Monday, November 14, 2011

The Enrique Davilla Murder Story

                                             The Enrique Davilla Murder Story
                              They said we had a Cuban Mafia Killer living In Our Home
                         A true story about our employee and friend Enrique Davilla Suarez
                                     Written 1/2011 and rewritten 05/14/2016, unedited
                                                            Howard Yasgar

      It was in 1983, when we had a young Colombian employee working at our company, his name was Enrique Davilla Suarez.          
     When I had first met Enrique, he was 28 years old, and he told me that he was from Colombia. Enrique was average height, with a slight build, and had a very light, a pale complexion, he had sandy blond hair, and a slightly angular nose.  We assumed that because of his facial appearance and his light complexion, that Enrique’s original lineage might have been from Spain, he just had an aristocratic look about him. Enrique was married to a very nice young Colombian girl, who was born in Miami. They had a daughter who was about one year old at the time that I employed Enrique.
     By 1984, our company which was a rebuilder of automotive electrical components, had set up a satellite operation which was located about two blocks away from our main building. We called the new satellite company, AAA Auto Electric. The new division was to be managed by a Ecuadorian fellow named Luis Cantos, Luis had formerly been our plant manager at our main company building. However, when we set up the satellite company, it was decided that Luis would take five of our most skilled mechanics with him, to the new location and one of them was the Colombian fellow Enrique Davilla Suarez.
      Enrique had already worked for us for about a year, so by the time Enrique went to work at our new satellite company, I had gotten to know him fairly well. So whenever I had the occasion to visit the new operation, Enrique was always the first to say hello and wish me a good morning.
     One day, Enrique came over to our main office to talk to me, he came by with his wife and baby daughter. Enrique explained to me how he had originally entered the United States, by way of Europe. He said that he had done it on a tourist visa, and once he was in the United States he had just overstayed his visa. Enrique said, that his original intention was to return to Colombia and apply for a legitimate United States work visa. He said, that he still wanted to do this, so he could enter the United States legally and apply for a resident status and then obtain a “Green Card.” Enrique said that once he had a green card, he could eventually become a U.S. Citizen.
      Enrique said that he would not have a problem obtaining another travel visa in Colombia, but he wanted to explain everything to me, so I fully understood his reason for wanting to return to Colombia. He said that it shouldn’t take me more than four weeks to do everything, and he hoped that I would keep his job open for him when he returned.
      I told Enrique that not only would I keep his job for him, but I would be happy to write a letter for him, guaranteeing that he had employment in the United States. He said, he didn’t think the letter was necessary. So with my full knowledge and permission, Enrique then left for Colombia.
      About a month had passed, when Enrique’s wife stopped by to tell me that it was taking him a lot longer to get a visa than he had planned. The reason was that there was a long line of people that were ahead of him, all waiting for Visas to the United States. His wife asked me if I would still be willing to write the letter, as they now thought it might help him to get the visa quicker. I agreed, so I had my secretary write a very official sounding letter for him.
     It took a while but eventually everything went as expected and Enrique came back to Miami with a legal visa, and he went back to work at our satellite company.
     About six months passed and Enrique again came by to see me, he said that his uncle was opening up an import business, and he had asked Enrique to come to work with him, as a partner in the business. Enrique said, he wanted to tell me, because he felt very bad leaving our company, especially after I had helped him get his visa.
     I told Enrique not to worry, I was happy to help him, and if he ever wanted to return to our company to work, he was always welcome.
      It was about sixty days after he left our company that Enrique’s wife called me to say that Enrique had been arrested for murder. She told me that she and Enrique were out food shopping, and were just returning to their car with their groceries when two Miami detectives approached them, and they asked Enrique if his name was Enrique Davilla Torres. Enrique said no, his name was Enrique Davilla Suarez. They then put hand cuffs on him, and he was taken away.
      I didn’t quite know what to say to her, so I asked her if she was getting an attorney.  She said, yes, so I told her to keep me informed and to have Enrique’s attorney contact me.
      About three weeks passed when Enrique’s wife called me, to ask if Enrique’s attorney had called me, I told her that I hadn’t heard a thing. She said, that it appeared that the attorney they had was worthless and he was taking advantage of them. She said that so far the attorney had charged them over $3000.00, and done nothing.
      His wife told me that Enrique was supposed to be extradited to a New York prison very shortly. After hearing that, I had no idea of what to do, so I waited another month, but I never heard anything from Enrique’s attorney or anyone else.
      Then, one day, we received a visit at our office from two Miami Detectives, one of them said he was from the Miami homicide division, and the other detective, who also spoke fluent Spanish, said he was from the INS, the Miami Immigration Dept.
      We quickly showed them into our office, as we were all anxious to hear what had happened to Enrique, and they had quite a story to tell us. They said that Enrique Davilla Torres was a member of the Cuban Mafia, and he was a well-known drug dealer. They said that Enrique was at a drug party in New York City with ten other people, and he got into an argument with two of them and shot them dead.
      After we heard their story, we informed the detectives that Enrique was a Colombian not a Cuban, and his name was Suarez not Torres.  I told them I knew Enrique was Colombian, and I knew it because I had been instrumental in helping him get his visa to the U.S.
     My partner Don, who had once lived in Colombia, and spoke Colombian Spanish, he verified that Enrique spoke Colombian Spanish, not Cuban Spanish, and he asked the Hispanic Detective how come he didn’t know the difference between the two completely different Spanish dialects, as they were not even similar.
     That’s when the detectives said that Enrique’s picture had been picked out of the INS files, and there were eight witnesses in New York had positively identified him as Enrique Davilla Torres the Cuban Mafia drug dealer guy, they also said that the witnesses all swore that Enrique was the murderer. We were speechless, and I told them that on the day of the murder, Enrique was in Miami, working for us and he was not in New York. I knew it because he had said good morning to me on that very day.
     The two Detectives didn’t appear to care what we said, it sounded as if they didn’t want any of our facts to get in the way of their prosecuting Enrique. To us, it looked like Enrique was being railroaded for no good reason by two really very dumb Miami detectives.
     Another month passed, and Enrique’s wife called to inform us that Enrique had been transferred to New York and was still in the “Tombs” prison, and that was the last call we ever received from her.  
     About another fifteen months passed without a single word from anyone, until one day, into our office walked a big fat New York Irish detective wearing a lousy fitting, pin striped suit. He looked like a typical New York Irish cop with a big red bulbous nose and all, and he spoke to us with a heavy New York accent. The detective told us he was from the New York City Police, and came to Miami to discuss the Enrique Davilla Torres Case with us, so we all assumed that he was part of Enrique’s defense team.
     We showed him into our office, and we then called our other location down the street to have Enrique’s former boss, Luis come over. We also wanted as many of Enrique’s fellow employees to come over to talk to the detective, as we knew they would all swear Enrique was in Miami the day he was supposed to be in New York.
      Everyone arrived, and we went over all the same facts that we had told the two Miami detectives fifteen months earlier. We were surprised when the New York detective said he didn’t know anything about our meeting with the other detectives. He said he had in his possession all Enrique’s files and he had no idea who the Miami detectives were.
     So we told him, that we heard that there were eight witnesses in New York that saw Enrique and had identified him as the murderer, and the detective said, that information was correct.       We then told him, that we all knew that Enrique was in Miami at the time of the murders and we all would be happy to fly to New York to testify on Enrique’s behalf.
     The New York detective advised us that if we did want to testify, it would be at our expense, and we should know that the prosecution would keep delaying the case to make us come to New York many times. He also said that if we testified on behalf of Enrique, and if he was still convicted, we all could be charged with perjury for lying. Yes, he said perjury, well that’s when he told us that he was not here in Miami for Enrique’s defense he was here to get evidence to prosecute Enrique. We were shocked, the fat Irish detective was working for the prosecution, not the defense. At that point we didn’t know what to say, all this time, we had thought he was in Miami to help Enrique.
     The detective then wanted to know, how we knew Enrique was in Miami at the time of the murders, so I told him we had done a study of the time cards, and I also told him that I remembered talking to Enrique that very day, and besides from me, there were his co-workers who all remembered him being here, and we all would swear to it. I then sent for Margie who was the company secretary, and Margie had a check and stub showing that Enrique was paid for working that day.
      I think the detective liked Margie, so he took a copy of the check stub, thanked us for our time, shook our hands and left our office.
      The next morning, while we were all wondering what to do about Enrique, I received a call from the detective. He said he called to tell me he was leaving for New York, and he needed the home address of Margie our book keeper. But before I hung up the phone, I asked him if on a scale of one to ten, what he thought of the defense attorney’s, that were working on Enrique’s case. He said they were a five at best, which I thought was not very promising, so I told him we still wanted to give a deposition to the defense attorney, and we would all be willing to fly up to New York to testify at our own expense, I said that I would pay for it.    
      I felt that we had done as much as we could, and I hoped I would soon hear something from Enrique’s defense attorney, but like before we heard nothing.
     After two weeks passed, and we still had not heard anything regarding Enrique’s situation. I was beginning to think that all our conversations we had with the New York detective, were a waste of time, but the next morning, as I sat at my desk, I heard a lot of excitement going on in the hallway just outside my office, so I walked out to see what was going on.
     Standing there in the hallway, was a gaunt looking, and pale faced Enrique Davilla Suarez. His pants were baggy and his belt was way too long from all the weight he had lost. Enrique had a big grin on his face as he came over and hugged me.
     I was shocked, and I asked him what had happened, and how did he get out of prison?  He said that he was locked in the Tombs prison in New York for 17 months, and every time they called out the name Enrique Davilla Torres, he wouldn’t reply. He said he told them over and over that his name was Suarez, not Torres.
      Then he said, two days ago, the police came to his cell and escorted him to a room where there was a lie detector machine. He said a fat red nosed Irish detective was also there. They hooked him up and asked him questions in Spanish. When the lie detector test was over, he said the fat detective came over to him and said in English. “OK, Enrique get the fuck out of here.” Enrique spoke no English so he didn’t understand what the detective said, but there was a Spanish translator in the room, and he told Enrique that he was being freed, and he could thank his boss and his friends in Miami for his release.
     Within a couple of hours, Enrique was told to put his belongings in a paper bag and go home, he was a free man.  As he walked out of the prison, he was approached by a reporter from the associated press, he said that his name was Jesus Rangel. Rangel said that he had been following Enrique’s case for the past seventeen months, and he and other reporters had written several stories about Enrique of which some had even appeared in all the Colombian newspapers. He said Enrique was now quite famous in Colombia, and he asked Enrique for his side of the story.
      Enrique, said he didn’t really know what happened, as to why he was freed, but he was told that his friends in Miami, and his boss Howard had gotten him out. He then gave Jesus Rangel my name and my phone number in Miami.
      I was so happy to see Enrique free, that I took $500.00 from the petty cash box and gave it to him, and I told Enrique, to take his wife out for supper and then have a good rest, and when he felt well enough, he could come back to work.
      Enrique left, and then that very afternoon I received a phone call from the Associated Press reporter Jesus Rangel, he was calling me from New York. I talked with him for a while and I filled him in on everything I knew about Enrique’s case. Little did I realize that the article Jesus would now write for the Associated Press an article that would appear in lots of newspapers that were printed all over the world. Also I didn’t know it at the time, but the reporter Jesus Rangel was going to make me a very popular person. The next day, my phone started ringing, it was radio stations calling me from all over the United States, and they all wanted to talk to me live on the air, to discuss Enrique’s case.
     By late the next morning I had the Local TV Channel No. 10 called to tell me, they were coming over to do a live TV interview. I was excited so I immediately called my wife Katherine to tell her. She asked me if my shirt was clean enough to be on TV, it wasn’t, and so I went home to change my shirt, I came back and I did the Channel 10 live interview.
     It was 4 days later when Enrique drove up to my office. He was driving his old Plymouth automobile, and I saw that he had his suitcase with him.
     I found out that for the last 10 months, Enrique had not heard a word from his wife, and when Enrique was released from prison, it was his father in law, who sent him the money for his flight to Miami, not his wife. When that happened Enrique knew something was not right, and eventually his wife’s family told him that his wife had met someone else and she wanted a divorce.
     Enrique, his heart now broken, had no place to stay, so I invited him to stay with Katherine and myself at our home. I called Katherine to get her permission to have “Enrique the Cuban Mafia Murderer”, stay with us. Katherine already knew Enrique’s story, and she knew he was not a murderer, so she was happy to be able to help him.
     I then contacted the only attorney I knew at the time, unfortunately he was a real estate attorney. I had hoped that he knew someone that could help Enrique get some financial compensation from the State of New York, for false imprisonment.
       My attorney said that he knew a capable Miami attorney that could help Enrique, so I told him to get Enrique an appointment as soon as possible. In the mean time, Enrique moved in with Katherine and myself in our condominium, and in order to help Enrique get his mind off his problems, Katherine and I took him with us everywhere we went, but we could see that Enrique was in a serious state of depression, so the first thing the new attorney did was set up an appointment for a psychiatric evaluation of Enrique. He said he needed to do this in order to start building a case against the state of New York. On his way to the psychiatrist’s evaluation, Enrique was in a car accident. It wasn’t even Enrique’s fault, someone was parking their car, and opened their door right into traffic, and Enrique’s car just took the door off the guy’s car. Poor Enrique was not charged with the accident, but he was very shook up, adding more to his depression.
     After several weeks, Enrique rented a small one bedroom apartment and moved out of our house, and that’s when we lost track of what progress the attorney was making.
      One day we received a call, it was from Enrique’s Attorney, and he said he wanted all of us to come to his office to give depositions. When we arrived, we were told that a team of 2 attorney’s had been sent by New York to take our depositions, so I asked Enrique’s attorney, how much money, did he think he could get for Enrique. He said that the State of New York had some type of ruling that they didn’t have to pay anything for false Imprisonment, so Enrique was not going to get anything. I was speechless, I was not an attorney, but I could see that Enrique’s attorney was a real dope, and I felt responsible for getting Enrique involved with him.
     I felt that if the State of New York really didn’t have to pay anything, why, did they spend the time and money to fly two attorneys all the way to Miami. So when my turn came to give my deposition, I met with the New York attorneys, who were a young man and a young women.
      As nice as I could, I asked them how the compensation system worked in New York, and they had no problem explaining the system to me. They said that while the State of New York, was not obligated to pay anything, they were authorized to award Enrique up to $30,000.00. They said that if that was acceptable, they could get immediate approval over the phone to settle the case, it was just as easy as that. They also said if $30,000.00, wasn’t acceptable, and the award was to be higher, the State of New York had a different team of attorneys that had to approve it. After hearing all of this, I wondered why Enrique’s attorney had not asked them, that simple question, I couldn’t believe that he was really that bad, but he was.
      So after my deposition, I again went into Enrique’s attorney’s office and explained to him what the New York attorneys had told me. He was astounded to hear that Enrique could get $30,000.00 immediately. I told him that I thought the fact that New York sent two attorneys all the way to Miami, showed that they were willing to settle, otherwise why would they have come. Enrique’s attorney just gave me a blank stare.
     Several days later, my attorney called me to tell me that his brilliant attorney friend had been smart enough to get Enrique a $30,000.00 settlement from New York, but I found out later, that Enrique was embarrassed to tell anyone that his wife was divorcing him, so in the end, the attorney got his fee, The IRS got their share, and Enrique’s wife got half of the few dollars that was left.
      Enrique continued to work for us, but he was constantly in depression and he started drinking heavy. Eventually the drinking got the best of him and I was told he would just sit in his apartment listening to the radio, a CD player and the TV all at the same time. Then Enrique started coming to work under the influences of alcohol or drugs and eventually he hurt his hand. Now he was desperate for drinking and drug money, so he sued our company under the workman’s compensation law, and once he was awarded money from them, he could no longer be employed by us, so the monetary award was self-defeating, as now Enrique was unemployed.   
      We heard that Enrique had become a homeless alcoholic, roaming the Miami streets, but he never again came by to see us. Then we heard a rumor that he was sleeping at the Miami airport and while he was there, he was interviewed by a Colombian reporter. Enrique supposedly gave her a false story and she was able to get him a ticket to return to his home in Colombia, so we heard nothing about Enrique for several years.
     In March of 2013, I received an E mail from Enrique in Colombia. He said he was out of money and needed financial help, so I replied with financial help for him. About sixty days later I received another E Mail, Enrique was in Miami now and needed additional financial help. I could see this was a situation that was not going to get better with time, so I complied, but I told my friend Enrique that it was the last time, and I have not heard from him since.


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