Inadequate Defense

Soon after Ben was arrested he spent his entire savings, mostly coming from his GI Bill, to hire a private attorney, Peter Ettenberg. His attorney, in turn, hired a pair of private investigators, Nancy Martinez and Robert Hammack.

These investigators identified alibi witnesses and a likelier suspect. In the late fall when it became clear that Ben’s case was going to be more complicated and entail more investigation that initially thought, Ettenberg held a conference with Ben’s sisters that included Hammack. Upon learning that Ben’s family was unable to come up with additional funds Ettenberg discharged the private investigators even though they wanted to follow up on the case. Ettenberg was able to negotiate a plea bargain under which LaGuer would have been released from prison as early as 1985. LaGuer turned down the offer. Ettenberg ended up going to trial ill prepared.

Among the points that weren’t properly aired in front of the jury are:

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