Jamie Saffran, age 51, was arrested for murder and dismembering his friend in Fort Lauderdale, Florida this Tuesday. According to police, Saffran’s arrest was the culmination of a multi-agency investigation that spanned two counties. This investigation has been ongoing for well over a month and has included multiple crime scenes. (Photo Courtesy: Broward Sheriff’s Office)
Specifically, Jamie Saffran is accused of murdering the man whose decapitated torso was discovered in a Fort Lauderdale canal early last month. Some weeks later, the missing head was found in a canal behind an auto parts store. Ironically, the name of the store is “Millions of Parts.” However, these “parts” were found by a store employee named Willie Hernandez while he was doing clean up work along the canal’s shoreline.
As an experienced criminal lawyer, the facts of this case made me wonder if a serial killer was on the loose. This theory was based on the fact that at least two bodies and multiple, mutilated body parts were washing up all over in a short period of time.
On October 26, 2010, the remains of Doris Lopez, age 48, were discovered in a container left in her car. On November 6, 2010, a decapitated torso, a pair of sneakers, and eye glasses were discovered in a concrete laden container found floating in a Fort Lauderdale canal. According to the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office, the date of death for this torso was estimated to be as early as October 31, 2010.
On November 15, 2010, Willie Hernandez found the human head floating behind the Millions of Parts auto store. Then, on November 26, 2010, more body parts were found in yet another container at a location in Miami-Dade County.
Considering all these facts in unison, I discovered a four-pronged pattern: 1) murder victims, 2) dumped in containers, 3) discovered in close geographic proximity, 4) at around the same time. At the time the torso, head, and other parts were found, we did not know whether or not they belonged to the same person.
In any event, it will be very interesting to see what evidence was discovered by the police that links Saffran to this murder. What proof do they have that Saffran is guilty? So far, all we know is that Saffran and the victim allegedly knew each other.
Before any conclusions may be drawn about guilt, innocence, or possible defenses, many important questions must be answered. For example, what was Saffran’s alleged motive? How did police learn that Saffran and the victim knew each other? Is this murder connected in some way to any others? Is there any forensic evidence that links Saffran to this murder or that leads to another possible killer?
What evidence has been collected by police? Did police obtain a search warrant before conducting any searches? Did they have consent to search private property? If not, they may have conducted an illegal search. If this is true, a judge may throw out any evidence obtained as a result.
Did Jamie Saffran make any statements to police? If so, was he in custody at the time he made those statements? Was he advised of his right to remain silent, his right to an attorney, and his right to appointed counsel if he is indigent? If police failed to properly advise Saffran of his Constitutional rights before questioning him in custody, any statements he may have made will prove inadmissible in court.
If Saffran did commit this murder, hopefully his arrest will bring closure for the alleged victim’s family. If not, I seriously hope he is exonerated. It will be interesting to learn how the police were able to identify Saffran as a suspect. After all, this case started with nothing more than a headless torso in a container.
Be sure to follow this story as it develops. I am certain there is more to come…