April 19, 2014

Elyria
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Status quo maintained in death row case

Death row inmate Stanley Jalowiec talks to his attorneys during a break in a January hearing before Judge Jim Burge. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

Death row inmate Stanley Jalowiec talks to his attorneys during a break in a January hearing before Judge Jim Burge. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA — Both prosecutors and defense attorneys will remain involved with death row inmate Stanley Jalowiec’s efforts to win a new trial after Visiting Judge Virgil Lee Sinclair rejected requests from the two sides to remove each other from the case.

Defense attorneys had wanted Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will and his staff, including Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo, kicked off the case because they contended that prosecutors were withholding information they believe will help Jalowiec.

But Cillo argued in court Tuesday that he was turning over information as he gets it in the case.

For instance, he said Jalowiec’s attorneys have complained that he only gave them a partial tape of Michelle Arroyo, a witness in the case. But Cillo said that while police were interviewing Arroyo they turned off one of the two tape recorders they were using and left a second one running. The full tape was given to Jalowiec’s lawyers, he said.

“They act as if I’m trying to hide something when I’ve given it to them,” Cillo said.

Cillo also rejected allegations that Michael Smith, a key witness against Jalowiec in the 1994 killing of police informant Ronald Lally, was bribed with a hotel room and help relocating to Arizona. He said it would be akin to saying that defense lawyers bribed a witness when they bought him Chinese food while interviewing him.

Smith, Cillo said, was put up in a hotel room with protection because there had been threats against his life.

Cillo had wanted legal intern Elliot Slosar, who works for the Chicago-based Exoneration Project, removed from the case because of what he described as inaccurate affidavits signed by some witnesses in the case.

Slosar and Lorain private investigator Gerald “Butch” Mielcarek both were involved in gathering the affidavits.

Tara Thompson, one of Jalowiec’s attorneys, has defended her team’s investigation.

Sinclair also has scheduled a hearing for Nov. 4 in which he intends to hear key evidence that he will use to determine if Jalowiec is entitled to a new trial.

Jalowiec has argued that he wasn’t present when Lally was killed on the eve of a drug trial in which he was scheduled to testify against Michael Smith’s brother, Daniel Smith, and their father, Raymond Smith.

According to police and prosecutors, Michael Smith, Raymond Smith and Jalowiec were all in the car when Lally was taken to a Cleveland cemetery where he was beaten, shot and run over.

Michael Smith was a cooperating witness, while Raymond Smith and Daniel Smith were both tried for murder. Daniel Smith, who was accused of orchestrating the killing, was acquitted while Raymond Smith and Jalowiec were convicted and given the death penalty. Raymond Smith’s death sentence was later commuted to life in prison after a judge determined he was mentally retarded and couldn’t be executed.

Lawyers for Jalowiec have argued that police and prosecutorial misconduct led to their client’s wrongful conviction.

Thompson said that the witnesses she wants to testify will prove Jalowiec was at his mother’s house when Lally was killed.

“This is evidence that goes to the question at the heart of this case and that is whether Stan Jalowiec was in the car,” she said.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.