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No Indictment Against Officers In Death Of Hitchhiker

September 22, 1993

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ There isn’t enough evidence to pursue civil rights charges against two police officers involved in the beating death of a hitchhiker, prosecutors say.

Prosecutors initially believed Stephen Lee Rollins and Glen Thurlow deserved to be prosecuted for deliberately violating the civil rights of Robert Jewett, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil Karadbil.

″I thought this was a guy who got beat to death for no reason,″ Karadbil said. ″But I can definitively say we will never prove it, in my opinion.″

Jewett, 34, died on Nov. 24, 1990, during a struggle with Rollins and Thurlow, who saw him hitchhiking.

Police said Jewett resisted Rollins’ attempts to search him, then struggled with both officers. His injuries ranged from a crushed throat to severely ruptured testicles.

A variety of factors - conflicting testimony, Jewett’s heart condition, his cocaine use the day he died, and medical evidence that supports the accounts of Thurlow and Rollins - made a civil rights case difficult at best, Karadbil said.

U.S. Attorney Roberto Martinez drove from Miami on Monday to break the news to Jewett’s mother, Louise.

″He might as well have stayed home,″ she said after the meeting. ″There is no justice. I really expected justice, because I believe in it. I’m going to keep on fighting. I don’t know how, but I’m going to keep on fighting.″

Rollins and Thurlow were indicted on state second-degree murder charges, but a jury acquitted them.

Rollins has left the police department. Thurlow has been assigned to a desk job.

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