25-year-old tape’s revelation prompts prosecutors to offer mid-trial plea deal
By Martha Neil
Feb 19, 2013, 04:01 pm CDT
An audio tape that apparently came to light on Sunday has led to dramatic developments in the retrial of a man facing a potential death sentence if he is convicted of murdering a Miami police officer in 1988.
Dennis Escobar had already been found guilty in 1991 by a Florida jury of the capital murder of officer Victor Estefan and sentenced to death. But in 1997, the state's top court reversed his conviction saying he and his brother should have been tried separately.
Now, as the 52-year-old Escobar is in the midst of a second capital murder trial, a 25-year-old audio tape has surfaced that casts doubt on a detective's claim that he voluntarily confessed to the crime, the Miami Herald reports. Instead, the unlabeled cassette tape seems to show that Escobar asked to talk to his lawyer at the outset of their conversation.
Confronted with the unmarked tape, which the prosecution turned over to the defense Monday before informing the judge in the case Tuesday, the prosecution has offered a plea deal, in which Escobar would get life if he admits guilt, the newspaper recounts. Escobar and his lawyer will decide by Wednesday whether to accept or seek to have his confession thrown out.
An earlier Miami Herald article provides additional details about the case.