The Case Breakers

A private cold case team claimed today that it has identified the notorious Zodiac Killer, who terrorized Northern California in the late 1960s and taunted authorities with cryptic notes. Investigators with the Case Breakers — led by former FBI agents and retired law enforcement officials — identified the infamous killer as Gary Francis Poste, who died in 2018.

The FBI and the Riverside, CA, PD aren’t having any of it. You know, “open investigation” and “DNA evidence, what DNA evidence?!” and all.

But take a look at The Case Breakers:,

The Case Breakers are a 40+ member national task force of crack investigators — from working millennials to retired octogenarians — with law enforcement, military, forensic, academic, legal and investigative skill sets. The mission: to use their combined 1500 years of experience and the latest technology to reverse-engineer some of the most stubborn crime mysteries, one dead end at a time.

But they don’t just close cases. When quietly deployed, the unpaid role models take the time to do it the old-fashioned way: with personal follow-ups, returned calls, crime anniversary door-knocks, stakeouts, security shifts, document searches, witness hunts and tracking court proceedings — for both justice and to correct injustice.

I prepared and mailed materials for Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald and Attorney General Dana Nessel this past January,, which was largely ignored. Let’s face it, really totally ignored. Since that time a lot of additional work has been done to drill down on the source of corruption in this case and the child sex/porn ring that operated in parallel with the OCCK crimes in Oakland and Wayne counties. People without police powers collectively have many thousands of hours of heavy lifting in this case and part of this work involves getting the searchable document repository up and running. Assuming they all agree, contacting this group seems like a logical next step.

I realize The Case Breakers like “quiet deployment,” but it certainly seems we are way past that point in this case. There is a lot to be considered, but what we have is certainly more cogent and more organized that what the Michigan State Police Task Force has scattered in their paper files. It could cut the work required to get up to speed in this case by more than half. In fact, it could bring things into stark focus.

The Justice Department now reviewing the decision not to prosecute two FBI agents for their fails in the Nasser investigation

New information has apparently come to light in the Department of Justice investigation into the FBI’s bungling of the Larry Nasser investigation and it is reevaluating its decision not to prosecute two FBI agents, Michael Langeman and Jay Abbott.

Langeman, the agent who had interviewed gymnast McKayla Maroney, was fired. Bigger fish agent Jay Abbott, who actually tried to game a security position with USA Gymnastics as he prepared to collect his government pension and conveniently ignored the Nasser investigation, was allowed to retire with full benefits. Too bad about that head of security position, Jay. That’s just what young women need–a guy like you on security detail.

Last month several renowned gymnasts who were abused by Nassar spoke before a senate panel about the lack of accountability and inaction and expressed outraged over the Justice Department’s decision to not charge Langeman and Abbott, who were referred by the department’s inspector general for potential prosecution.

Imagine if the OCCK case only involved lack of accountability and inaction.

Some good news–“There can’t be a brighter day.”

There will be no retrial for Juwan Deering, 50, who was exonerated last week for an arson fire that killed five children. He spent 15 years in prison after being convicted in an Oakland County case which Prosecutor Karen McDonald said was without probable cause and “fraught with misstatements and misconduct.”

Deering expressed gratitude to McDonald, who “stood up when she saw something was wrong and did the right thing.” That takes courage in a milieu like Oakland County with its law enforcement and a bench that tends to heavily support the prosecution. The Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan’s law school asked McDonald for a new trial early this year, and she ordered a review of the case. Her predecessors would have looked the other way, of that I have no doubt.

Obviously I am writing about this case because it says something hopeful and encouraging about the OCP office now that Karen McDonald is prosecutor. I am also commenting on it because of what took place in Oakland County law enforcement and prosecution that resulted in an unfair trial in 2006. While a few people write me to defend the bench and bar of Oakland County (you haven’t swayed me), what happened to Juwan Deering exposes a version of what I and others have come to expect from prosecutors, investigators and judges in Oakland County. May this be the beginning of the end of that long and sad era. Today the scales of justice tend more toward balance.

Deering never should have been tried, McDonald said, adding that looking into his case “was the right thing to do — (but) not the easiest thing to do, by any means.”

The case was tried by assistant prosecutor Gregory Townsend, who went on to work as an assistant attorney general for the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. Townsend was part of the team handling an alleged kidnapping plot against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. He was reassigned last spring when the Deering case made headlines again and retired in July.

Presiding judge was Wendy Potts, who retired in 2018.

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