- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2005

BALTIMORE — One of the illegal aliens on trial for the murder of his three young relatives may have lied to police about his whereabouts the day of the killings, according to testimony yesterday.

Bruce J. Levine, a systems engineer for Nextel Communications, said he traced the calls made with Policarpio Espinoza Perez’s cell phone and determined that the day of the murders the phone never received or transmitted calls from the Fells Point area of downtown Baltimore.

Mr. Perez, 23, told police that he and co-defendant Adan Canela, 18, went to Fells Point that day.

The cell phone trace, which Mr. Levine performed at the request of prosecutors, showed that Mr. Perez’s phone was operating in Northwest Baltimore, where the murders occurred, around the time the three children had their throats slashed and were killed in May 2004.

“A phone in this area would not access cell sites in Fells Point,” Mr. Levine said.

The state also began yesterday to present the DNA evidence that prosecutors say will prove the defendants are the “coldblooded killers.”

However, testimony by Baltimore Police Department DNA analyst Lynnett P. Redhead had just finished a basic explanation of DNA science when court adjourned early for the weekend.

The case against Mr. Perez and Mr. Canela is expected to hinge on DNA and other blood evidence linking them to the murders of Lucero Solis Quezada, 8; her brother, Ricardo Solis Quezada Jr., 9, and their 10-year-old cousin, Alexis Espejo Quezada.

Mr. Canela is the cousin of the victims. Mr. Perez is the uncle of the victims and Mr. Canela.

The men face life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. The children were beaten with an aluminum baseball bat and their throats slashed with a boning knife in their Northwest Baltimore apartment on May 27, 2004.

The defendants, the victims and their immediate families are illegal aliens from Mexico. Family members have received special visas for the trial, which could last until mid-August.

The victims’ families have defended their kin, and police have testified that family members had been “reluctant” to cooperate with investigators. The family members say they do not speak English, but prosecutors have presented witnesses who said some family members regularly communicated in English without difficulty.

Prosecutors have not offered a motive in the slayings.

The defense teams have offered several alternative explanations for the crime, including that Mr. Canela’s father, Victor Espinoza Perez, smuggled the family into the country and later had the children killed to “send a message” when he wasn’t paid for the illegal trip.

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