Well, well. Pinellas County Judge George Jirotka and his cronies are already making excuses for their actions and passing the proverbial buck. And the body of this murdered mother is scarcely even cold yet.
Do we have some serious reading comprehension deficits? Do we need remedial education? Or is it just the usual corruption and incompetence?
Craig was a "suspect" in the "suspicious death" of his 5-month-old son. Given that he was the only adult present when the baby died from a brain injury commonly associated with being shaken or thrown, it sure seems like a very strong possibility that Daddy had some connection to the death, don't you think? Especially given that he has a violent criminal record?
Dad even admitted on videotape that "he's sorry that he did something to the baby." Isn't that pretty much of a confession? But Wall wasn't arrested! Why not? Here's what the police claim: there wasn't "enough evidence" to charge Wall. And they hadn't yet determined that the baby's death was a homicide.
This baby died of a fatal brain injury and had broken ribs. How do you think a 5-month-old infant could sustain such injuries? In an "accident?" He was downhill skiing? Crashed a motorcycle? He couldn't even walk yet! Of course "somebody" inflicted these injuries upon him. And we all know who that person was, apart from all the innocent till proven guilty rhetoric.
The mother then takes out a temporary restraining order, which Dad violates almost immediately. In her petition, the mother stated that Wall had threatened her life. Yes, she did say that. Check the paperwork.
The arrest affidavit for violating the RO said the father was to be held WITHOUT BAIL because the father was a "suspect" in the baby's death.
Oh, but we're told that Judge Jirotka didn't see the arrest affidavit. Why the hell not? Are you people idiots? Or is this just a cover-up for craven indifference?
So Judge Jirotka let the father out for a measly $1,000 bond. And then a young mother is murdered.
All the court spokesman can say is that it's "a very tragic thing." No, it's not "tragic," it's an outrage. Then the spokesman has the damn nerve to actually say that "I don't think anybody did anything wrong."
Oh no. Somebody did do "wrong." This was a completely preventable screw-up (at best) or deliberate backscratching deal (at worse) that lead to the vicious stabbing murder of a young mother who still had one surviving child.
This is the problems with the courts. If a loved one is admitted into the hospital and given the wrong medication or 10 times the prescribed dose and dies, all because somebody failed to read the read the instructions properly, somebody is liable.
But not the courts of Florida. They don't read their instruction properly or do the required followups, and we're smugly informed that nobody is at fault. They just wring their hands and moan something about a "tragedy." Sick and deadly nonsense.
By STEPHEN THOMPSON and NEIL JOHNSON
Published: February 18, 2010
CLEARWATER - Laura Taft said her boyfriend threatened to kill her if she ever left him.
On Wednesday, with Taft still mourning the suspicious death of her 5-week-old son, Craig Wall made good on those threats, police say.
Wall, a 34-year-old ex-convict and father of the dead boy, was charged with first-degree murder in Taft's stabbing death. The slaying and arrest, authorities say, came just days after Wall was released from jail for violating a temporary domestic violence injunction filed by Taft.
The arrest affidavit requested that he be held without bail because he was suspected in the death of Craig Wall Jr.
A judge set bail at $1,000, and Wall was released.
Two days later, Taft, 29, was dead.
Courts spokesman Ron Stuart said it is unlikely Pinellas Circuit Judge George Jirotka had a copy of the arrest affidavit before setting bail.
Stuart said the charge against Wall, that he violated a temporary restraining order, was a misdemeanor. At a hearing after Wall's arrest, an assistant state attorney asked for bail of $2,500 and Wall's public defender asked for $500. Jirotka went with $1,000, Stuart said.
"This is a very tragic thing, but I don't think anybody did anything wrong," Stuart said.
Wall first came to the attention of authorities Feb. 5 when he emerged as a suspect in the death of his son within hours of the infant being flown by helicopter to All Children's Hospital.
He was the only adult with the child on that day, and a CT scan showed the baby had swelling on the left side of his brain, leading a doctor at the hospital to suspect the child had been shaken or thrown, court documents state.
Wall was videotaped saying he "was sorry that he did something to the baby," the documents state.
He was not arrested.
Taft showed the videotape to a Clearwater police officer. On Feb. 8, two days after the infant was taken off life support, Taft was granted the injunction against Wall.
Wall filed a petition of his own because he wanted to attend his son's funeral Sunday at St. Dunstan's Anglican Church in Largo. His petition was denied. Wall drove to the church parking lot and was arrested.
Clearwater police said Wednesday that they don't have enough evidence to decide whether to charge Wall in his son's death.
Elizabeth Watts, the city's public safety spokeswoman, said it would have been premature to arrest him because the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office has not determined how the boy died.
"That's why it's not a homicide," Watts said. "That's why it's called a death investigation."
A preliminary examination showed trauma to the brain and fractured ribs, but the results of forensics tests on the child's brain and eyes are not in, court documents state. Watts said investigators don't expect them for a couple of weeks.
In her petition for a temporary restraining order, Taft mentioned that something happened to her infant son while he was in Wall's care.
In 1994, Wall was sentenced to 17 years in prison after he burst into a St. Petersburg home with a long-barreled handgun and told an elderly couple he wanted the keys to a Ford Taurus parked outside, court documents state.
He was released two years ago after serving 14 years. On Wednesday, he was arrested in Sumter County after being found on State Road 44 in his vehicle.