Sept. 27--Prosecutors on Tuesday dropped a murder charge against a Miami-Dade man after a second handwriting expert concluded that the case's lead detective provided key evidence in the case that was forged.
David Superville, 49, who was accused of setting up the August 2001 slaying of a North Miami Beach man in an alleged love-triangle murder plot, is now a free man.
"I'm glad it's over. I just want to rebuild my life," Superville told reporters afterward.
A criminal investigation could now be launched into North Miami Beach Detective Ed Hill, who had already been under scrutiny after he began a romance with Superville's estranged wife right after the man's arrest in 2007. Superville's defense team alleged that Hill forged a Miranda rights waiver form, which is supposed to be signed by a suspect before he gives a formal statement to police.
The document reminds a suspect that he has the right to remain silent and seek representation by a lawyer. Superville denies signing the form, which Hill did not turn over as evidence until this month -- four years after the arrest.
"I hope there is some real serious consequences in this matter," Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jorge Cueto told prosecutors.
Superville had been set to go to trial this month. But Superville's defense team asked the judge to throw out the case because of police misconduct.
At a court hearing last week, a handwriting expert hired by the defense testified that he believed the Miranda form was a fake. On Tuesday, prosecutor Matthew Baldwin told the court, the state's own handwriting expert agreed -- a finding that "had a "direct and egregious impact on the case."
"The document was in fact a fraud," defense attorney Andrew Rier told reporters afterward.
Authorities are still seeking two other suspects, alleged mastermind Ivan Amaral, and the suspected triggerman, Denilson Santos. Both are believed to be in Brazil, beyond the reach of U.S. law.
Amaral, police believe, ordered Duarte's demise when he learned that the cell phone salesman had dated his former girlfriend.
According to authorities, Amaral paid his house painter, Superville, and another man at least $32,000 to follow Duarte for about six weeks, chronicling his every movement.
A few days after they reported his comings and goings, Santos shot Duarte with a long-barreled, .22 caliber pistol. Prosecutors believed Superville provided the getaway vehicle, the gun and a homemade silencer to Santos.
Copyright 2011 - The Miami Herald