Danny Garcia, who is facing trial in the killing of Palm Springs retiree Clifford Lambert
, will be allowed to use a government-purchased laptop for his jailhouse defense
, a judge has decided. A City News Service
story on the decision reported that Garcia will not have Internet access.
That supposed lack of connectivity hasn't stopped other claimed victims of Garcia's fraudulent tendencies to express alarm that officials might be willing to let the computer-savvy defendant get near such a device.
"Now I'll have to change all my passwords," said San Francisco attorney Stuart Hanlon, who represents accused SF pedophile Thomas White and claims to have been framed by Garcia, and David Replogle, who was recently convicted of conspiring with Garcia to help murder Lambert. Garcia has "broken into my computer, and broken into lawyer-client e-mail on cases, and he's certainly broken into my client's financial accounts," Hanlon added.
According to Riverside County detectives and prosecutors, on Dec. 5,
2008 a group of San Francisco conspirators, allegedly led by Garcia and
27-year-old Nepalese immigrant Kaushal Niroula, stabbed the
74-year-old Lambert to death. They subsequently attempted a fraudulent
sale of his Palm Springs house, according to charging documents.
Garcia and Niroula, who are representing themselves, were awarded mistrials last September following complaints that the men hadn't been able to properly prepare for their defense. Riverside County has so far paid $135,000 to get Garcia help preparing his own defense, expenditures that include the new laptop.
Riverside County Courts weren't open on the Martin Luther King holiday, therefore officials couldn't explain how Garcia would be kept from using the Internet. However Hanlon, and former Garcia Friend, Tyson Wrench, said they were worried that Garcia might find a way to enable blocked access and cause electronic mischief. With the current cell-phone technology, it's possible for a Garcia accomplice using a service such as Verizon Mobile Hotspot to stand next to the jail and create WiFi connectability
accessible to inmates.
"If the jail disables his wireless access, it would take him 30
minutes to get back into it," said Wrench, who claims Garcia looted his bank accounts when they were friends several years ago. Garcia, for his part, denied Wrench's theft claims in a recent jailhouse phone interview with SF Weekly.
"He's brilliant with a computer," Wrensch added. "It's a scary thought for him to have access to the same device he used to help commit his crimes."
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