Revealing emails between a former Desert Hot Springs Police Chief and the District Attorney’s office show just how many cases were affected by tainted evidence.
NewsChannel3 continues its exclusive look of the FBI investigation of the DA’s office andDHS police.
Former Desert Hot Springs Police Officer Matt Denney was confronted in 2004 with allegations that he tried to pass off his own supply of meth as drug evidence and had a handgun with no serial number for three years.NewsChannel 3 looks intowhat did Police Chief Roy Hill and the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office know about it
An email from Roy Hill to Asssitant District Attorney Sue Steding dated February 20, 2004 states: “16 or 18 cases were involved in the mismanagement of evidence.”
The list of the affected defendants and case numbers according to the Distict Attorney’s office are:
Cesar Joseph Garcia, INF045553
Jesus Magana, INM118520
William George Cowan, INM142159
Randy Michael Burke, INF045336
Jon Martin Michel, INF043690
Richard Robert Alger, INF044808
Christopher Wilhelm Hedrich, INF045718
Robert Alan Wray, INF045718
Michael Joseph Davis, INM138989
Danilo Robert Flores, INM138988
Steding wrote back to Hill stating “I will notify the defense counsel on those cases that are closed so the defendants can make whatever motion is needed.”
We’ve been unable to verify the defendents were ever notified because the attorney for most of them,the Riverside County Public Defender has not returnedNewsChannel 3’scalls.
Even through there are documents showing the police locker room had missing and mishandled evidence. Roy Hill’s emails try to downplay the problem
One email from March 8th, 2004 states:
“It sounds like a ‘Whose on First’ situation with the professional handling of evidence,” which is an allusion to the 1930’s comedy routine of Laurel and Hardy.
Roy Hill’s attorney, Greg Wedner,would not return our calls for comment. In a previous interview, Hill says he clashed with the District Attorney’s office over the Jacques Million case. He was the police officer caught on video tape french-kissing a 14 year old girl according to the chief. No charges were ever brought against Million by the DA’s office.
Hill said,”I think it was very good evidence, thatI had hoped the District Attorney’s office would move forward with. I had requested Sergeant Gil, take it to theDA, which he did.
We ask, “Were you frustrated with the district attorney’s office?”
“YesI was… Iwas,” replied Hill.
Officer Matt Denney was not fired after the internal affairs investigation against him. He was allowed to retire with benefits in 2004.
We will stay on top of theFBI investigation into the DA’s office andDHS police and bring you more as we uncover it.