Prosecutor, Police At Odds After Judge Throws Out Murder Confession
Posted January 14, 2005
CARRBORO, N.C. — Typically, prosecutors and law enforcement officers do not criticize each other, but with a murder case now in jeopardy, a cordial relationship has gone sour.
The fingerpointing involves the Orange County district attorney and the Carrboro police chief. Lt. John Lau, of the Carrboro Police Department, manufactured a murder warrant and formal letter, threatening Andrew Dalzell with the death penalty if he did not take officers to Deborah Key's body. He even signed District Attorney Carl Fox's name to the letter.
Earlier in the week, a judge threw out the confession. Police Chief Carolyn Hutchison claims Fox knew about the plan and approved it. In the written statement, Hutchison said she never would have risked her own reputation or that of the department if she thought the plan crossed legal lines.
Fox, though, insists he was not in on the deal. He said while he gave Lau some official letterhead, he did not know how he planned to use it. In court last month, Lau seemed to support Fox with his testimony.
"I didn't tell him specifically what I was going to write on it," he said.
Lau went on to say he thought Fox understood what he was going to do with the stationery. On Friday, Fox sent Hutchison a copy of the court transcript of Lau's testimony.