Patterico's Pontifications


Homeless Man turns in Alleged Cop Killer

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 6:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

There’s a homeless man in Miami who deserves a good citizenship award:

“While law enforcement officers searched central Broward for Michael Mazza, the man who police say gunned down 76-year-old detention deputy Paul Rein, Mazza was in Hollywood sitting in the passenger seat of a 1975 Chevrolet Caprice convertible.

Mark Spradley, a homeless man who picked up Mazza, said he thought he was being a good Samaritan. ”Boy, was I stunned when I found out that he was the cop killer they were searching for,” Spradley said in his attorney’s office Friday.
Spradley saw Mazza sitting on a bench in the Sheridan Plaza, on the corner of Dixie Highway and Sheridan Street. ”He looked like he was hurt and hadn’t eaten in a while,” Spradley said. Spradley, 49, said the man on the bench told him his name was Tony and he needed a ride.

”He said he wanted to get away, he had just found his girlfriend in bed with another man,” Spradley said. ‘I said `oh man, I’ve been there,’ and I gave him a hug.”

Ultimately Spradley realized who was in his car, and it sounds like it was a dramatic moment:

“The men spent over two hours together and during that time Mazza never acted nervous or agitated, Spradley said. ”He didn’t seem like anything was wrong,” Spradley said.

It was when Spradley pulled up to the Uptown Pawn Shop and Jewelry Store at 6020 Hollywood Boulevard that he learned exactly who his passenger was. ‘I went inside and there was a TV on and everyone was all excited, and I said `what’s going on’ and they said ”there’s a cop killer out there,” Spradley said.

“And then I saw the photo and I said “Call the police, call 911, he’s in my car.” Spradley said he told the clerk to call 911 several times, all the time yelling `he’s in my car, that man is in my car.'”

The short-term consequences for Spradley haven’t been that great but there’s hope in the longer-term:

“Dozens of law enforcement officers surrounded Spradley’s car within three minutes. ”And then they took my car,” Spradley said. “That car is my whole life.”

His attorney said he feels Spradley should receive the reward, or at least a substantial amount of it. They have not yet contacted Crimestoppers, which was offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Rein’s killer.
BSO told Spradley’s attorney, Glenn Rodderman, the Caprice could be picked up Friday afternoon. The car had been impounded so detectives could search it for evidence. (Authorities did put him up in a motel in the western part of the county, and bought him some clothes and food, Rodderman said.)”

It sounds like the police are good Samaritans, too.


12 Responses to “Homeless Man turns in Alleged Cop Killer”

  1. To let you know, the local news report I saw made a big deal about the reward (Crimestoppers may not give it to him because the call was to 911 and not to Crimestoppers, and if it does the pawn shop owner wants part of it) and nothing that I heard about him being homeless. They did mention that a national organization (whose name I forget, but it’s connected to the police) will be giving him $2500. The decisions by the Crimestoppers board will come next week, I think.
    The news report mentioned something about Spradley gave Mazza about twenty dollars for a meal and a prostitute during the two hours they were together. (I may have mixed up some details on that, because I was making supper while listening to the news. But I’m sure about what the purpose of the money was for.)

    This is the third fatal shooting of a police officer in South Florida in the last four months or so, and the fourth overall (another BSO deputy who left the hospital last week after surviving major head trauma) in that period.

    One major contributor to this murder was the BSO policy that allowed only one deputy to transport prisoners to/from court hearings. That is of course now under review. The old sheriff, btw, had to be resign about two months ago after reaching a plea deal with federal prosecutors on corruption charges. Life is never dull here.

    kishnevi (68aca9)

  2. So if Crimestoppers refused to give him the reward, could they be prosecuted for interfering in a police investigation or something similar? I mean, suppose I went up to you with a picture and said, “Hey, this guy is a fugitive. If you see him and call me I’ll give you 25,000, but if you call the police instead then I won’t give you any money.” Would that be legal? If so, would it still be legal if I was the man’s brother and I just intended to pay people not to call the police?

    Doc Rampage (ebfd7a)

  3. I say furnish a small apartment and pay a year’s rent for the man. Give him solid footing to maybe get get things back on track, because it looks like all he needs is that little extra push up and he’ll be ok.

    Guys like this are why I wish I was just obscenely rich…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  4. Local officials have modified their rule (delaying payment of a reward until there is a conviction) and awarded Mr. Spradley $2,500. In addition, at its next meeting CrimeStoppers will consider whether Spradley is eligible for its $25,000 reward.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  5. If CrimeStoppers doesn’t give him the reward then the people in charge of it must be completely insane.

    “Reward for helping the police catching this guy… but only if you call us if you see him! If you call the police you don’t get a reward k?”

    And then, on top, the guy is homeless…

    Where is there a nice $50 grand a year with full medical benefits Post Office job or something for this guy? He deserves it. The braindead younger brother of a local city official can get a cushy make-work job for the city or county government in this country, but a guy like Mark Spradley is living in his car.

    Of course, I don’t know anything about Mark Spradley other than what he did here, maybe he’s homeless because he’s a waste of life, but he doesn’t sound like it to me.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  6. No, really.

    There must be twenty lawyers who frequent these comments, not to mention the guy whose blog it is. Doesn’t anyone have an answer to the question about whether it is illegal to pay someone to call me instead of the police when they see a wanted fugitive?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    Doc Rampage (ebfd7a)

  7. Here you go Doc:

    (720 ILCS 5/31‑5) (from Ch. 38, par. 31‑5)
    Sec. 31‑5. Concealing or aiding a fugitive.
    Every person not standing in the relation of husband, wife, parent, child, brother or sister to the offender, who, with intent to prevent the apprehension of the offender, conceals his knowledge that an offense has been committed or harbors, aids or conceals the offender, commits a Class 4 felony.
    (Source: P. A. 77‑2638.)

    Illinois’s Criminal Code is modeled on the MPC so I imagine that most other states have similar provisions. What is determinative to your question is 1) intent to prevent the apprehension of the offender, and 2) harbors, aids or conceals the offender.

    nk (09a321)

  8. Thanks, nk. So if your actions have the predictable effect of bribing someone not to report a fugitive to the police but it was not your intention to help them escape capture, then you haven’t committed a crime? That seems a bit counter-intuitive.

    Doc Rampage (ebfd7a)

  9. Doc,

    I think it’s a practical and a technical issue with CrimeStoppers, although we’ll have to wait and see. Apparently CrimeStoppers has a technical rule that the Board must approve payment if the tip doesn’t come through the CS tipline, but they’ve already said it will be considered at this month’s Board meeting. In addition, the pawn shop owner who called 9/11 wants a share. CrimeStoppers may need additional time to investigate so the reward can be fairly paid.

    As for reporting it to the police, maybe I misunderstood your point but CrimeStoppers is a police organization so I think a report to it is a police report. It’s simply an anonymous report.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  10. Well, it’s a penal statute. The bar is much higher when legislating what constitutes a crime.

    If I were suing Crimestoppers on behalf of the good Samaritan and they asserted the “911 defense”, I would argue that that exemption to their contractual obligation is against public policy and the Court should not allow it. And this is often done in civil matters. Public policy is not expressed exclusively in the criminal laws.

    (You did say “illegal”.) 😉

    nk (09a321)

  11. Yeah, I meant “illegal”. I assumed that there was a potential law suit there (there always is) :-).

    Anway, I didn’t realize that CrimeStoppers was a police organization. I thought it was the TV show.

    Incidentally, I don’t see this guy as a good Samaritan. I see him as a guy who picked up someone in a park for unknown purposes and when he found out that the hitcher was a cop killer, he wanted to get the guy the hell out of his car. That’s typically called “caution”, not “heroism”.

    Doc Rampage (ebfd7a)

  12. People have lots of motives but at the end of the day, the question is did he turn the suspect in or not? He did, which basically puts him on the good guys’ side.

    DRJ (9578af)

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