The defense in the murder trial of the man accused in the 1985 shooting death of Police Officer Thomas Trench raised the possibility yesterday that the execution-style slaying was carried out in retaliation for the deadly MOVE bombing two weeks earlier.
Resting their case, Wilfredo Santiago's lawyers introduced into evidence the transcripts of four phone calls to police hours after Trench's killing on May 28, 1985, linking it to the MOVE incident.
"Y'all killed 11 of our people and we got one of yours," one anonymous caller said.
The defense also introduced photographs from an investigation into a warning that "one cop will be killed" for each MOVE victim. Those words had been scrawled in a City Hall men's room stall and discovered the same day.
Eleven people died in the MOVE compound in West Philadelphia on May 13, 1985, when a bomb dropped by a police helicopter brought a standoff with the group to a fiery end.
In Santiago's retrial, prosecutors alleged that he had a personal grudge with a Hispanic police officer in his neighborhood and killed Trench in a case of mistaken identity. There is no physical evidence linking Santiago to the slaying.
Eugene Dooley, chief of police in East Whiteland Township and head of Philadelphia's homicide unit in 1985, testified as a prosecution rebuttal witness that investigators ruled out a MOVE link in Trench's killing. Dooley could not say how police reached that determination.
Common Pleas Court Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes told jurors yesterday that she expected to give them the case Monday after closing arguments from both sides.