Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Prisoner's Story Gives Prosecutor New Resolve

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Prisoner's Story Gives Prosecutor New Resolve

Article excerpt

Byline: Jim Schoettler, Times-Union staff writer

State prosecutor Angela Corey sat face to face this week with a man she helped send to prison for life two years ago and says she came away more determined than ever to investigate whether he was framed by the key witness -- a Jacksonville police officer now under federal indictment for murder, robbery and drug rip-offs.

Corey said yesterday her concerns about the March 5,1998, gunfight between Theodis Hagans and former Officer Aric Sinclair includes the veracity of an eyewitness' testimony against Hagans and that witness' relationship with Sinclair. Defense attorneys have said Hagans told them Sinclair was involved in drug trafficking and had a network of sellers in the same neighborhood.

Corey, working with two Jacksonville homicide detectives, said she also wants to know more about the police bulletin Sinclair said he relied on to pursue Hagans and call for backup. The bulletin, stating Hagans was wanted for questioning in a homicide and shooting, came from information provided by Sinclair. Hagans was not charged in either case.

"We're going to try to find out . . . where the information came from," Corey said. ". . . We're going to look into every aspect of the case."

Already among the issues before the meeting: Did Sinclair chase after Hagans because he was wanted for questioning in a murder or was Hagans chased because Sinclair thought Hagans ripped off a drug dealer working with the officer?

Sinclair, an undercover narcotics detective, was with acquaintances on the Eastside when he was told Hagans was at a nearby ball field. Sinclair, saying he knew Hagans was wanted for questioning in the homicide, went looking for Hagans and the two exchanged gunfire. Neither man was hurt and Hagans got away, only to be arrested six weeks later. …

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