Earlier this month, an illegal marijuana sale allegedly took place in Phoenix, and ended with the shooting death of a 19-year old man. The Phoenix cops apparently wanted to arrest someone for the murder – we question how much they cared that it was the actual murderer that they placed under arrest. Here’s what happened.
The cops interviewed one of the suspects, Camden Orberndorfer, who admitted he was involved in the marijuana sale. He told the police that the murder was committed by Scottsdale resident Tyler O’Donnell. The “evidence” against O’Donnell consisted of the following, as far as we can tell:
- The statement by Orberndorfer, an accomplice in the crime;
- Several “anonymous tips;” and
- “Social media chatter.”
The cops stated that this gave them probable cause to arrest O’Donnell, although, according to reports of the incident, O’Donnell’s name was never mentioned in court papers as having any involvement in the crime.
Wrong man arrested, held overnight and released
The case against O’Donnell was skimpy at best. The only real evidence was Orberndorfer’s statement, and anyone involved in the criminal justice system will tell you that the uncorroborated statement pointing the finger of guilt at an accomplice is always suspect. Nevertheless, the cops surrounded O’Donnell’s house armed with assault rifles, and used a flash grenade to assist in arresting the innocent man. O’Donnell was held overnight but released the next morning, with all charges dropped. In the meantime, his name was plastered over the TV and internet as having been arrested as a murderer.
While O’Donnell tries to put his life back together, the police tell us that they learned “new information” (as yet undefined) that led to O’Donnell’s release, and to the arrest of another person as the actual murderer and accomplice in the marijuana sale. It sounds as if, after the arrest of O’Donnell, the police began the actual investigation of the case, and it took them just a few hours to find the prime suspect and to clear O’Donnell entirely. Indeed, O’Donnell produced receipts showing he was elsewhere at the time of the murder.
The police department did not respond when asked if the arresting officer had been suspended or would be the subject of an internal police investigation.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004