Woman Recants Claim Against LA Cop


Friday, November 10th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


LOS ANGELES (AP) — An ex-lover of the disgraced officer at the center of a police corruption probe has recanted her allegations that he and another officer killed three people and buried their bodies in Mexico.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Sonia Flores, 23, failed a lie detector test, broke down in tears and admitted to federal authorities that she made up the claims against former Officer Rafael Perez.

Flores fabricated the stories because she still feels jilted by Perez and wanted to see him behind bars for the rest of his life, said her attorney, Marshall Bitkower.

``She's a woman scorned,'' Bitkower said. ``She had everybody fooled.''

Flores had told federal authorities that Perez and former Officer David Mack buried three bodies in Tijuana. Her claims led Mexican authorities, at the request of the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI, to excavate a trash-filled ravine in Tijuana last month in search of the bodies.

After Flores made her claims, prosecutors said a plea bargain deal with Perez would not cover the murder allegations.

Perez was not called to testify during the ongoing trial of four Los Angeles officers accused of falsifying reports to frame innocent people between March 1996 and April 1998.

The jury in that trial ended their first full day of deliberations without reaching a verdict Thursday. The panel is scheduled to reconvene Monday.

The case is the first stemming from allegations by Perez, who claims fellow officers in the Police Department's Rampart station broke laws to arrest gang members and committed other crimes.

Perez made his allegations under a deal with prosecutors after he was caught stealing cocaine from an evidence locker. He agreed to cooperate in exchange for leniency.

Perez's attorney, Winston Kevin McKesson, said he was pleased that Flores decided to come clean.

``It's further evidence to support our contention that Perez has been completely forthright,'' McKesson said.

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On the Net:

Los Angeles Police Department: http://www.lapdonline.org

LAPD: http://www.lapd.com

Justice Department Civil Rights Division: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/crt-home.html