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#567: Little Haiti murder trial set to begin (fwd)
Published Saturday, September 25, 1999, in the Miami Herald
Little Haiti murder trial set to begin____ by FRANCES ROBLES
Two murders that shocked Little Haiti nearly a decade ago will come
back to the forefront next week when an alleged hit man already serving
life in prison for another killing goes on trial, charged with the two
crimes. Billy Alexander, 29, is accused of the 1991 contract killings of
Haitian radio broadcasters Jean-Claude Olivier and Fritz Dor. Informants
describe the suspect as a drug dealer who cast vodou spells on young
followers in an attempt to keep them in line. The killings were the
first in a series of assassinations that plagued Little Haiti's
tight-knit radio community in the early '90s. Olivier was killed Feb.
18, 1991, as he left a Northeast Second Avenue club. Dor was shot
outside his office 25 days later -- with the same .38-caliber revolver.
``These murders had a big impact back then,'' said Roger Biamby,
administrator of Miami's Little Haiti Neighborhood Enhancement Team
office. ``Fritz Dor was a very, very popular Creole radio commentator.
People were shocked. At that time, there was a real reign of terror. The
mere fact that justice has not been done reduces the faith people have
in the justice system.'' At first, activists feared the men were killed
on orders coming directly from Haiti. Both were democracy advocates and
regularly spoke out against Haiti's military regime. But that theory
began to crumble when drug dealers and hired guns started squealing,
each telling prosecutors bits and pieces of a murder-for-hire scheme.
Miami Police believe members of a gang of hoods calling themselves the
Sabal Palm Boys were contract killers. Informants told police that
Alexander and a buddy named Hitler Fleurinord drove past the Club
Chateau on the night of the murder. Alexander, witnesses told police,
shot Olivier as he bent to unlock the door of his sports car.
Fleurinord is expected to be the star witness against Alexander, who was
not charged for nearly four years after the murders. There wasn't any
hurry: Alexander is already serving a life term for a bungled
home invasion robbery that left a man dead. The jury picked in the
death penalty case before Circuit Judge Ronald Dresnick won't know that.
``He's not guilty,'' said his attorney, Scott Sakin. ``Prosecutors
basically have three people -- three criminals -- who received deals to
point the finger at Billy. They have no physical evidence at all.''
Sakin said the witnesses' testimony will be weak. ``One will say, `I
was there.' One will say, `I was sort of there; I was sleeping,' and
another will say, `I heard about it,' '' Sakin said. ``I certainly
think there is reasonable doubt. Billy doesn't even know why he's
charged.'' Prosecutors Reid Rubin and John Kastrenakes declined to
comment on the case. Court records show police have a witness who
identified Alexander as the gunman in both Little Haiti slayings,
although the identifications came two years apart. The eyewitness, Moses
Durosier, told police that Alexander was paid $2,000 cash by a record
store owner to kill Olivier. The record store owner was allegedly angry
at the broadcasters for encouraging people to boycott a concert he had
sponsored. No one has ever been charged with ordering the hits. Other
radio broadcasters say they hope the community turns out for the trial.
A community presence, said broadcaster Florvil Samedi, will serve as a
reminder to police and prosecutors that the Little Haiti neighborhood
still wants the person behind the hits to be caught. ``I think they were
hoping everyone forgot about this,'' Samedi said. ``This case is
very important to our community. These guys died and left many kids
behind. The police and prosecutors took their time and thought we would
let it go.''