Thursday, March 11, 2010
7 News Investigations: Body of Evidence
It's a mystery that has been playing out in Broward County courts for years now. Where is the body of a New York woman whose head was found along alligator alley? Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero has the story.
WSVN -- Lori Hatzakorzian was 40-years-old when she died. She was last seen outside her New York home in the company of these two men, Paul Trucchio and Robert Mackey. Both have been charged with her murder.
Det. Scott Champagne: "They were observed putting duffle bags in the back of her pickup truck and she vanished at that point."
BSO homicide detective Scott Champagne investigated the case. It became a murder mystery for South Florida when fisherman found her head floating in a canal along Alligator Alley.
Det. Scott Champagne: "It takes a certain kind of individual to dismember a human body."
It took months for detectives here to identify the New York woman. Mackey and Trucchio were arrested after they reportedly talked about the murder.
Det. Scott Champagne: "Everything steamrolled from there."
The trial however has been anything but smooth sailing.
Judge Ilona Holmes: "Remove him from this courtroom."
Robert Mackey: "I'm grabbing my papers. I'm coming, you don't have to pull me. This is absurd, this is absurd ma'am."
Both men have acted out in court.
Judge Ilona Holmes: "Hey Mr. Mackey."
Robert Mackey: "He's misquoting."
Judge Ilona Holmes: "Mr. Mackey what don't you understand? I think I speak pretty good English."
Robert Mackey: "I do. I apologize."
And Trucchio who is acting as his own attorney, recently refused to stand when the judge entered the courtroom.
Bailiff: "Get up."
Judge Ilona Holmes: "Send him back."
Judge Ilona Holmes kicked him out of court too all of which delays the case.
Carmel Cafiero: "There is no evidence Lori died here along Alligator Alley. Authorities suspect she was killed elsewhere and cut up with pieces of her body buried somewhere between here and New York."
And now one of the men is saying he shouldn't be on trial in Florida at all. Robert Mackey sent me copies of letters he wrote to a New York legal aid office in, which he claims "This murder is 100 percent impossible to have occurred outside of NY." Mackey says Trucchio did it. "I have proof in his writing" and he says he knows where her remains are located that "I can solve this matter."
Mackey wants New York to take the case and give him immunity. Then says he'll tell where to find the rest of Lori's body.
Mackey's attorney has argued this should be a New York case and that a head is not considered a body so there can be no murder case.
As you might expect, that has horrified the victim's family detective champagne would like nothing better than to return Lori's remains to them.
Detective Scott Champagne: "We have a victim. We have a young woman who was brutally murdered. She was dismembered. She was disposed of."
Meanwhile, Mackey maintains he is not a violent person.
Robert Mackey: "I said absolutely to acknowledge that I heard you OK? This is just absurd. I need please ma'am, please, please goddammit all of you goddammit."
There's another hearing in the case next week. No trial date has been set.