By Rolando Larraz
Maria Urena was not a very lucky woman, but in spite of all the obstacles in her life she never lost her faith in God; she was glued to a wheelchair when her husband tried to kill her, but ended up killing her mother instead.
Last Saturday all Maria’s problems and suffering came to a complete stop when her heart failed after she just got back from church and the most dear wish Maria had was never fulfilled by God: to see the man who killed her mother and nailed her to that wheelchair being brought to justice and at last placed behind bars.
That wish she took to her grave — because the Miami police did not want to do it or were not capable of doing their job and the Federal Bureau Of Investigation in the United States of America is always too busy playing politics and ignoring what their job really is.
The Miami office of the FBI knew exactly where Maria’s husband was and still is; they know the name he has had and is still using since he committed such a heinous crime; the FBI knows who he is married to
despite the fact that he never divorced Maria legally, committing bigamy.
Was Maria’s mother’s killer never apprehended because the Miami FBI is inept, not capable of performing its duties? or maybe Maria was not able to see the man that placed her in a wheelchair for life because the Miami Dade Police Department is protecting such criminals and the Miami FBI is showing solidarity with their local counterparts?
Law enforcement entities are always bragging about how good they are at what they do, but when they have their job done for them and handed to them on a silver platter they don’t know what to do or how to deal
with such an opportunity, giving the impression that they are afraid to go face a murderer, a woman-killer in his own territory, or simply put, might it be because she is a Black woman?
Maria Urena died Sunday, January 20, 2019 after returning from church, alone in her small Miami apartment without the satisfaction and relief of seeing justice done in her life and for her mother’s death; how sad
Now travel 2,529 miles from Miami, Florida to Las Vegas, Nevada where Maria Urena’s son is incarcerated for a crime he did not commit; Maria had just finished speaking to her son when she passed away, but she was not able to hold his hand, or vice-versa—he was not able to hold her hand and kiss her goodbye because justice was never on Maria’s side.
Maria’s wheelchair was an old-fashioned wheelchair; she could not have a modern electric wheelchair even if she could afford one because they would have been too heavy for her alone to place in the trunk of her car.
From that old-fashioned wheelchair, Maria Urena raised her four children; from that wheelchair she was able to educate her four children and every one of them got an education: two are engineers, one a teacher, and one a pharmacist; they all live clean and productive lives within the law and never had a single problem.
Unfortunately, they were faced with the same problem that many people face in our city when it comes to legal issues: Las Vegas is a city where people come on vacation and leave on probation, only if luck is on their side, otherwise they’ll be locked up in the state penitentiary for a very long time.
My attorney once told me something I have never forgotten: “In Las Vegas you plead guilty and you walk, you plead not guilty and you do time.” Maria’s son made what others call a mistake for not taking the
deal they offered and he has been a guest of the state ever since. But is very difficult for an innocent person to plead to a crime they never committed.
Maria hired an attorney in Las Vegas to represent her son because she knew he was not guilty; she sent that attorney the $10,000.00 he requested; after receiving the money, he sent a flunky from his office to the County Detention Center not to hear the young man’s side of the story, but to tell him to “plead guilty and get it over with,” but the man refused and like we fools always say, “I don’t want to plead, I am not guilty and I cannot plead guilty when I am not guilty.” Maria’s son never saw the attorney again and Maria never saw her $10,000.00 again; the attorney never came on the line again. That money was not $10,000 that she had stashed under her mattress — she borrowed the money and as a woman of great integrity, paid that money back, dollar
by dollar, until her debt was paid in full. That Las Vegas attorney collected her $10,000 for only one social visit to the Clark County Detention Center.
After being ripped off by another attorney who charged them a fortune, and who later on had to accept his incompetence in court, the young man was found guilty and is doing time in the Nevada penitentiary for
a crime he did not commit; I know that most of the attorneys on both sides, prosecutors and defense, always are under the assumption that “the prisons are full of innocent people”; even if they are being sarcastic, they may be right because we see how many times we hear about the innocent being let go because someone else turns out be be the culprit of the crime they had been paying for.
Is Maria’s son in fact guilty, or is he guilty because he is a young professional Black man who put his trust and belief in the American justice system and refused to play the game of “plead guilty and walk” when he is not guilty.
Maria’s son was not able to hold his mother’s hand for the last time and give her a last kiss, but his accuser — the attorney who stole his mother’s $10,000.00; the other attorney who walked away with $75,000 to later admit he was incompetent and a disgrace to the legal profession; the Clark County prosecutors that knew they were
prosecuting an innocent man and the judge who refused to let the truth come out in order to protect the reputation of the prosecutor and its office — they all have to live with the stigma of allowing an innocent man being sent to prison.
Now all I can say is rest in peace Maria, your efforts for saving your son will not be in vain, the Lord will listen to you now that you are closer to Him.
My name is Rolando Larraz, and as always, I approved this column.
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Rolando Larraz is Editor in Chief of the Las Vegas Tribune. His column appears weekly in this newspaper. To contact Rolando Larraz, email him at: Rlarraz@lasvegastribune.com or at 702-272-4634.