It was I who discovered this AWOL irregularity, by way of an anonymous phone tip.
I immediately (and frantically) contacted The Morning Call "newspaper" ("reporter" Manny Gamiz) and DA Jim Martin's office wanting desperately to know ... was my daughter Sheena's killer a fugitive from justice?
I've subsequently been told by a former newspaper editor that, in his opinion, my gut- and heart-wrenching August 2006 discovery of my daughter Sheena's killer suddenly gone missing in Central America would have been an "above the fold" front page lead story in any other city in America.
Grieving Father Discovers Daughter's Killer AWOL in Belize
But The Morning Call "newspaper" in my hometown of Allentown PA refused to cover this story.
Turns out homicide defendant Robert LaBarre was on vacation in Belize, but we wouldn't know this until he returned, an agonizing and anxiety-filled (for us) week later.
Q. How was Robert LaBarre able to enjoy a 10-day vacation in sunny Belize Central America while out on bail for killing my daughter Sheena?
Q. Was this incompetence on someone's part?
Q. Was there any crooked colluding cronyism and favoritism involved here?
Lehigh County DA Jim Martin wouldn't tell me anything.
The bail setting District Magistrate (and now Judge) Michele Varricchio wouldn't tell me anything either.
Upon LaBarre's tanned and smirking return to Lehigh County Court, Judge Robert Steinberg soberly confiscated LaBarre's passport and mandated that LaBarre get permission to leave the state of Pennsylvania for even a day trip.
Q. Should the passport confiscation and travel restrictions have been applied before LaBarre's Belize vacation by bail setting Judge Michele Varricchio?
Q. After homicide defendant LaBarre returned, why didn't Judge Steinberg revoke LaBarre's bail and incarcerate him?
Q. What exactly is "standard procedure" in Lehigh County in a situation like this?
Q. Have any other Lehigh County homicide defendants left the United States without permission to go on vacation? Jodi L. Stephen from Pre-Trial Services told me that LaBarre did not have their permission, and they were charged w/ supervising LaBarre.
All excellent questions that deserved to be answered, right?
But curiously, The Morning Call "newspaper" was not interested in knowing the answers to any of these questions.
And they obviously didn't want you to know the answers either.
I wanted all of us to know, and I pleaded with the "newspaper" repeatedly to investigate and report on Robert LaBarre's AWOL Belize vacation.
But The Morning Call "newspaper" steadfastly refused to cover it.
FYI: Robert LaBarre's father is Allentown attorney Don LaBarre from the law firm of Gross McGinley (formerly Gross McGinley LaBarre & Eaton).
One of Gross McGinley's longtime clients is The Morning Call "newspaper."
Many attorneys from Gross McGinley contribute frequently and generously to the Committee to Reelect DA Jim Martin. [Source: Lehigh County Voter Registration Campaign Contribution Records]
So now you have some answers.
Readers, this is the first post in an upcoming series of LVS blog posts on "Facts The Morning Call "newspaper" refused to cover." See our right sidebar for more revelations.
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