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  1. #1
    Senior Member dragonfire's Avatar
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    Defense requests judge remove himself from violent rape-turned-murder case

    Seven years after his arrest, a homeless man thought he had reached a plea agreement in the rape-turned-murder of a 69-year-old East Naples woman.

    But Mario Rosales-Trejo's plea agreement was denied and his trial was delayed again Monday when his defense requested the presiding judge remove himself from the case.

    Rosales-Trejo, 36, is accused of twice breaking into Lois Messer's home and sexually assaulting her in January 2005. Collier County sheriff's deputies arrested him that February after they said they caught him breaking in a third time.

    Messer died weeks later of organ failure, a condition prosecutors tied to the assaults.

    Rosales-Trejo appeared Monday before Collier Circuit Judge Fred Hardt in an orange inmate jumpsuit for what was scheduled to be the start of his first degree felony murder trial. However, his court-appointed attorney, Nico Vitale, told the judge the defense wanted Hardt disqualified because of comments he made while negotiating an unsuccessful plea agreement last week.

    Hardt rejected 30 years in prison for Rosales-Trejo — a number negotiated with Messer's family — "because it was not even close to enough time for what he did to the victim," he said during a conference call with the prosecution and defense on Friday, according to a motion filed by the defense Monday.

    "The Court seemed anxious to make this case go to trial rather than be resolved by negotiation," Vitale argued in the motion to disqualify the judge. The conversation made it clear that a fair trial would not be guaranteed, he added.

    Hardt "cannot be fair, impartial and unbiased in this case. He has usurped the role of the prosecutor in this case by reviewing the facts in a light favorable to the state," Vitale wrote.

    The case has taken several twists and turns from early on, from a Sheriff's Office sting operation to catch the suspect to added charges when Messer died a month after she was attacked.

    Messer was waiting for her grandson in her home on Van Buren Avenue, off of Bayshore Drive in East Naples, when she answered a knock at the door Jan. 24, 2005. A man she later identified in a live police line-up as Rosales-Trejo forced his way into her home and sexually assaulted her, in what deputies described as an "extremely violent" attack.

    Deputies took her statement, in which she detailed to investigators a brutal attack that left her bruised and bleeding. Messer described how she played dead until her attacker left, and why she stayed home alone for three days before seeing a doctor.

    She didn't immediately report the assault to family or law enforcement because she was "ashamed," Messer said.

    Four days later, on Jan. 31, she was attacked again.

    Around 2 a.m., she was watching TV in her home when the same man forced open a sliding glass door and sexually assaulted her twice.

    This time, Messer called the police. She told them her attacked had dark hair and a moustache. He wore cut-off denim shorts. He spoke only Spanish, except to say once "I love you." He carried a bed roll and pack.
    On Feb. 1, authorities say Rosales-Trejo entered the home for a third time.

    Instead of finding Messer, however, deputies were waiting. Messer had given them permission to conduct surveillance while she stayed with her daughter, according to Sheriff's Office reports.

    Rosales-Trejo, an undocumented laborer from Honduras, fought against deputies at the scene and was arrested.

    Messer would not see the case move forward, though. She died a month after the attack, on Feb. 28.
    At a 2006 hearing, Assistant State Attorney Steve Maresca, who is prosecuting the case, said a medical report from a nephrologist, who treats kidney disease, tied the sexual assault to Messer's cause of death, organ failure.

    Rosales-Trejo is now charged with first-degree felony murder in addition to the original counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon or great force, burglary, and theft.

    Without a plea agreement, Rosales-Trejo could face the death penalty on the felony murder charge, which also is punishable by life in prison.

    He has remained in the Naples Jail Center since being denied bond in 2007.

    In 2009, experts deemed him incompetent to stand trial and he was committed to a state hospital, according to clerk's records. The following year, Rosales-Trejo was declared competent to stand trial.

    It was unclear Monday when trial proceedings will resume. Vitale said he expected a judge to rule quickly on the motion to disqualify Hardt, but that a jury trial would likely not start this week.

    Defense requests judge remove himself from violent rape-turned-murder case » Naples Daily News
    Last edited by dragonfire; 02-28-2012 at 02:29 PM.

  2. #2
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
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    Did I miss anything because I did not see immigration status mentioned in this article. Is there mention of immigration or is someone investigating this?

    Non immigration related crime stories may only be posted here if the person posting the material is actively seeking immigration status.

    Please advise.

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    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  3. #3
    Senior Member dragonfire's Avatar
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    Rosales-Trejo, an undocumented laborer from Honduras, fought against deputies at the scene and was arrested.

    7 paragraphs from the bottom
    Last edited by dragonfire; 02-28-2012 at 04:58 PM.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    From 2007.

    Man accused in rapes now charged with murder

    Grand jury hands down murder indictment against Mario Rosales-Trejo, already charged with twice raping an elderly East Naples woman, who later died.

    AISLING SWIFT
    Naples Daily News
    Posted March 30, 2007 at 12:31 a.m.

    A 32-year-old man already charged with twice breaking into an East Naples woman’s home and raping her in 2005 has now been indicted on murder charges.

    A Collier County grand jury handed up an indictment Wednesday charging Mario Rosales-Trejo with first-degree felony murder, two counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon or great force, two counts of first-degree burglary with assault or battery, and third-degree grand theft.

    The indictment was handed up to Circuit Court Judge Fred Hardt, who will arraign him Monday. Rosales, who also had used the name Mario Trejo-Rosales, is being held without bond in Collier County jail.
    The 69-year-old woman who was attacked and raped on Jan. 24, 2005, and again on Jan. 31, 2005, died less than a month later, on Feb. 28. Due to the sexual nature of the case, her name is being withheld.

    A report by a Collier County Sheriff’s Office investigator called the attacks “extremely violent” and detectives have said the second attack was more brutal than the first.

    The woman’s daughter, who lives in Naples, could not be reached for comment Thursday, nor could the victim’s brother.

    At a hearing last fall, Assistant State Attorney Steve Maresca, who is prosecuting the case, said a medical report from a nephrologist, who treats kidney disease, tied the sexual assault to the cause of death, organ failure.



    Mario Trejo-Rosales


    On Thursday, Maresca wouldn’t say whether they had DNA evidence linking Rosales to the rapes, or comment on the strength of the evidence against Rosales. However, he said he’s confident proceeding with the murder charge and the 21 people on the grand jury found enough evidence to return a murder charge.

    “There’s significance evidentiary question as a result of her death,” Maresca said. “Whenever there’s a death of your main witness, there are certain difficulties.”

    Last fall, Assistant Public Defender Shawn Nagle said he intended to file a motion to quash the woman’s statement detailing the attacks. But his office held off until the indictment. Because the defense can’t cross-examine a dead witness, as they are entitled to under the law, the statements can’t be used in the murder trial.

    Chief Deputy Public Defender Mike Orlando, who is now handling the case, said he hadn’t seen the indictment or reviewed the file yet, so he couldn’t comment on the strength of the defense’s case.

    “The timing of the death and the circumstances of the death are certainly going to be an issue,” Orlando said Thursday. “Obviously, the case has taken a different turn with the new charges.”

    Rosales could face the death penalty on the felony murder charge, which also is punishable by life in prison. Felony murder is charged when a death occurs during the commission of a violent felony and is equal in seriousness to first-degree premeditated murder. Rosales already had been charged with six counts of rape — charges also punishable by life in prison — and various other offenses, including burglary, grand theft and resisting arrest.

    Court records and investigators have given the following account:
    Rosales broke into the woman’s house at 10:30 p.m. Jan. 24, 2005. She said she thought it was her grandson, who often visits, but when she saw it wasn’t, she tried to close the door. Rosales then grabbed her by the arms, pushed her inside and raped her.

    She told deputies he spoke Spanish to her, which she didn’t understand, and she tried to “play dead,” remaining motionless until he left. He stole three rings and three necklaces valued at $1,500.

    The woman stayed in her home for several days until she went to a doctor to get her back checked out. She told the doctor what occurred and the doctor reported the rape to authorities. Deputies added extra patrols in the neighborhood.

    But he returned at about 2 a.m. Jan. 31, as she was watching TV. She said he forced open the sliding glass door, threw her to the floor and raped her. She told investigators he smelled of alcohol, spoke to her in Spanish, and once said, “I love you” in English. She ťbelieved a bag of jewelry was stolen during the second attack.

    The woman was badly injured and was taken by ambulance to Naples Community Hospital.

    After that, her family removed her from her home, and sheriff’s investigators set up surveillance on the house, watching with night-vision goggles from across the street. About 20 deputies lay in wait.
    At around 11:25 p.m. Feb. 1, 2005, he returned and deputies watched as he hid behind bushes and looked to make sure no one was watching him. Then he went to a rear sliding glass door, opened it and entered. Deputies surrounded the house and as two deputies drove up, Rosales opened the blinds and stuck his head out.

    Deputies identified themselves and grabbed him, pulling him back through the door onto the ground. He struggled and kicked investigator Harley Terrill and Sgt. Scott Forth as officers tried to arrest him.
    Reports say he was wearing cloth gloves and was not carrying a weapon. He wore the same clothes the woman described in the second attack. Detectives have said they found unspecified personal items outside the house they believed belonged to Rosales.

    The woman identified him as soon as she saw him in a line-up, saying she “will never be able to forget his face.” She also detailed the attacks in a statement to investigators.

    Records show Rosales, who is from Honduras, was illegally in this country and had no job. He doesn’t appear to have a criminal record, except for an arrest on a trespassing charge in Texas in 1999.

    Naples News
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