Continuing to unpack the Timothy McEnany case, we will now examine the alleged “phone evidence” presented in the case.
On 7 March 1993, a consensual search of Timothy McEnany’s work van was conducted by Pennsylvania State Police Trooper, Lt. John Brown, and Trooper Myra Taylor. The following day, a search warrant was issued, and the van was seized. No evidence relating to the crime was found in either of these two searches.
Two weeks later, on 23 March, Corporal Mull and Trooper Lotwick (yes, the same Trooper, who would later become Sherrif Lotwick, and was permitted to transport the jury to court!) removed the accused’s cellphone from the van. This was done a full two weeks after the execution of the search warrant.
The Fourth Amendment requires that search warrants be executed without unreasonable delay. The purpose of the rule is to ensure that when a search is made pursuant to a warrant, probable cause exists, both when the warrant was issued and when the search is carried out.
So the question becomes, what’s “unreasonable delay?” A delay is unreasonable when it’s no longer reasonable to assume that items that were presumably located in the place described in the warrant are still there, because the information that placed them in that location is old and has become unreliable.
Why did the police wait sixteen days, before removing the cellphone from the van?
What we do know if that sixteen days after seizing the van, Mull and Lotwick took the phone to John T. Shingara, of the State Police communications division. Shingara claimed that the last number dialed on the phone was that of Mrs. Bishop (the victim). A subpoena (later deemed to be illegal and inadmissible) was issued for cellphone records, and showed that no calls near the time of death were made or received.
After the illegal subpoena, Jean Sweigart, an employee of Cellular One, was served with a search warrant for telephone records. These records allege that two incomplete phone calls were made to the Bishop residence at, or about 10 PM on the night of the murder. Original records of these phone calls were never produced.
What was produced, however, was a sixty-page report, sent to the Pennsylvania State Police, but this report was never introduced into discovery during the trial.
McEnany avers that it is impossible for these calls to have been made, as he was in a bar with witnesses at that time.
So, like the fabricated paint-chip evidence, it’s not unimaginable that these mysterious phone records that were never officially entered into evidence in the case, were another of the PSP’s fabrications.
Remember, not long ago, Sgt. Brandon Ruff, an eight-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police force, filed a police brutality lawsuit against his own Department on Monday.
Sergeant Ruff also alleges rampant corruption in his lawsuit and states that the police department as a whole encourages and tolerates officers who “misrepresent facts in order to establish probable cause, and allows officers to have persons falsely arrested or maliciously prosecuted.”