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The Truth About Our Injustice

Everyone in prison says their innocent even when their not, right? Police don't go after the wrong people, do they? The courts would never throw the wrong person in jail, would they? Guess again....

Back in March of 98, my fiance, our two children and I moved out of a house in Newton MA, which putting it lightly, was a shack. We lived in this house for 3 years and the code violations never were repaired. We finally moved out that March as we feared for the safety of our children. Two days after we moved the house was burned down. Soon after, my fiance and I were contacted by a Detective of the Newton police department. He told us he had heard there were code violations with the house. He knew there was insurance on the house from the landlord so basically they just wanted to talk with us about how bad the house was. We agreed to meet with him and another officer of the State police. We were questioned separately in our home for 2 hours.

A month later I was again contacted by the State trooper and told he needed to question us a second time because he had forgotten a few questions. At this time I asked him if we were suspects and his reply was no. He said we were just the last tenants so we had to be questioned. I asked him this question to know if I should bring a lawyer along with me but his response lead me to believe this second interview was no big deal. Again we agreed to meet with them but this time at a local fire station. The troopers reason for this was because "the first interview was too hectic at your house with the kids."

When we arrived at the fire station we were again separated. I was told this interview would only last 15 minutes, well it turned out to be over 2 and a half hours. I have two small children ages 2yrs and 5yrs at the time and they began getting cranky being cooped up in a small room. Finally, the trooper came in the room. I asked if I could leave now. He told me "well, thats what I am here to talk to you about. Valerio (my fiance) is finishing up downstairs, he just signed a confession." I stood up and said that couldn't be true because he didn't do anything. The trooper yelled at me and told me to stop lying. "We know Valerio did this and you are covering for him." This went on for about 45 minutes with threats that DSS were on their way to take my kids from me, Valerio and I were going to jail and if I just confess this will all go away. My children, witnesses to all of this, standing in the corner asking "why is mommy crying?"

Now I know Valerio didn't set this fire because he was with me that whole day. We got new furniture delivered, my friend and her son slept over my house and Valerio was asleep on the couch at the time the fire started with my friend and I sitting next to him talking. We have ATM statements and pictures of Valerio being in a totally different city that day, my friend and I are alibi witnesses and Valerio even signed for the furniture.

I found out later that the police had threatened Valerio with losing our children also, they denied him a lawyer as they also did to me, told him he was going to jail that night if he didn't confess and his bail would be set at $50,000 and that my friend and I would also be arrested. They screamed and threatened him for 2 hours telling him "if you just confess you won't go to jail, you will just get counciling. No one throws nice guys like you in jail. It wasn't a bad fire, no one got hurt. You can either tell us you did it and go home tonight or continue to say you didn't and go down the hard way." Valerio felt helpless by this point and made up a story about having lit the fire which is totally different then what we later found out really happened to the house.

Now of course we have gone to court with this. I myself have testified 3 times, Grand Jury, Motion to suppress and the trial. The whole time being told if I don't change my "story" I could also be brought up on charges. The two police officers involved in the case repeatedly got on the stand and denied ever threatening us with DSS, they said they never denied us a lawyer, they said they never told Valerio he was going to jail that night if he didn't say he did it and they said they never promised him he would just get counciling.

Trial ended on June 18, 1999 and Valerio is in prison, found guilty and given a 3 to 5 year state prison sentence for a crime he had NOTHING to do with. I am left here rasing our two children alone with reacurring nightmares of the police saying they will take my children....ruin our lives. We did not set this fire, nor do we know who did. Since when is it a crime to move out of a mouse infested, insect infested house that did not have a working oven, did not have any working heaters, had red liquid leaking from the walls and the house was full of lead all with two small children living in it? The DA said Valerio did this out of revenge for the landlord because his family had to live in what he considered substandered conditions, but the landlord is the one who made out with a $100,000 check from this.

My heart breaks when I see and hear Valerio cry and when my children continue to ask when their daddy is coming home. Valerio is in prison for someone else's crime. He has always worked and we were both attending college at night trying to do right by our family. I die inside when my son, now 5yrs old asks where his daddy is and my daughter now 7yrs old holds me and tells me not to cry while the real person that commited this crime is still on the streets enjoying life.

All this injustice is so unfair. All we want is to go on with our lives and he should not be in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Up until now I thought our system was working but now I see otherwise when an innocent man is ripped away from his family for nothing and the real criminals in this case wear a badge.

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