Now in Legal Rebels:
Posted Apr 22, 2011 05:07 pm CDT
It’s standard practice in Los Angeles for authorities to take photographs of the bare chests of suspected gang members when they are arrested for relatively minor offenses.
Records of their tattoos may be useful identification tools in subsequent crimes. And, for those who spray graffiti around the city, it’s not unusual for a tagger to mark his own body with one of the same images he paints on buildings.
But the tattoo that homicide investigator Kevin Lloyd of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department spotted one day in a photograph of Anthony Garcia went way beyond that. Under the heading Rivera Kills, a reference to Garcia’s Pico Rivera gang affiliation, the inked design appeared to map out a liquor store murder scene, including details that only someone who was there was likely to know, according to the Los Angeles Times.
And not just any murder scene—Lloyd’s attention was caught, after he glanced at the photo in passing, because the tattoo appeared to map out a homicide that he had personally investigated that had become a cold case.
After Garcia’s arrest, a detective posing as a gang member arrested for attempted murder was put in Garcia’s cell. Prompted by the detective, he soon admitted the liquor store shooting and a tape of what he said was played at his first-degree murder trial, the newspaper recounts.
Authorities in LA say they have never heard of another suspect being identified due to a crime-confessing tattoo.
“Think about it. He tattooed his confession on his chest. You have a degree of fate with this,” said Capt. Mike Parker. “The detective who spotted it had been a Pico sergeant who went on to become a homicide sergeant. I never worked Pico station. I never would have recognized that Pico liquor store.”
Hat tip: New York Post.