WASHINGTON (AP) _ Maryland prosecutors gave immunity to the brother of one of the suspects in the slaying and dismemberment of a teen-ager in exchange for his testimony before a grand jury, according to a published report.
There was no evidence to connect Robert Sheinbein to the Sept. 19, 1997 killing, in which his brother Samuel was charged after fleeing to Israel, but he refused to cooperate with investigators unless receiving immunity, The Washington Post said today.
Deputy State’s Attorney John McCarthy said Sheinbein’s parents, Sol and Victoria Sheinbein, drove to New York City two days after Alfredo Tello Jr.’s burned and dismembered body was discovered in suburban Maryland.
They met with their son and returned to Montgomery County with a stun gun and sawed-off shotgun allegedly used in Tello’s slaying, McCarthy told the Post.
He said Sol Sheinbein also gave authorities two documents, one of them notarized, that linked his son and co-defendant Aaron Needle to the killing.
Needle, 18, committed suicide Saturday in the Montgomery County, Md., jail. His murder trial was scheduled to start today.
Sol Sheinbein remains under investigation in connection with his son’s flight to Israel, McCarthy said. Samuel Sheinbein, 17, is in custody in Israel and fighting extradition to the United States. The case has drawn the attention of the State Department and members of Congress.
Meanwhile, Needle’s attorney, Michael Statham, said his client had met with a state psychiatrist Friday, and with another psychiatrist Saturday shortly before authorities said he hanged himself in his cell with a bedsheet.
The doctors primarily were trying to discern whether Needle’s mental state would support a plea of his not being criminally responsible for his actions, Statham said.
``They didn’t take the time to check to see whether he may have had suicidal tendencies. My client was troubled about the allegations against him, and the actions he took confirms he was a seriously ill young man,″ the lawyer said.
In Israel, Samuel Sheinbein’s attorney, David Libia, said he would have no comment on Needle’s suicide.