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Defense Grills Former Detective For Second Day

By Maria Garcia
Published On: Sep 09 2011 12:40:19 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 10 2011 02:57:42 AM CDT
EL PASO, Texas -

After nearly nine hours of questioning Al Marquez, defense attorney Joe Spencer told the former detective to read case documents and come back ready to testify when he has more knowledge of the investigation Marquez led about 18 years ago.

During the hours of intense questioning, Marquez, repeatedly answered questions by saying he didn't remember critical details of the case.

Marquez was the lead detective in the deadly shootings of Armando Lazo and Robert England in Northeast El Paso in the Spring of 1993. The former El Paso Police Homicide Detective police homicide detective interrogated then-16-year-old Daniel Villegas, without his parents or an attorney present. Villegas confessed to killing the two teens.

On Thursday, Spencer, for about seven hours, meticulously went through evidence in an effort to prove Marquez did not follow other substantial leads in the case and coerced Villegas' confession.

During questioning on Friday, Spencer asked Marquez to read a document from the case and handed him the papers. "Let me help you refresh your memory," said Spencer. "You're throwing it (document) at me, I don't know what you want me to look at," said Marquez. "Oh, I'm sorry I didn't mean to intimidate you," Spencer told Marquez. "Oh, I'm not intimidated by you at all, you don't intimidate me at all," responded Marquez. "What you say," asked Spencer, in a louder voice. "You don't intimidate me at all," said Marquez. "Oh, okay, I never thought I did, Detective," shouted Spencer.

Judge Sam Medrano then called Spencer and the prosecution to the bench.

Spencer, two days before, had said Marquez was "intimidating and bullying" his client, when Marquez stood close to Villegas before testifying for the first time.

At another point in the questioning, Spencer asked Marquez: "based Marquez, "Based on everything I've asked you today and yesterday, you don't believe you made any mistakes?"

"The only way I can answer that question, is that every investigation is not perfect. But what was done, was done correctly," said Marquez.

"You didn't answer my question," continued Spencer. "I, personally, no, sir, I don't believe I did," answered Marquez.

Villegas' mother, on Friday, said her son had been moved from the general jail population to a cell by himself the day before. She said jail officials had told her they did that to protect him because of the high profile nature of his case. She said Villegas had told her there was no running water in the cell and it was dirty. "He thinks they're punishing him," said Villegas' mother.

Following Marquez's testimony, the defense called Dr. Richard Leo to the stand. He is an expert on social psychology and criminology who focuses his research on police interrogations and false confessions.

Leo, a sought-after expert, has sat in on more than a hundred police interrogations, studied hundreds of recorded interrogations, and wrote his dissertation on the history and findings of interrogations, he said on the stand.

He testified and studied on the Norfolk four, a case in which many say four sailors all falsely confessed to a homicide.

Three of the Norfolk Four have received gubernatorial conditional pardons.

Leo testified about the criteria of a coerced confession. In an interview, Leo later said Villegas' case is disturbing and has the characteristics of a false confession. "He was threatened with a number of things, homosexual rape in prison, the death penalty with some explicit threats about how he would be fried, and what would happen, that the detective would get him. He was also physically roughed up, he was slapped, he couldn't take that pressure," said Leo about Villegas' account of Marquez's interrogation.

Leo is requested to testify in hundreds of cases, and only accepts 15 percent of them.

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