By Michael E. Miller
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Munzenrieder
By Sabrina Rodriguez
By Michael E. Miller
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Luther Campbell
By Kyle Munzenrieder
Carter allegedly said that once inside the apartment, he asked if there were "any drugs or money in the house. They didn't respond," he whispered. "So I laid them on the floor, and I shot them."
Evans was nervous. Burdened with this knowledge, he confided in a fellow inmate, Herbert Jackson. Jackson later testified that Evans came to him and said, "Fuck it, I'm just going to tell you. You know the two bodies Taiwan is in here for? Arsenio just told me he did it!"
As days passed, Smart gradually grew suspicious of Carter. He seemed to know too much about the murders. Carter once referenced a homemade bong inside the apartment that only Smart and his dead roommates would have known existed.
Their petty arguments ballooned into heated confrontations. One day, Smart commented that a woman on TV was "ugly."
"Your girlfriend's ugly," Carter told him. "Your ho's ugly."
Both men rose and approached each other. A crowd swelled around them, murmuring.
Evans, who hadn't heard the beginnings of the fight, appeared. He assumed the argument involved the murders and asked, "You told him?"
Smart turned. "Told me what?" he asked. "Told me what?" Eyes suddenly electric, he looked at Carter.
"You know too much!" he yelled. "I know you killed my friends!"
Smart charged Carter and slammed him to the concrete floor. Bellows erupted inside the stockade. Carter wriggled free and pounded on the guard's gate and was eventually reassigned to a different cell, prison records show.
Smart didn't know what to do. Jailhouse informants are notoriously unreliable. But neither Evans nor Jackson sought shorter sentences in exchange for their depositions, so Smart's attorney quickly interviewed them and shipped their statements to prosecutors. On June 6, 2011, Smart took two separate state-sponsored polygraph tests. An expert hammered him with questions for hours. Ultimately, "Smart denied any involvement, and it was the opinion of [the expert] that he was being truthful," according to prosecutor Mato's closeout memo.
Prosecutors summoned Detective Sanchez and told him what had happened. Nearly two years after Sanchez had called Smart a "fucking liar," Sanchez now "agreed [the state] could not prove their case, and it appeared Taiwan Smart was not the shooter," Mato wrote.
Sanchez was not reprimanded for his work on the case, though this wasn't the first time he may have rushed to judgment, his internal affairs file shows. In 2007, Sanchez had arrested philanthropist Lucinda Munoz, 58, at Bank of America after she tried to cash a bad check for $3,506 that an eBay customer had sent her. Munoz was jailed for one night and charged with forgery and grand theft — allegations dropped a month later. "Apparently, Sanchez takes the experience of being thrown in jail and charged with a major felony lightly," Munoz's unsustained complaint says.
The Miami Police Department has not apologized to Smart. A&E has continued to broadcast its First 48 episode featuring Smart. And Carter, who's since been released from prison, hasn't been seriously investigated by any other agency for his possible connection to the murders.
Taiwan Smart, now 26 and head-shaven, untangles his long legs from inside a battered Volkswagen Passat and declares he doesn't want to stay long. The car has just pulled up before a small, five-unit apartment complex in the shape of a bowling alley. "I feel like this is where my life ended," he says, walking toward the back of the building, where his friends had been shot. "I should have died that night, and I wish I had. If I had, I wouldn't have to deal with this."
"This" is Smart's life today. In the two years since his release from prison, Smart's luck hasn't turned. With a pair of murder charges on his record, he's struggled to find work or an apartment. He spent months living in a small motel room with his mom, uncle, girlfriend, and two siblings — while supporting them with a $6.09 hourly wage he makes cleaning cars at the Busy Bee off Biscayne Boulevard. Now he and his family live in a claustrophobic apartment where they have neither kitchen sink nor stove, and the electricity flickers on and off.
Meanwhile, The First 48 has arrived at season 13, and even today, nearly 1.4 million people tune in for some airings. But this season, the program hasn't featured Miami, though producers call it the "face" of the show. Last year, Police Chief Manuel Orosa asked producers to donate $10,000 per episode to a local youth sports program that works with at-risk children, but producers declined. So The First 48, which doesn't compensate police departments in any way, left Miami and now films in Broward County, Houston, Cleveland, and Dallas. (Memphis and Detroit have also discontinued their relationships with the show.)
The families of the murdered never see a dime of the show's profits. "No one cared that my boy was killed, and the cops just rushed it for a damn show," says Clyde Ray, the stooped father of Smart's murdered 14-year-old roommate. "Everyone was a victim in this. Them boys killed, that boy who spent two years in prison for it."
At least Smart can still defend himself. Put in touch with attorney Joe Klock, who's taken the case pro bono, Smart has filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Miami for false arrest and imprisonment. "Despite the police questioning of Taiwan for 15 consecutive hours," the lawsuit says, "and his pleas of innocence and his factual accounts, police were only concerned with closing the book on the crime within 48 hours to captivate the public with the expeditious crime-solving... It intentionally placed Taiwan as a remote second in importance to the pursuit of the First 48 marquee."
Really... says the lady from CT... where the law is more biased and corrupt than FL.. Oh wait you guys have the biggest economic gaps in households in America, so I'm sure there a bit of that happening in CT.. So people don't get taken in and held for a statement? And if they're a person of interest they don't get detained longer or charged on the spot for their crime (if the evidence is right)? Then at an initial hearing they don't get an opportunity by the judge at bail dependent on their charge? Then they either bail or sit in jail until their case goes through the ringer for an end product of either guilty or not guilty?
What an ignorant statement! You know nothing about the Justice system! This is not how the system works! Please educate yourself about American juris prudence!
doesn't matter.. that ends up working in the favor of the criminals anyways.. A lot of them get charged are held in jail until they're either bailed or their hearings then found guilty or innocent. Happens. That's how the system works.. The reason for the 48 is the statistic that when a crime is not solved within the first 48 they rarely if ever are and their chances and odds diminish greatly.
It will be interesting to see how the court system handles this whole situation. I hate to see innocent people get tied up with these types of things. I really feel for that girl who now has to find a lawyer to help her understand the legal system just because she found the bodies. http://armstrongbarrington.com/criminal.htm
There are many people that are in prison that are innocent. You're stupid to blame a TV show for putting innocent people in prison. If "The First 48" did not exist, there would still be people in prison wrongly convicted. This is a stupid article. Reality TV is not actual reality.
Excellent read. This is such a travesty of justice. I hope you win your case against the PD Mr. Smart.
And I hope you get your life back.
Terrence Mccoy (author) you are a lousy journalist. Next time be less sensational and more factual. I don't love or hate the First 48 show for documenting what's happening. Whether it's filmed or not, black men are still falsely imprisoned every hour, I'd argue. I understand the prison industrial complex and it's disastrous effects. It's modern slavery for African Americans (and sometimes anyone without a good lawyer). However, you're making your disdain for First 48 laughable because you're sensationalizing the story. You're overly descriptive... "a curvacious 18 year old woman named ciara"... "teenager she recently started sleeping with". Whoa! Is this a soap opera or valuable information. Your writing is lousy.
Great article. The fact is that this show negatively impacts homicide investigations and prosecutions. If only one homicide investigation were to be impacted by this show, just one - that should suffice as grave enough of an impact to take the show off the air. But many more than one have been impacted; that is not what A&E wants to believe making money off the show or even what those who are entertained by the show want to believe, yet it is true. However, being personally impacted by this show, perhaps, my view is skewed. What is needed is a independent, professional assessment and analysis of the impact of this show on homicide investigations across the country, since its inception. I am happy to lend a hand to anyone interested in advocating for such as assessment. I can be reached at Facebook: William Fenzau.
Ridiculous article. Very few of the crimes depicted are actually solved in 48 hours. Many shows depict investigations that go on for months.
It is a fascinating show, however, as it does show how police investigations work, with most crimes being solved due to either witness/informers are the fact that video cameras are so pervasive that many crimes are caught on tape.
And the real cherry on top is that most of the ignorant, stupid criminals actually confess on tape in the interview room with the most obvious ploys by the cops like, "Well, we heard from so-and-so you shot Skeeter 12 times, but we'd like to hear your version of how many times you shot him." And the shooter says, "Oh, no way. I only shot Skeeter twice. Can I go home now?"
.........................funny but isn't it the ADVERTISERS that actually contribute the money funding the profit of the show ?
so if the GOP national committee wanted to pay millions to air this show - they could - right ?
okay so what about the billions of dollars in food stamps and section 8 housing assistance and school and municipal services including water sewer and electric that is spent of public taxpayer money in aid and assistance and support in these communites under NIMBY (white people pay so these people don't live near them (N)ot (I)n (M)y (B)ack(Y)ard
...................blaming a reality based TV show for airing peoples' general stupidity is the real story here.................IF tywana and treyvon and now taiwan had been in the LIBRARY there is NO SHOW - right ? say amen !
brawley , martin and now smart (who apparently isn't) are ALL throw-away kids who's parents only had them to quilify for FREE government cheeze and section 8 housing and oBaMaphones and these kids get "thrown away" once they no longer qualify their parent for financial hand-outs and public support - so they are basically on their own UNeducated UNemployable and desperate leading to drug use and eventual abuse making them prone to do stupid things like crimes which escalate in severity until BANG its over for them
it doesn't look like the world is losing a rocket scientist here and what was spent on him from public taxpayers pockets life-to-date probably exceeds hundreds of thousands of dollars total in food stamps and assisted housing and support from social services and free programs which he has no chance to ever pay back = period
blame the parents
oh boo hoo...like this is the first case of injustice in your great US of A....look at your track record and now u wanna blame a TV show...love the first 48 and have every episode recorded....to all you haters Kiss my ass....'they make the black neighborhoods look bad'....duh...wonder why...cause that's where all the shit happens...plundering, murdering and raping anything they can get their hands on....even if they were offered a way out they wouldn't take it cause they prefer their 'thug' life....killing a man just because he looked at you or 'mad dogged' you as the knuckle dragging thugs like to call it.....Det. Dwayne Thompson is a legend..can't wait to see any episode with him in....
@darrin.weis1 I see you have ZERO followers on your profile....wonder why?
@darrin.weis1 I see you have ZERO followers on your profile. I wonder why. LOL!!!!!
@Killjudas so no white people convicted are innocent? It's just black men? Gimme a break & stop making everything about race. There are crooks, murderers, sex offenders etc in every race, country, religion & economic status. Goes the same with the wrongfully accused. Treat & judge everyone the same, don't be part of the problem.
@AsokAsus The producers know that the whole 48 hours thing is just a device. Besides, they even say that it's about finding a lead within 48 hours, not solving the case. That pretty much covers them. It's not worth getting distracted from the merits or criticisms of the show itself over the title of the show.
Yes blame the parents for railroading and the mistreatment of people who don't have the understanding of laws or the means to get suitable legal counsel to fight said charges....Frank let me ask you a question if your brother was stalked and cornered by person then shot after defending them selves you would be up in arms about the rights of people being trampled on correct? If you were in your home the pace you are supposed to feel the ultimate safety with your family and someone tries to kill you and kills your family you get away but get charged for the murder would you say," well I guess I'm guilty cause I wasn't reading a book"?!? No you wouldn't because no one deserves to be put in lockup for a second if they don't deserve it period sir. You sound idiotic with your backwards logic the end all be all isn't education and the library won't keep innocent people out of jail boy stop.
Confessions can be faked. Police can use duress, and there have been cases where people were forced to confess to things they didn't do
@mwillemstein DT is the real deal fosho...but there's a few clowns as well - Interview skills suck...Peep ready to confess but det shuts it down. (Cleveland)
i guess rev sharpton and his ilk really do get to shape the BLACK people narrative because you miss the point
okay by me but another fifty (50) years will go by and BLACK people may be obsolete and more irrelevant than they are today, especially when the BLACK family disintegrates entirely
jews made it, italians made it, germans made it, asians made it and now hispanics are making it - WHY ?
GO ASK THEM HOW, like i did and do, and they ALL say the same thing - their parents and a supportive family !
you won't see any jews or italians or germans or asians or hispanics going around with their pants pulled down to their knees and their caps on backwards - WHY ? - they ALL say because they do NOT wish to disrespect their parents and bring SHAME to their supportive family
@joshlicon nobody commends the detectives for all the times that they got it right...so typical...seek the bad and ignore the good...
@joshlicon My favorite detective in the show is Dwayne Thompson and he happens to be black and i'm a racist...wtf
@joshlicon You are a knob-jockey. That is all.
@nuther_88 Ye i hear you...
good luck with all that
when you want to join civilized society, pull your pants UP put you cap on straight get a book and READ it (and thank a teacher) and we will be here waiting for you
Yes your right there isn't a mafia or murder Inc wasn't Jewish gangsters the Azn the neo Nazis I could go all night your missing the point sir just because the minority is bad doesn't mean the majority should be punished I don't divide things by race or social economic standing things of this nature is right or wrong and if your racist behind was being falsely accused I would feel the same way period END OF DISCUSSION
@nuther_88 Cleveland one of my least favourite PD's...