I-Team: Prosecution In Deadly DUI Crash ‘Extremely Unlikely’

By Kathy Curran, WBZ-TV I-Team

HYANNIS (CBS) – When a Cape Cod mother of two was killed in the prime of her life by a speeding drunk driver, it was the beginning of a heartbreaking case. But what happened next, made matters even worse.

An I-Team investigation reveals how the justice system failed a grieving family and let that drunk driver get away.

WBZ-TV I-Team reporter Kathy Curran reports

On the morning of May 9, 2009, Lynn Garland was driving down Stevens Street in Hyannis. That’s when police say Rodrigo Freitas was drunk behind the wheel, coming up Main Street at a high rate of speed, he slammed into her car.

“We’re just so heartbroken over everything that’s happened,” said her sister Debra Faria.

“Disbelief. Terrible, terrible sadness,” said her niece Katy Shanahan.

Freitas was charged with vehicular homicide and operating under the influence of liquor. The case was headed for trial until the 26-year-old, a citizen of Brazil, fled the country in August of last year.

Family members were shocked when they learned Freitas was gone. “I could not believe this had happened,” said Faria. “On top of everything else this was another slap in the face.”

In June, 2009, when Freitas was arraigned at Barnstable District Court, bail was left at only $2,000 cash, and prosecutors didn’t even ask the judge to take his passport away. The family was dismayed.

“Let’s put it this way, if it was their family, the bail wouldn’t have been $2,000, the passport would have been revoked,” Shanahan said.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said Freitas’ roots in the community convinced his office that he was not a flight risk.

“This was someone who had gone to high school here in Barnstable, who owned a business in Barnstable, who had no prior criminal record,” O’Keefe said.

But the I-Team’s investigation found those roots on Cape Cod weren’t very deep, and were uprooted quickly last summer.

Freitas sold Net Zone, his storefront computer service business in Hyannis. His parents and his brother returned to Brazil.

And Tiffany Lomasney, a Fall River woman and U.S. citizen who married Freitas in 2007, told the I-Team she lost track of Freitas not long after the wedding and now feels he used her. It was a marriage that would’ve helped Freitas as he sought naturalization.

“If the suggestion is that we should have asked the court to have him surrender his passport, I think that’s a fair criticism, and I think we should have done that,” O’Keefe admitted.

The district attorney has turned over what is now a fugitive case to the State Police, but the I-Team discovered another problem that’s spelled out in the extradition treaty between Brazil and the U.S. and in Brazil’s constitution.

“Citizens of each respective country cannot be extradited to the other country — United States to Brazil, Brazil to the United States — unless it’s a crime that involves drug trafficking,” said Tom Nolan, a former Boston police lieutenant and criminal justice professor who recently accepted a position with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Nolan said it’s “extremely unlikely” Freitas will ever land back in a Massachusetts courtroom.

The I-Team tracked Freitas on three social media web sites, where he says he’s living in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and lists more than 1,000 friends.

Seeing Freitas free and enjoying life is not sitting well with Lynn Garland’s family.

“She would not have wanted to ruin his life over something like this,” said Faria. “But justice did need to be served and it wasn’t.”

Freitas did not respond to our e-mails and internet messages, and his lawyer, Peter Lloyd, refused to talk with the I-Team, citing attorney-client privilege.

It’s worth noting that Lloyd is well known to prosecutors in the district attorney’s office. He worked there for 10 years as an assistant D.A.

Even though he faced serious charges, Freitas’ driver’s license was only taken away after family members complained to authorities.

Lynn Garland worked for several years for both the Barnstable and Dennis police departments.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Buddy says:

    What Katy sid is true. If it were the family of the DA or another ranking member of the local police or state ploice his passport would have been revoked and bail set much higher. Just another case of the Stupid DA’s in the Commonwealth of Mass. letting someone get away with murder.

    Someday, A normal civilian taxpayer like myself will be held to the standard of a high ranking offical whether it be in office of politics or criminal justice. The DA’s in this state are useless, Useless as can be.

  2. StanleyRamon says:

    So, if I read the extradition treaty explanation correctly, a U.S. citizen could travel to Brazil, kill this guy, and return to the U.S. and also not be prosecuted; hypothetically.

    1. msw says:

      That’s an AWESOME hypothesis!!

  3. plc says:

    At least he’ll never obtain US citizenship which appears to have been important to him. And his family has returned to Brazil. Wonder how they feel about that. Have to take comfort from this I guess.

  4. taxedout says:

    Looks like this is the Only way to get rid of Illegals in Mass. What a shame for the family!!! The guy’s more than likely back here and working in the statehouse, or Cambridge… Massachusetts justice at it’s Best!!!

  5. Mann says:

    None of this is a surprise because that’s how the judicial system works in MA. I just love the policy between the US and Brazil. If you deal drugs, you can be extradited, but killing an innocent person earns you protection? Give this guy a chance and he’ll be walking the streets in America again, in some city where he’ll never be noticed, along with all the rest of the illegals hiding in plain sight.

    I’m sorry for this family who will no doubt never see justice served.

    Taxedout, how are you doing? :)

  6. Diana says:

    My heart goes out to Lynn Garland and her family. I know the pain they are experiencing. My brother was killed on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2009 by a drunk driver and we quickly learned that the Massachusetts court system is not there for the victims of these crimes and their grieving families but for the criminals who commit them. Our lives have never been the same nor will they ever be.

    How horrible and sickening that Mr. Freitas is enjoying his life and his family in Brazil while Lynn’s family will live a life sentence of grief. $2,000 bail? Are you serious? I am outraged. The laws in this state need to be changed! Does any of our elected officials have the heart and the courage to listen to us, the grieving families?

  7. Joann Allard says:

    BRAZILIANS KIDNAPPED MY DAUGHTER LAST AUGUST AND TOOK HER TO BRAZIL WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. THE ENTIRE FAMILY WHO OWNS A BUSINESS IN FRAMINGHAM PACKED BAGS FOR HER, OBTAINED A FAKE PASSPORT FOR HER, PAID 1500 FOR HER AIRLINE TICKET, GOT HER THROUGH LOGAN, TSA, MIAMI AIRPORT AND FINAL TO BRAZIL WITH BOTH AN ADULT AND UNDER AGED ESCORT…

    AND
    NOTHING
    WAS
    DONE!!!!

    THEY COMPLETELY GOT AWAY WITH IT!

    THEY OWN AMERICAN BUSINESSES. THEY GET AWAY WITH RIDICULOUS CRIMES AND SEEM TO HAVE NOT A SECOND THOUGHT ABOUT USING THEIR HOME COUNTRY AS A REFUGE.

    WHAT I LEARNED WHEN FIGHTING TO GET MY DAUGHTER HOME (BY MYSELF WITHOUT THE HELP OF AUTHORITIES BUT WITH A LOT OF MEDIA HELP) IS THAT THE BRAZILIANS ARE VERY GOOD AT PLAYING BOTH SIDES OF THE FIELD, THEY UNDERSTAND BOTH SYSTEMS, THEIR FLAWS, AND HOW TO USE THEM TO THEIR ADVANTAGE. THEY COME HERE, OWN AMERICAN BUSINESS, KILL OUR PEOPLE AND KIDNAP THEM. THESE BRAZILIANS COME AND GO AS THEY PLEASE REGARDLESS OF THEIR LEGAL ABILITY TO CROSS BORDERS. THEY WILL COME BACK. THEY WILL KIDNAP AND KILL AGAIN.

    THIS IS THE SECOND TIME IN A YEAR I HAVE HEARD OF A BRAZILIAN IN MASSACHUSETTS GETTING AWAY WITH A MAJOR CRIME TOWARDS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN AND GOT – AWAY – WITH – IT!!!

    PLEASE LET THESE CAPS CONVEY MY TOTAL AND UTTER FRUSTRATION AND HELPLESSNESS AS A ‘REGULAR’ AMERICAN CITIZEN, WHO BRIBES NO ONE, WHO HAS NO BUSINESS, AND APPARENTLY “NO PULL” TO GAIN JUSTICE.

    JUSTICE IS ALL I WANT. JUSTICE FOR MY DAUGHTER, JUSTICE FOR THAT OTHER FAMILIES DAUGHTER!!!

  8. Andy Faria says:

    The life that was taken was the life of my Aunt, Lynn Garland. She was an incredible person and is depply missed every single day.

    Rodrigo Freitas was given a fair trial and was sentenced to one year in jail, that’s it, one year. All he had to do was serve his year, then he could go on with his life. That’s what any man with any integrity would do . Instead he chose to pack up his family a flee to Brazil.

    ATTN Rodrigo Freitas, listen up. Please come back to serve your time. Not because it will finally bring our family a sense of peace , do it for yourself. Are you really prepared to live the rest of your life with this hanging over your head? When you have children how will you explain this to them? How will your friends or family ever have any respect for you?

    If you choose to stay on the run in Brazil than you are a coward and I will make sure that you are never allowed to forget about the life you took, my aunt, Lynn Garland.

    AF

  9. Julliana says:

    I would like to see more pictures from this Brazilian guy so I can posted on the Brazilian conul. Everybody should know who’s he is … Pictures pictures. So I can also send to news in brazil……

  10. Julli Honorato says:

    Rodrigo frets need to be in jail …….

  11. Cgarland says:

    I know Andy, it’s very painful for nick & I too. Having our son learn to walk, and play. And knowing he will never know his grandma crushes nick, he keeps quiet but we can’t even celebrate mothers. We are all still grieving and it would’ve made the situation easier if he took his punishment. But the way he mocked us outside court that day I don’t believe this person has a soul.

  12. Joseph B. says:

    He has no sense of common sense or self worth, i hope he knows he messed up that family and that they can’t come back from this. He’s a heartless worthless person and doesn’t deserve anything he has. One year would be nothing and he doesn’t even think he owes us that much. He’s going to hell.

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