Three Murder Suspects Cleared After New Arrests
Feb. 06, 1992
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ Prosecutors admitted the wrong men had been jailed and dropped charges against three suspects in a 1986 drug-related murder after two new suspects were behind bars.
Carl Stephen Rosati, 31, of Rhode Island and Peter Roussonicolos, 29, of Pompano Beach were to be tried next month on first-degree murder charges in the death of Joe Viscido Jr. They had been arrested after Viscido's father worked for years to try to find his son's killers.
Another Pompano Beach man, Peter Dallas, 28, was to be the key witness against the two. He had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case.
But the charges against the three were dismissed during a hearing Wednesday.
''Being falsely accused, being put in jail and being put through this torture for 17 months has not been fun,'' Rosati said Wednesday.
Viscido, 26, was shot twice during what agents described as a drug rip-off at his Deerfield Beach apartment.
His father, Joe Viscido Sr., spent four years searching for his son's killers. His quest led him and detectives to Rosati and Roussonicolos.
After those two were cleared, Viscido said he wants justice for the death of his son - no matter who is ultimately responsible.
''I just have to wait to see what happens now,'' he said.
Viscido, who plans to continue looking into the case himself, said he still thinks there is a link between the original three suspects and his son's death.
Dallas says he admitted to the slaying and implicated Rosati and Roussonicolos after Broward County sheriff's deputies threatened him with the death penalty if he did not do so.
''Dallas said they were slamming him against the wall, telling him if he didn't tell them what they wanted to hear, he'd get the chair,'' said Rosati's attorney, Victor Tobin.
But prosecutors said he would be charged with perjury.
The state's decision to drop charges against the three was prompted by a separate investigation into the Viscido murder by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
State police arrested James Traina, 47, formerly of Delray Beach, in Virginia on Tuesday, and Kerry J. Carbonell, 29, of Tamarac on Monday.
The two men were charged with first-degree murder and armed burglary, and Traina also was charged with armed robbery.
''We got the right people this time,'' said state police spokesman John Coffey.
Rosati spent more than a year in jail but returned home last month after being allowed to post bond. Roussonicolos remains in the Broward County Jail and faces unrelated drug trafficking and attempted murder charges.