Murder trial stalled for man accused of killing ex-wife 20 years ago
Defense claims former cellmate of Cliff Friend lied during testimony
MIAMI – The trial in the 20-year-old murder case of Lynne Clifford stands in recess after the defense claimed a former cellmate of her ex-husband lied during testimony Tuesday.
Convicted drug smuggler, Andres Garcia Flores, claimed he was watching an episode of the telenovela, "El Capo" with Cliff Friend. In the episode, a drug kingpin kills his girlfriend, ties an anchor to her and then tosses her over the edge of a boat into the ocean.
Friend is accused of killing his ex-wife and dumping her body into the ocean in 1994.
Flores claimed Friend said, "It's funny. I just saw myself on TV. That's how it's done." He claimed Friend also said, "Wow, it reminds me of what I did. It's like déjà vu."
During cross-examination the defense said there was no possibility that Friend could have been watching the telenovela at that time, because phone records show that he was talking on the phone, which is on the other side of the cell and not facing the television.
Prosecutors objected, claiming they weren't aware of the phone records, so Tuesday's proceedings were cut short.
The judge said Wednesday she will not declare a mistrial and gave the state until Thursday to look into the phone records to see if they are accurate or not. The prosecution will then need to decide whether to allow Flores to continue testifying.
If the records are inaccurate, Flores could be charged with perjury.
At this time, the judge said, she believes there was a discovery violation on the defense's part, meaning the defense had the phone records and purposely didn't give them to the state. Defense attorneys told the judge they just received the records Tuesday and did not do anything wrong.
The judge ordered everyone except the jury to return to court at 11 a.m. Thursday. The jury was told to arrive at 1 p.m.
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