Prosecutor poses as accused killer's ex-girlfriend on Facebook, fired
An Ohio prosecutor believes that he must break two witnesses' alibis in a murder case. He goes on Facebook, pretends to be the accused's ex-girlfriend and tries to contact the witnesses. His bosses aren't impressed.
In order to get a conviction, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Except if what you gotta do is something that your boss in the County Prosecutor's Office thinks you don't gotta do at all.
This seems to be the lesson in the case of the Ohio County Prosecutor who felt that Facebook was the perfect place to get alibi witnesses in a murder trial to admit that, perhaps, their recollections might have been hazy.
As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, County Prosecutor Aaron Brockler plainly thought he was doing the right thing by posing as an accused killer's ex on Facebook.
He believed that he could engage two female witnesses in socially networked chats to glean the alleged truth.
This, however, led to him becoming the former county prosecutor. When his bosses discovered his ingenuity, they fired him.
Brockler, though, told the Plain Dealer: "Law enforcement, including prosecutors, have long engaged in the practice of using a ruse to obtain the truth."
The case revolved around the shooting of Kenneth "Blue" Adams at a car wash. The accused, Damon Dunn, gave the names of two women he said could substantiate his alibi.
So Brockler, using the alias of Dunn's fictitious ex-girlfriend, friended the women on Facebook.
"Unless I could break this guy's alibi, a murderer might be walking on the street. There was such a small window of opportunity, I had to act fast," he told the Plain Dealer.
His speed led him to open the fake Facebook account. Who could imagine that Facebook would allow that?
He claims the women went "crazy" on hearing from this fictitious ex-girlfriend. Well, she/he did tell them that she/he was the mother of Dunn's child.
He says that after he made Facebook contact, he even chatted to them -- as himself -- the following day.
Brockler insists that one of the women "said she wasn't at the beach with him and she wasn't going to lie for him. They both wanted the truth to be known."
When County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty got wind of Brockler's Facebook activities, he acted swiftly.
McGinty told the Plain Dealer that Brockler's Facebooking was "unethical" and had damaged the case. He added: "He disgraced this office and everyone who works here."
McGinty was, because of Brockler's actions, forced to give the case to the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
Brockler believes McGinty overreacted and that "I did what the Cleveland police detectives should have done before I got the file."
You, too, can hear Dick Wolf's writers already opening their laptops and typing a new "Law and Order" episode.
Many will debate whether Brockler's legal ends justified his Facebook means.
I remain fascinated that, if his story is true (and he is now a material witness in the case), how easy it seems to be to get someone to talk to you on Facebook.
Is it because people trust it more? Is it because that tinge of virtual reality puts people more at ease?
Or is it because there's a natural sense of flattery that someone new wants to be your friend?