Ohio Prosecutor Posing as Woman Fired for Allegedly Facebooking Witnesses
An Ohio prosecutor admitted to tampering with witnesses on Facebook.
June 7, 2013— -- A Cleveland-area prosecutor has been fired after he admitted pretending to be a defendant's ex-girlfriend on Facebook in order to convince alibi witnesses for the defense to change their testimony in a murder case, officials said.
Aaron Brockler, 35, was the lead prosecutor in the aggravated murder trial of Damon Dunn, 29, who is accused of shooting a man to death at a Cleveland car wash in May of 2012.
In preparation for the trial, defense attorneys provided Brockler with the names of two female witnesses who Dunn said could testify that he was on the other side of the city at the time of the shooting, officials said.
Brockler then set out to discredit the witnesses, allegedly creating a fake Facebook profile and "friending" the two women, claiming he was the defendant's ex-girlfriend. He then allegedly initiated a series of chats with the witnesses on the social network site in which he tried to get them to change their stories.
"What he was trying to do was to irritate the women to shake them and get them to change their story and not provide the alibi witness," Cuyahoga County Prosecutor spokesman Joe Frolik said.
The alleged ruse -- which Frolik said Brockler admitted to the prosecutor's office -- was discovered when prosecutor's office officials, after the two witnesses complained they were being harassed on Facebook, traced chat activity with the witnesses on the social network site to Brockler's office computer.
"By creating false evidence, lying to witnesses as well as to another prosecutor, Aaron Brockler has damaged the prosecution's chances in a murder case where a totally innocent man was killed at his work," Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said in an email statement.
"Aaron Brockler disgraced this office and was fired on the spot for his dishonesty. This case was given to the [Ohio] Attorney General and the defense and Judge were notified of the deception as soon as another Assistant County Prosecutor discovered it."
The office of the Ohio Attorney General will assign a lawyer to prosecute the murder case, and a pre-trial hearing is scheduled for June 18.
Brockler's actions have undermined the credibility of the prosecution and are now a distraction, prosecutor spokesman Frolik told ABC news.
"It gives the defense a hammer to hit you with," he said.
ABC News has been unable to reach Brockler, who has not been charged with any crime.
But he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that his actions weren't that of a "rogue" prosecutor, and that he was motivated to attempt to try to break the alibi because of a personal relationship he had developed with the victim's mother.
"I felt her pain over losing her son," Brockler told the Plain Dealer. "I made a promise to her that he wasn't going to walk out the front door of the courthouse. This was a horrible killer and I didn't want him to get out and go kill someone else's son.
"Unless I could break this guy's alibi a murderer might be walking on the street. There was such a small window of opportunity. I had to act fast."
Brockler told the Plain Dealer the two witnesses changed their stories during the Facebook discourse he had with them. "This is bogus, I'm not going to lie for him [Dunn]," he said one woman told him.
He told the newspaper the other woman also changed her story and said she wasn't, in fact, with Dunn at the time of the shooting.
Brockler might be considering some kind of legal action in connection with his dismissal, prosecutor spokesman Frolik said, and "the ball is in his court."