Former deputy said dept. once tampered with evidence
David Knight & Kit Daniels
February 18, 2016
The sheriff who claimed there was no foul play involved in the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had little experience in homicide investigations and his department willfully ignored proper procedures, according to an insider.
Former Presidio Co. Deputy Caesar Melendez, who said he was fired after attempting to turn in a fellow deputy for tampering with evidence, revealed that Sheriff Danny Dominguez was “not that well-experienced” in handling dead bodies.
“I was usually the person he would look to to take care of issues like that,” he said, adding that more should have been done during the Scalia investigation. “I wish I could have been there so I could it for myself, but I honestly don’t think enough was done.”
“From what I understand, apparently [Scalia’s] clothing had no wrinkles in them, so of course he lied still, and the pillow should have been taken in as evidence if it was used to smother him, I’m just speculating here, for any saliva, blood or anything like that on the pillow itself.”
“An autopsy would have actually shown minute bruising under a microscope around the lip area if force was applied to the face,” the former deputy added.
Melendez also said it was easy for him to get an autopsy done on a body when he requested one.
“If I asked the judge for one, I would get it,” he said.
The former deputy also stated the department had a pattern of irregular procedures during investigations and that he was fired for speaking out about it.
“Apparently I was terminated back in 2015 and that was due to the fact I was turning in one of the deputies for tampering with evidence,” he revealed. “I was filing a case against a man for being in possession of a handgun while he was under a protective order and according to state law, he cannot be in possession of one, and this was in reference to family violence.”
The sheriff reportedly wanted to Melendez to turn the gun over to him so he could give it back to the suspect.
“I refused to do so, so he asked me to log it in as evidence and as I was doing that, I took photos of all the log books and everything, and next thing I know Deputy Garcia is handing me some paperwork saying the District Attorney Rod Ponton dropped the charges, which he had no involvement in this case,” Melendez said. “The weapon was returned to the suspect’s son, who he himself was a felon, so the weapon should have never been given to him to begin with.”
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Josh Owens also contributed to this report with drone footage and camera work.
This article was posted: Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 12:22 pm