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VIPD Officials Not Commenting About Witness's Alleged Statement in New York Tourists Murder Case

Dec. 27, 2006 — Police officials are not commenting on a story published in Wednesday's edition of the Daily News, which alleges that a key witness in the June 2005 murders of two New York tourists has recanted his statement. According to the article, the witness, identified as Goshnel "Foma" Walters, has now denied seeing the crime and has also accused police of coercing his statement, which led to the arrests of St. Thomas brothers, Jahmal and Akil Hart.
The article, which local residents discussed at length over the radio airwaves on Wednesday, centers around a 30-page statement allegedly made by Walters regarding the murders of Tristan A. Charlier and Leon H. Roberts, two New York tourists shot to death in the early morning hours of June 15, 2005, near the Frenchtown Post Office.
According to the article, the "witness [Walters] claimed he did not see the murders" but was "forced" by police into saying that he did. Walters' statement was given to former Police Officer Joel Dowdye (charged with murdering ex-girlfriend Sherett James and wounding her companion Daryl "Bogle" Stevens) while the two were in prison, and then was recently released by Dowdye to the media.
According to a press release issued Wednesday, Police Commissioner Elton Lewis writes that the department "stands behind the integrity" of the "investigators" in the Major Crimes Unit. Lewis also said that he finds it "inappropriate" to comment on an ongoing investigation that has still not been heard in court.
The Police Department's press release defers all questions about the article and the investigation to the Office of the Attorney General. However, Attorney General Kerry Drue did not return several phone calls made by the Source to discuss the matter.
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