Friday, January 18, 2013

OUTRAGE: Murder Suspect's Attorney Hides Location of Victim's Body for Months Without Disclosing to Investigators

I am outraged that the defense attorney in the Yashanee Vaughn murder case knew where her body was for MONTHS and refused to disclose that to authorities. 

It was the last thing said in court Thursday as Parrish Bennette, the murderer, was given a plea bargained lesser sentence of eleven 18 years for shooting the 14 year old Yashanee and burying her body at Rocky Butte.

In a move that reminded me of an 'oh-and-one-more-thing' moment from the old Colombo television show, defense attorney Thomas Mac Nair stood and said,

"Just one thing judge. In April of 2011 when Mr. Bennette was arrested, his lawyers we were appointed to this case. A decision was made as to whether to reveal the location of the victim's remains then or to delay revealing the location of the victim's remains. A decision was made to delay that and that was made by his lawyers, not by him."

At this point, Yashanee's family members, who moments before had given their victim's statements, could be heard gasping and muttering at this revelation. The judge had to shush the crowd but a woman's quiet weeping remained in the background as the attorney continued, 

"That decision was made in accordance with our sworn duty to zealously represent and defend Mr. Bennette. We want the family to understand that it was not Mr. Bennette's decision and we would ask them to accept our sympathy...and our regret...

A voice from the crowd yelled,   Yashanee's mother, Shaquita Louis blurted out,

"We ain't got no sympathy!"

The crowd in the courtroom gets restless at this point, the sounds of rustlings in their seats is heard as if physically trying to hold in their screams.

"...for the additional pain that the family had to endure because of that decision."

At this point Mac Nair crossed his arms over his chest, 

"We have discussed with Mr Bennette his right to make a statement at this time but on advice of counsel he wishes to remain silent. That's all we have."
The news came as a shock to family members, one of whom said,
"They let her lay in the dirt and decompose for four months and knew where she was? Where's the justice for that? That's sick."
I agree. 

Their family spokeswoman was on the program with me moments after it happened. Listen to this exchange here at about minute 52:00.

Will the attorney Thomas Mac Nair be sanctioned for impeding a murder investigation or is hiding a body 'privileged' information?

Watch this KOIN Local 6 report stating the prosecutors want the attorneys on the defense team disbarred.

KOIN also reports that the Metropolitan Public Defenders Office says the attorneys did exactly what they supposed to do and it was legal to withhold the location of the body.

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