhorn defense handbook [emphasis added]

"there is no evidence of him murdering" Figueroa.

"He was [only] allegedly near the body," Coard said. "That is not proof of murder and kidnapping."

According to NBC 10's Harry Hairston, it's believed that Poaches strangled Figeuroa the day of her last prenatal exam. Hairston also made an appearance on The Abrams Report this evening to discuss the case and revealed Poaches had signed a confession.

Instead of dwelling on the details of the murder, Abrams brought in criminologists to discuss the tragic commonality of the murder of women during pregnancy or shortly after delivery. When criminal profiler Pat Brown started with a statement to the effect that women need to ensure they don't get pregnant by a man who doesn't want children to avoid being murdered, Abrams quickly interrupted to make it clear a blame the victim approach was inappropriate. Yes, women (and men) need to be careful in their choices of romantic partners, but I highly doubt many of these unwitting victims (or their families) honestly suspect their partner would murder them because they didn't want to be fathers. I'll update with the show transcript when it becomes available [emphasis added]

ABRAMS: Pat, let me read you this from “The Washington Post”, a study from the states that could provide information on the murders of pregnant, postpartum women.

From 1990 to 2004, 1,367 pregnant women and new mothers were killed; nearly 70 percent were shot; most victims slain at home; the killers likely husbands, lovers or boyfriends.

There is something—I mean this is why the Laci Peterson case struck a nerve I think with so many people, so many women in particular, is the idea that at a, you know, at a time which should be the most, the happiest in someone‘s life that you‘ve got these men out there who decide this is a good time to kill my wife.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well exactly Dan, but I think we also have women out there who are not picking men who want to be fathers. It‘s a simple solution for the women. Don‘t get pregnant by men you do not trust and absolutely think want to be in a relationship and want to move into fatherhood.

ABRAMS: You can‘t start blaming the women, Pat...

BROWN: Oh yes, you—everybody‘s got to...

ABRAMS: No you can‘t. I‘m sorry...


ABRAMS: We‘re talking about murders here. OK...

BROWN: We are. We are.

ABRAMS: We‘re not talking about unwanted pregnancies. You‘re not going to start...

BROWN: Well...

ABRAMS: ... telling me that the women who got killed were asking for it because they didn‘t use proper birth control.

BROWN: I‘m saying that there is a -- if women don‘t want to get killed by these guys...


BROWN: No, I have to be...


ABRAMS: Women, if you don‘t want to get killed out there by your boyfriend...


ABRAMS: Pat Brown recommends that you be careful about who you...

BROWN: Absolutely. I mean you may think that‘s silly Dan, but here‘s the point...

ABRAMS: It‘s ridiculous.

BROWN: Here‘s the point. That there are men out there who do believe that rather than face responsibility, it‘s easier to get rid of the woman. If you get rid of the woman and the child, you don‘t have to deal with it.

So that‘s a simple fact. They‘re out there. They‘re like predators.

It‘s like when we look at serial killers. You say to women—it‘s like going out on the plains in Africa. You don‘t wave meat in front of a lion and expect to come out alive. It‘s not fair. I don‘t think it‘s right. It‘s terribly wrong, but I‘m trying to save women‘s lives, because there are these men out there who believe this and will kill you because they don‘t like what they‘re going to have to go through.

[full transcript]

The whole show was uncharacteristically well-rounded (for cable news) in coverage of various cases including a small bit on last week's disappearance of 20-year old Ohio student/model Julie Popovich.

Sidebar to Abrams' producers: get that man a more effective antihistamine/decongestant (or don't let him go on air within 24 hours after endoscopy). UPDATE 23AUG05: make that a non-sedating antihistamine.

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