An attorney representing the family of a deceased man demands to know why evidence from a 2013 deputy-involved fatal shooting has been destroyed and possibly misplaced.
Stuart Kaplan represents the family of Richard Haston, who was shot and killed by Martin County Deputy James Warren in 2013, reported WPTV.
Haston’s family filed a civil lawsuit against the Martin County Sheriff’s Office after Warren was cleared by a Grand Jury of any criminal charges.
Kaplan said he has been unable to obtain key pieces of evidence, including an aerial map, which Kaplan says Warren would have used to mark where he was in location to the victim at the time of the shooting.
Kaplan believes Warren misidentified locations on the map to fit his story, but not the physical evidence.
“That map, we believe, is very critical because we believe it was inconsistent with the physical evidence that was left behind,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan also said an investigative report from the State Attorney’s Office, would have included information investigators learned during the course of their investigation, was destroyed.
“They chose for whatever reason to destroy that report,” Kaplan said. “Their explanation is that they only retain those investigative reports for only one year.”
Kaplan said the family’s original attorney sent a letter of preservation to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, no none of the evidence should have been destroyed.
“The Martin County Sheriff’s Office says we don’t have a copy of it. And the State Attorney’s Office acknowledges and concedes that they destroyed it,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan intends to discuss these strange occurrences with a federal judge at a hearing in November, and he will also request that no further evidence be destroyed in the case.
(Article By James Carter)