In what may well be the worst-reported story ever, PIX11 starts with the one piece of news it has, that after three years, Brian Solano was cut loose.
He’d been held on Rikers Island for three years for a murder he insisted that he did not commit. Now, suddenly, Brian Solano, 24, has suddenly and inexplicably been released from jail, with no official explanation.
His private investigator points out, however, that the release has come shortly after he produced evidence that very strongly indicates that someone other than Solano committed the crime.
The change seemingly happened out of the blue.
So many questions and not even a hint of an answer in sight. The one question that isn’t is what somebody decided was worthy of note, that it “seemingly” happened out of the blue. That’s how it happens. Everything is bad until it isn’t. Same with good. After having been remanded for three years awaiting trial before Justice Steven Barrett, Solano was ROR’d.
But this has been a screwy case from the outset. Solano was arrested for complicity in the murder of Willie Lora in 2012, on the same day he was released on another charge.
A man busted for a mugging was released from jail Wednesday only to be promptly re-arrested for fatally shooting a man in the lobby of his High Bridge apartment building during an argument 10 days before, officials said.
And in a fit of brilliant reporting, DNAinfo writes:
Brian Solano, 21, shot a single bullet into the chest of Willie Lora, also 21, within 1566 Macombs Road, near West Mount Eden Road, about 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 8, police said.
Not allegedly shot, but shot. Who won’t miss such solid reporting? But at least it’s replaced with PIX11.
Evidence uncovered by Manuel Gomez, the private investigator hired by Solano’s family, shows that prosecutors’ key witnesses also indicate that Solano has no connection to Lora, or to the murder.
Did the family hire the PI? Usually, that’s the lawyer’s job.
More damning still is a video Gomez, the private investigator, obtained of police questioning Justis Colon, a man who’d been detained in another case. In the video, he admits that, at the time of the murder of Willie Lora, Colon was in sole possession of the gun that police ballistics tests show fired the shots that killed Lora.
The video of the questioning was recorded in 2015. Prosecutors never released it. Gomez was able to obtain it independently.
That’s some mighty good PI work, getting his hands on a prosecution video that was “never released” by obtaining it “independently.” Except what the hell is that supposed to mean? Does Gomez have magic video powers?
A review of the docket shows that Solano had retained counsel, Dawn Florio,* from the date of arraignment. It took a year for Florio to make motions, and after an unexplained second application that ate up a year, the case has sat for a year awaiting trial.
Yet, you won’t see the name Florio in the report. It’s as if Solano had no lawyer at all.
Solano, meanwhile, awaits his day in court, set for Dec. 6, when all of the evidence that Gomez has amassed will be formally considered. Both he and Gomez believe that the evidence that the private detective has been able to amass in the last year in the case will cause the charges to be dropped, allowing Solano to resume his life.
Releasing a defendant on remand after three years could raise such expectations.
“This is the first time, in all my years and all the murder cases I’ve done,” said Gomez, “that I’ve seen somebody released without bail” after being charged with first degree murder.
Second degree murder, actually, but let’s not get too technical. What we know is that the PI, Gomez, somehow managed to pull off a miracle. We know that “reform” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark’s crew played hide the Brady, another word you won’t see in the PIX11 post. And that Solano’s retained counsel is nowhere to be found, despite her client sitting in the can for three years awaiting trial.
And just to rub salt into the wound, it looked like Solano didn’t shoot Willie Lora, as the now-shuttered DNAinfo unequivocally stated three years ago. Go figure.
*Dawn Florio was a former Bronx assistant district attorney, niece of Appellate Division Justuce Anita Florio, who managed to blow her job (and likely judgeship) and keep finding her way into jams, conflicts and problems.