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  • Another update...more to follow...

    ...on the trial of the suspect who murdered one officer and wounded another. The bright spot is, Eddie is walking on a cane, which is far better than than the doctors expected. From

    When a man accused of killing an Orlando police officer goes on trial today in West Palm Beach, it will have little to do with guilt and everything to do with punishment.

    Emmanuel Jimmy Saint Nattis, 22, is willing to plead guilty to killing Orlando police officer George DeSalvia and paralyzing fellow Officer Eddie Diaz -- if he can serve life in prison without parole, his lawyer said. He already is serving a 135-year sentence on federal charges related to the same crimes.

    But prosecutors in state court want the death penalty.

    Because of that impasse, prosecutors and defense lawyers will face off this week in a full-scale trial that is expected to last up to a week and a half. It has been moved to Palm Beach County because of publicity.

    Much of the trial will be geared toward what is to come. If the jurors convict Saint Nattis of first-degree murder, they will reassemble in a few months to recommend whether he should die for the crimes. Although Circuit Judge Bob Wattles will have the final say, he will give great weight to what the jurors recommend.

    "Our client is not going to be getting out of jail ever, as it stands," defense lawyer Diana Tennis said. "I think the public doesn't always believe a life sentence is a life sentence. But with life on top of 135 years, everyone can be pretty confident this 22-year-old kid would not see the light of day again."

    "Absolutely not," counters prosecutor Jeff Ashton. "Is this the kind of case we should let a jury decide? This is precisely the kind of case the Legislature envisioned when it enacted the death-penalty statute. What he's offering is to get no additional punishment for killing George DeSalvia. You can only have one life."

    During the trial, prosecutors will paint Saint Nattis as a cold-blooded killer. They will say he shot the officers during a traffic stop on Feb. 3 last year because he didn't want them to find stolen guns from a pawn-shop robbery in his car.

    Defense lawyers Tennis and Don West want jurors to see their client more sympathetically. They may argue that Saint Nattis panicked and didn't really intend to kill anyone during the stop on John Young Parkway near L.B. McLeod Road.

    In doing so, the lawyers may ask jurors for a conviction of second-degree murder, which isn't punishable by death.

    But they must step carefully and maintain their credibility with the jury. If the jurors convict Saint Nattis of first-degree murder, the lawyers still will need rapport with the panel when the time comes to beg for their client's life.

    Florida law says the killing of a police officer is one reason to dole out the death penalty. Tennis argues that not every cop killer deserves it, especially young Saint Nattis.

    "We understand a police officer being killed shocks our community, and we understand because we are a part of this community," Tennis said. "But the reality is people don't get the death penalty solely because they shot a police officer."

    Suspects in such cases tend to be "people who live in neighborhoods that are worlds away from our own" -- products of abuse and neglect, suffering from emotional and mental problems that affect the way they react to situations, Tennis said.

    "I can guarantee you he would do just about anything to take back what happened," Tennis said. "He has a deep-seated feeling for what it has meant to those two men's families for what happened."

    DeSalvia left behind a wife and three children. Diaz, 30, has spent the last 15 months fighting paralysis. Against the odds, he is walking with the help of two canes.

    The star witness for prosecutors, Diaz already has testified twice in the federal trials, where Saint Nattis was convicted of conspiracy, robbing a pawn shop and then shooting the officers three days later to hide the robbery.

    Diaz will tell jurors how Saint Nattis unexpectedly started shooting before he could be handcuffed on a charge of driving without a license.

    Ashton says premeditation, needed to prove first-degree murder, is clear. As the traffic stop began, according to Ashton, Saint Nattis yelled to his passenger, "Wet that cracker!" That's slang for shooting someone. The passenger didn't oblige. Also, witnesses say Saint Nattis shot DeSalvia even after he was on the ground.

    Diaz, 30, was hit seven times. Each time he tells his story, he relives the horror of that night. Still, he isn't angry.

    "I feel actually sad for him," he said of Saint Nattis. "He made a decision in a few seconds that affected and changed so many lives. He took the life of one officer. He changed my life forever. He destroyed his own life."

    But instead of hatred, Diaz has chosen to focus on his blessings. He said he is alive for a reason, although he hasn't figured out what his life's mission will be. Through soul searching and contemplation, he says he has chosen to focus on the future instead of being victimized by the past.

    For the trial, he's putting his faith in the justice system.

    "I'm big on democracy and government not always running the show and letting the people decide," he said. "Whatever the jury decides is fair."

    "Never try to teach a pig to wastes your time and it annoys the pig."

  • #2
    I am SO SICK of the 'he grew up in a rough neighborhood, poor home environment' "defense". SO WHAT?!?! He STILL knew RIGHT from WRONG!

    Just because I grew up in Alabama, DOESN'T mean I'm a REDNECK. REBEL, yes.....but redneck? Nope......

    BTW, FLLawdog...where in FL are you? I worked for the Putnam Co SO from '90-92 before coming back 'home'.


    [This message has been edited by shooter1201 (edited 05-07-2001).]
    "When you guys get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she's dating a *****."
    -Commanding General, 1st Marine Division


    • #3

      The man clearly did the crime, he showed no remorse, he would do it again if given the chance.

      He should be put down as quick as possible. And no, the death sentence does not deter was never ment to do that. It's a punishment, which in this case was fully earned by the shooter.

      Jim Burnes


      • #4
        The jury has been deliberating since last night, and even had to have the suspect's girlfriend's testimony read to them again.

        Here's the defense's plan...St. Nattis didn't mean to kill George Desalvia...he was trying to shoot Eddie Diaz because officer Diaz was "scaring him"... WTF!!! . So, that's OK??? It's not premeditated if you kill the person you didn't want to shoot because you were scared? If the jury falls for that one....

        "Never try to teach a pig to wastes your time and it annoys the pig."

        [This message has been edited by FLLawdog (edited 05-17-2001).]


        • #5
          I guess the West Palm Beach jurors are smarter than the WPB voters...guilty on all charges...1st degree murder, felony murder(the murder was committed while he was escaping) and attempted 1st degree murder. Sentencing to follow.

          "Never try to teach a pig to wastes your time and it annoys the pig."


          • #6
            As cops alot of us, including me dont always think to highly of attorneys, but I have to hand it to the solicitors office that prosecuted this case. They could have easily decided to take the guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence, instead they decided to show some real b@ll$ and go for a trial and seek the death penalty. Sometimes our justice system works perfectly and this was one of those cases. I just pray to god that the judge imposes the death sentence that the P.O.S. deserves.

            I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
            Winston Churchill


            • #7
              Not often it seems, but once in a great while a jury will surprise us by coming up with the right verdict!

              "Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines!"
              6P1 (retired)
              6P1 (retired)


              • #8
                Here's the article from

                Emmanuel Jimmy Saint Nattis, who fatally shot Orlando police officer George DeSalvia last year, was found guilty of first-degree murder on Thursday.

                The seven man, five woman jury found Saint Nattis, 22, guilty in the murder of DeSalvia during an early morning traffic stop on John Young Parkway on Feb. 3, 2000. Officer Eddie Diaz, DeSalvia's partner, was also shot and injured by Saint Nattis during the traffic stop.

                Defense lawyers argued that Saint Nattis, who was stopped that morning for a broken windshield and obstucted tag, shot at Diaz and DeSalvia because he was scared of an angry and threatening Diaz. Prosecutors said Saint Nattis shot at the officers so they would not find stolen guns from a pawn-shop robbery in the car.

                Lawyers Don West and Diana Tennis, Saint Nattis' defense, said Diaz cursed, beat on the car roof, waved his baton and threatened to hit Saint Nattis if he didn


                • #9
                  I certainly grieve for the loss of a fellow Peace Officer and mourn for his family, and wish all the best to his surviving partner. The accused in this case deserves merely a fair trial.
                  However, I can not in good personal, or professional, conscience agree with the imposition of the death penalty, in this case, or any other such heinous crime.
                  If this person is found guilty, it is unfortunate that no further detention can be imposed - I realize that the State does have legislation that authorizes the ultimate punishment, but I am afraid the only state-authorized death that I can support is that which results from a Peace Officer having to make the decision to use deadly force in a situation where all other solutions have either been tried or are not feasible.
                  May God have mercy on the souls of all those involved on both sides of this case.

                  P. D. (Pete) Broccolo, Constable
                  #32936 - RCMP Weyburn, Saskatchewan
                  #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
                  Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
                  RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
                  Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
                  "Smile" - no!


                  • #10
                    Oh I don't know. Some of you guys thought I was a little harsh at first, but hey, I say kill the b*stard.


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