One primary concern of law enforcement is protecting those who come forward with information on criminals or who witness a crime. Sometimes, however, they are ineffective in protecting informants and witnesses. Here are 30 troubling times witness protection failed.
In 2006, the shooting deaths of two witnesses hired by Israeli Police highlighted negligence on the part of the department.
29. Mooney’s Suit
St. Louis gangster Michael Anthony Drew ended up in Witness Protection following his cooperation in a racketeering investigation. However, upon being sent to Maine, Drew returned to his old ways, threatening another informant with a gun.
27. That Would’ve Been Nice to Know
Colorado man Javad Marshall-Fields and his fiancee were gunned down after he witnessed a shooting that killed his best friend. The state of Colorado has a fund to prevent tragedy such as this—but no one told Marshall-Fields it existed.
Former drug dealers Shawn Balch and Tammy Spooner cut a deal with the Canadian government, in the hopes of receiving treatment and a fresh start. They got neither of those things. Instead, they were forced into an unknown city and continue to live their lives in fear.
25. Perhaps You Should’ve Listened
Of course, not all Witness Protection failures are the fault of the government. Daniel LaPolla flouted the rules of witness protection, and returned to his home for a funeral. When he turned the knob of his front door, his house blew up in his face.
Children forced into witness protection tend to regard the experience with trauma. Jackee Taylor, for example, was put into the program with her family at age seven. They were shuffled from motel to motel, and the trauma of the experience led to Taylor developing suicidal ideation.
23. Then What, Exactly, is the Point?
Nancy Burdell was put into witness protection after witnessing a murder. She was surprised to find out that not only were they only going to move her to a “safer” location, but that her tenure in the program ended three months after the criminal’s sentencing.
Following the murder of his cellmate, Marion Pruett agreed to testify and entered Witness Protection. Upon his entry into the program and subsequent freedom, he robbed banks and murdered a bank officer, three store clerks, and his own wife.
When former mob errand boy James Cardinali testified against his former bosses, instead of being relocated and receiving a new identity, all he got was a new driver’s license under a different name.
20. I Suppose Some Notice Would’ve Been Appreciated
In the late sixties, Thomas Leonhard came home to find his children and ex-wife had vanished. His ex’s new husband was a mob informant, and as a result the family had to be put into Witness Protection-yet Leonhard was left in the dark about his children’s status.
19.They Didn’t Even Try
Following police’s failure to protect him after witnessing a murder, Rob Alexander Jr. was shot 9 time son a DC street.
18. Informant For Life
Some informants turn the Witness Protection Program into a way to make a quick buck, becoming more concerned with profit than actually stopping crime.
One man discovered a loophole in the Witness Protection system. Once he was arrested, he used his Witness Protection identity in order to be treated as a first time offender and receive a lighter sentence.
16. So Close, but So Far
Following a marijuana related arrest, Corry Thomas agreed to testify against high level drug dealers. He ended up being gunned down in front of his sister’s home.
15. NYPD failure
Following her agreement to testify against a powerful drug dealer, Diana Merced asked the NYPD for protection. They failed to deliver and she was shot in the face in her mother’s apartment by two unknown assailants.
14.The Mobster’s Cookbook
Former Gambino family member Joseph Iannuzzi got himself a one way ticket out of the program when he contacted the media to promote a cookbook he’d written.
13. At Least the Surgeons Did Their Job
Jimmy the Weasel has gone down in history as the highest paid of the Witness Protection Program’s informants, raking in a sweet $951,326. He got the Feds to pay for his auto insurance, his wife’s cosmetic surgery, and to send monthly checks to his mother-in-law.
10. Drugs, Drinking, and Rock n’ Roll
While in Witness Protection, NYC’s Henry Hill was arrested for drunk driving, burglary, and selling cocaine.
After turning rat on the Campisi mob family, John Patrick Tully was admitted into witness protection. While in the program, he robbed a bank and used the money he’d stolen to start a hot dog stand.
8. Perhaps an Inside Job?
Despite the restraining order against him, Natisha Gallegos was stabbed to death by her abusive husband.