Monday, May 18, 2009

The Imette St. Guillen Trial

Remember Imette St. Guillen?  

Her murder hit very close to home for me.  

She was enjoying a night out in New York City with her best friend and was found dead the following day. 

New York City is my home.  I believe it to be fairly safe when bar hopping with friends on warm summer nights.  But it wasn’t summer this night, it was a cold February night and Imette ended up alone and at the mercy of a monster.

I have always wondered why Imette stayed out alone.  She was really smart, well versed and was about to get her Master’s Degree in criminal justice.

So what made her stay out alone until 4:00am that cold winter night?  What made her drink until her alcohol level was at .17 – twice the legal limit?

It took 3 years for this case to come to trial.  Finally it has begun and Imette will get her justice.

On February 25 2006, Imette had just returned from vacationing in Florida and met her best friend at the Pioneer bar in lower Manhattan for some drinks, by 3:30am, Imette’s friend was tired and decided to head home, but Imette insisted she wanted to stay out a bit longer.  Her friend checked up on Imette 30 minutes later and during their last conversation, Imette said she had gone to another bar and would be home later.

She eventually walked into The Falls bar and her fate was sealed, or could it have been avoided?

It was 15 minutes before their 4am closing time at the Falls bar, according to workers, the bar was empty.  Why didn’t they refuse her drink order and send her home?

The bartender’s testimony is that Imette walked over and sat at the bar and ordered two rum and diet cokes, she served her and then walked away.  The manager, Danny Dorrian, states he noticed she was drunk and wanted her to leave.  He then forced her to leave by asking his bouncers to walk her out. It wasn’t until 18 hours later that an anonymous call came in to the police department from a payphone in Queens alerting them to Imette’s body.

She had been violently raped, brutally tortured, her long dark hair was cut off, masking tape was wrapped around her head and a sock was stuffed in her mouth, her body was found in the weeds along the Belt Parkway.  The Belt Parkway is a road I often take and at times while I am driving I look over at it and my heart sinks, because as a child my father would take us there to watch my uncle fish and now the memory is tainted by the image of Imette’s body lying there cold, alone and dead.

Darryl Littlejohn, one of the bouncers on staff that night at the Falls bar is on trial for the murder of 24 year old Imette St. Guillen.

He claims he is being framed by the bar owner and his family.  

The Dorrian’s are the owners of another bar linked to an infamous crime.   The Red Hand is the bar in which the “preppie killer” picked up and later murdered Jessica Levin in 1986.  The Dorrian’s also have connections to the former mayor of NYC and are rumored to be very well connected to other influential people in NYC.

He claims the Dorrian family is framing him to spare the family the shame and scandal of having one of their own be named a murderer and further ruining their family business.

Danny Dorrian claimed that due to his family’s history with the Levin murder, he was at first reluctant to give Law Enforcement information at the very start of the investigation into Imette’s murder.  He felt he could just say he never saw her and spare the family any bad publicity; he just didn’t want to get involved. 

Initially he told police very little about what happened that night.  But a week after the murder the police confronted him about his bouncer’s criminal record and only then did Danny Dorrian admit to police that Imette seemed drunk and he ordered her to leave the bar and told Littlejohn to escort her out.  It is illegal and super irresponsible for a bar to employ an ex-convict to conduct security.  At the time Littlejohn was out on parole after serving 12 years in prison for drug possession and robbery.  He was in violation of his parole by being employed at a bar as well as violating his curfew.  A simple background check would have alerted the Dorrian family to these facts.

Littlejohn’s defense attorney is a woman and it amazed me to hear her say that Imette was out on the town looking to get some “action” and “hook up” and maybe even with Danny Dorrian.  She alluded to an affair between Danny and Imette and even wanted to make it appear that Imette was out looking for it.  There is absolutely no evidence to support her stupid theory and she should be ashamed of herself.

But but but..before you even start to think that Littlejohn could have been framed, let us examine his history and the evidence.

Littlejohn had a fake police badge.  How did he get this badge?

Well it seems there was this school in NYC where you could take a 3 day course in bounty hunting and then at the end of this course receive a badge, official handcuffs and other identification that resembles that of a NYPD officer.  The school took in hundreds of students and after being investigated was shut down for giving 73 ex-convicts these copy cat I.D.s.  

Littlejohn was known to often impersonate an officer and is currently serving a 25 year to life sentence for the kidnapping of another woman.  In that case he was dressed as a police officer and using his fake badge from his bounty hunting course, he instructed the woman to show him her I.D.; he then put hand cuffs on her and forced her into his van.  She screamed and fought back and eventually jumped out of the vehicle as it was moving.  The van was later shown on television in connection with the Imette St. Guillen murder, she instantly recognized the van and Litteljohn.   

The evidence (so far):

Cell phone Pings: 

Terence Li, a T-Mobile engineer, testified in Brooklyn Supreme Court that Darryl Litlejohn made a series of phone calls between 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the area in East New York where St. Guillen's body was eventually found on February 25, 2006 -- a day after St. Guillen disappeared from a SoHo bar. 

Li said Littlejohn can be placed at the location where St. Guillen's body was found because of a call he made at 7:31 p.m.  Records show that the call Littlejohn made bounced off one of the cell phone towers near the area where St. Guillen's body was found.  (NYPOST)

The Ex-Girl:

His ex-girlfriend also testified that Littlejohn called her and instructed her to lie to police and tell them that he had driven her car on the night of the murder to visit his sick mother in a retirement home.  His alibi fell apart when his ex decided to tell the truth and testify against him.

The Witnesses:

The bartender that served Imette that night said that Imette wandered into the empty bar about 15 minutes before the 4:00am closing time, she sat down and order two rum and cokes.  She later remembers Danny Dorrian telling her “This girl is crazy, she doesn’t want to leave the bar”.

Another witness says he saw Littlejohn sitting next to Imette chatting with her and heard them discussing what race she was and then Littlejohn and another bouncer walked Imette out of The Falls bar, the other bouncer returned, but Littlejohn and Imette did not.

The Dirtiest Quilt in the World and DNA:

Tests confirmed that semen (DNA) on the coverlet wrapped around Imette’s body matches the brother of her suspected killer.  Littlejohn’s brother died in 1994, long before St. Guillen's death, but the DNA match adds to a growing pile of evidence against Littlejohn.   Also found on the quilt was pubic hair and DNA from Littlejohn’s late mother.   

Carpet fiber and rabbit and mink hair on the 24-year-old grad student's body was consistent with carpet fiber at Littlejohn's home and two coats hanging in his mother's closet.  (Daily News)

The Violent Family History: 

Littlejohn’s brother died of an asthma attack in 1994 while being arrested for the rape and murder of a young mother, he also killed the woman’s husband.  He tied and torture the woman in the same way Littlejohn tied and torture Imette.

I will continue to update as the trial moves along.