Does a recent Long Island pharmacy robbery/homicide bear the handprints of the covert operators?
On Sunday of 6-19-11 shortly after 10am, a man walked into the Haven Pharmacy in the town of Medford on New York's Long Island, spoke briefly with the
pharmacist on duty, and then proceeded to fatally shoot the pharmacist, his assistant, and two customers. He allegedly filled a backpack with
thousands of hydrocodone tablets and some other narcotics before escaping.
The dead victims:
Pharmacist Raymond Ferguson, 45
Clerk Jennifer Mejia, 17
Jamie Taccetta, 33
Byron Sheffield, 71
Just two days later police arrested one David Laffer, 33, for murder and his wife Melinda, 29, for being the getaway driver. They live nearby.
The evidence seemed to be convincing. Laffer resembled the suspect caught on the surveillance videos, and a dozen tipsters recognized him. He left a
fingerprint at the crime scene. He owned a .45 cal handgun--the same caliber of weapon that killed the victims--and a test bullet from his weapon
matched the slugs found at the crime scene. A witness waiting in the parking lot ID'ed Laffer as being the person seen fleeing the scene afterwards.
And after being arrested the wife quickly broke down and confessed their crime. The motive was their pill popping habit and their desperation to feed
their addiction. Just another 'robbery gone bad.' An open-and-shut case, if you believe the cops.
Or is it?
The tipsters who thought they recognized Laffer from the video remain anonymous. In my opinion the resemblance is not at all certain. It may be him
or it may not be him. In the photos, the suspect is bearded and Laffer is not, so cops said he put on a 'fake' beard. Yet no fake beard was
recovered during a search of the couple's home.
Nor is there any trace of the 10,000+ pills allegedly stolen from the pharmacy.
Investigators based their ballistics match using a bullet fired from Laffer's gun back in 1999, when he registered it with the local police
department. But of course after 12 years of use the ballistics changes on the firing pin, the ejector pin, and the barrel due to wear. There is no
evidence that a more recently fired test round matches the slugs pulled from the dead victims.
The incriminating fingerprint was found on a piece of paper found near one of the dead victims. Yet Laffer admittedly had been a customer at the
pharmacy previously, and could have left the print at that time. And his wife said she gave him one of her painkiller prescriptions to 'aid' in the
robbery. Was the fingerprint found on this prescription dropped at the scene? And if the couple had a legitimate prescription for hydrocodone, why
would they resort to robbery to get their fix? Neither has so far been charged with forging a prescription. Is it not possible Laffer was merely a
customer who was there to get his script filled, and fled the scene when he saw all the dead bodies laying on the floor, dropping the prescription on
the way out? That would also account for the witness in the parking lot who said he recognized the suspect leaving the pharmacy.
The 'confession' of the wife is also suspect.
" "He did it. He did all of this," Brady told reporters. She seemed addled and disheveled... "
Who is 'he?' What is 'all of this?' When the wife made those statements, did she even realize they were being charged with murder? As both husband
and wife were experienced pill-and-doctor shoppers, she may have initially thought they were in trouble merely for getting bogus scripts filled.
And even if she was talking about her husband, it probably would have been no big deal for the detectives to get her to say anything they wanted her
to say, after working her over for several hours. She was described by friends as having a personality that was "eager to please
." What she
told the cops, what she said in front of reporters, and what she is going to say in front of the jury are three different things.
If you read the court documents, she only talks about an unnamed accomplice, and does not use the term 'husband' or the name 'David.' Read the court
The felony complaint charging Brady with third-degree robbery does not identify
Also, a detective claimed the surveillance video shows the shooter wiping down the surfaces with which he came into contact. As there has been no
mention of seven expended shell casings(a total of seven rounds were fired) recovered from the scene, it raises the possibility that the shooter took
the time to recover them. Yet neither of these actions--wiping up any stray fingerprints and picking up your brass--fits the profile of a 'panicky
junkie.' More like a professional hit man.
Laffer's background is interesting. He was in US Army Intelligence
for eight years from 1994 to 2002.
Laffer graduated Patchogue-Medford High School in 1995. Records indicate he was stationed at Fort Huachuca in southeast Arizona, home of the U.S. Army
Intelligence Center where he was reportedly an intelligence analyst prior to returning to Long Island.
Police claimed they recovered 'numerous' other weapons in the search of his house, though they did not go into detail. A friend who visited
previously says he noticed ammunition and hand grenades at the home. Hand Grenades? Where do you get that kind of gear?
And according to one nieghbor, Laffer had an unusual interest in a certain federal agency:
"He always talked about the FBI
," Ayala said.
For what it's worth, both Laffer and his wife were 'missing in action' in the weeks prior to the robbery/homicide:
Trish Bohlert, a next-door neighbor, .... said she was shocked by the arrest and would never have thought that Laffer, who she had not seen in
about a week
, could commit such a crime.
Melinda had been hospitalized in recent weeks
and was described as "out of it" by a neighbor.
If there is one constant to the covert op, it is the political changes that come in the aftermath, and they have not been long in coming:
NY bill aims to stem prescription drug trafficking
NEW YORK -- Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced legislation Tuesday that would create a database
for doctors and pharmacists to
report and monitor
each time a prescription for a controlled substance is issued or dispensed. .... According to the National Alliance for
Model State Drug Laws, originally created as a presidential commission
, 48 states had enacted some form of prescription drug monitoring
The attorney general's office said the state database could become a model for other jurisdictions and complement federal efforts
Problem, reaction, and now the solution. How often have we seen this pattern played out?
edit on 26-6-2011 by starviego because: (no reason given)