Transcript for Jailhouse informant testifies John Giuca confessed to being a part of murder: Part 4
Fast forward to 2005. John guica and Antonio Russo are on trial for this homicide. Their trials are held simultaneously, in the same courtroom. You have two juries. You have the potential for two verdicts. There is no drama like courtroom drama because all the players are in the same room. And you can cut the tension with a knife. Mark fisher's parents were fixtures in the courtroom, every single day. My impression throughout the trial was one of sadness. They were very subdued and somber. John giuca's mom and his stepdad are there. And mom, like no other mother ever, has gone to bat for her son. She thinks he's falsely accused. The truth will set him free. John guica had supporters, and you would see them wearing t-shirts that said, "Free John guica." You sat in the courtroom every day. Y. What was that like? It was terrible. It was awful. One lie after the other after the other. Was there any forensic evidence linking your son to the murder? Zero. Zero. This case was on testimony only. He said, she said. Testimony only. This case was built largely on circumstantial evidence and statements from witnesses who were at one point very shifty. Representing the prosecution was someone, a young prosecutor at the time, named anna-sigga nicolazzi. How many people did you interview? Over 100. Well over 100. Nicolazzi was one of the stars of the office. This prosecutor is very articulate. She's a very strong prosecutor. She makes a powerful impression on the jury. Some of the evidence presented to the jury involved phone records. We did probably over 150 subpoenas for phone records. Those records show, just three minutes before the murder, Antonio Russo called John giuca. The phone records show that before the murder, you talked to Antonio Russo twice. After the murder, you talked to him 26 times. Uh-huh. Can you talk about why? I can't, but I can say this. At any -- any time there's any major activity in anyone's life, there's gonna be more phone calls. That's just a fact. One of the things that made this case so powerful was that you had his longtime friend, one of his best friends, testifying against him. Al Cleary is a guy from Brooklyn, ends up being one of the last guys to leave the party. And he's a key figure in this case. Al Cleary got up on the witness stand and said huh a .22 pistol, the same caliber -- Yeah, right, right. Albert Cleary, who was the prime suspect at first, and he turned into the star witness -- Albert Cleary was caught in numerous lies. He changed his story, and the body was found 50 feet away from his house. And he also said that you gave Antonio Russo the gun and told him to show mark what's up. That's so ridiculous. I can't even -- that's not my vocabulary. I don't -- that's just not true. Several months before the murder, giuca was allegedly involved in a dispute and fired a gun in the street. Even though he pled guilty, he claims it was just fireworks. Did you ever own a gun? No. Have you ever fired a gun? No. You've never shot a weapon? No. No. My mother used to snoop through all my stuff. I couldn't have anything in the house without her finding it. I'm serious. So, it's also interesting that in the early days of the investigation, Al Cleary took a lie detector test, took a polygraph, said he knew nothing about the murder and passed with flying colors. So now he's coming forward and saying, "Well, yeah, I did know something about the murder." I remember Cleary's testimony being incriminating. The question was whether it was all truthful. Lauren Calciano was John guica's longtime She testifies that John giuca told her that Antonio Russo wanted to rob mark fisher and that giuca gave him the gun to do it. That's the testimony that brought me to my knees. And that's always been difficult for me to talk about, because I felt like she was like my daughter. What she did nearly destroyed me. It crushes you. It rips your heart out. I watched Albert Cleary testify. Then I watched Lauren Calciano say the complete opposite. Their testimony was contradicting each other. So, as a desperate measure, anna-sigga niccolazi called John avitto to the stand to say a complete different version than the other two. He was something of a surprise, yeah. He was something of a surprise. This jailhouse informant says that John giuca confesses to pistol whipping mark fisher, and somebody else grabs the gun and shoots him. So it puts John giuca right on the scene of the crime. The problem is it doesn't match the other two witnesses. And yet, it was presented as, you know, the smoking gun. Let's talk about the star witness, this so called jailhouse informant. Do you remember meeting him here at rikers? Yeah, I remember meeting him on rikers, and I remember not really associating with him at And when he got up on the stand and said that you confessed to him -- I was so totally shocked. But I thought that the jury would easily be able to see through it. They were hooking an important part of their case on the testimony of a surprise witness who had something of his own checkered past. He has a career criminal record. He has bipolar schizophrenia. He has substance abuse problems. John avitto has problems. And it was, as we were told, done out of the kindness of his heart. No deal, no rewards from the Brooklyn prosecutors. And was the testimony consistent? Absolutely contradictory. They killed mark fisher for $20, was one of them. They killed mark fisher because he sat on a table. And the other one was for the initiation into the so-called gang. Now we have three versions on what could possibly have happened that the jury has to It's almost like a Chinese menu. You have to decide on which one to pick from. After the prosecution made its case, it was then the turn of the defense. But, as it turned out, neither the defense for Mr. Giuca nor for Mr. Russo opted to call anyone to the stand. They rested their case. That was that. What was your reaction to the fact that the jury came back with a verdict in two hours? Something was wrong.
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