- The Washington Times - Friday, July 8, 2005

Opening arguments were heard yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court in the murder trial of Adan Canela, 18, who worked in a slaughterhouse, and Policarpio Espinoza Perez, 23, who are accused of murdering three young relatives last year — one of them beheaded, the other two nearly decapitated in their Northwest Baltimore apartment on May 27, 2004. During the trial of the “Baltimore butchers,” we can expect most of the national and local news media to focus inevitably on the horrific nature of the crime: the brutal slayings of a 10-year-old and two 9-year-old children. But we doubt that the mainstream media will have any appetite for looking at other important aspects of the story.

First, the fact that the alleged perpetrators and the victims were all Mexicans who were in this country illegally. Second, the role that the illegal-alien-friendly policies of Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, who is expected to run for governor, have played in making these tragedies more likely to recur.

Initially, police indicated that the motive appeared to be the failure of the children’s parents to pay off “coyotes” for smuggling them into the country. Now, however, prosecutors say they have no motive for the slayings. This could create a problem in getting a conviction, as defense attorneys have said they will offer alternative theories about who committed the crime in an effort to create a reasonable doubt in at least one juror’s mind.

Relatives of the murdered children (illegal aliens themselves who have been granted special visas permitting them to remain here legally during the trial) have refused to cooperate with prosecutors. Mimi Quezada, the mother of two of the victims, says she does not believe that the accused are guilty. An Internet site catering to Mexicans in this country claims that killings were “hate crimes” and asserts that Baltimore police railroaded Mr. Canela and Mr. Perez because of their nationality.

The assertion that city police have “railroaded” illegal aliens is simply ludicrous, given how aggressive Mr. O’Malley, who appoints the police chief, has been in trying to attract immigrants — legal and illegal alike— to live in Baltimore. In November, he staged something called a “City Immigration Summit,” where he spoke at length about the virtues of bringing immigrants to Baltimore without making the essential distinction between legal and illegal ones. Like his rival for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, Mr. O’Malley has openly disparaged and lobbied against the CLEAR Act — proposed federal legislation that would improve coordination between federal and state law-enforcement-agencies in enforcing immigration laws.

As the murder trial continues, Marylanders need to understand the role that politicians like Mr. O’Malley and Mr. Duncan play in making it more likely that others like Mr. Canela and Mr. Perez, who violated federal law, will find Maryland an attractive place to call home.

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