A Fresno murder-for-hire case took another bizarre twist Thursday when it emerged in court that the key witness in the case photographed himself wearing a Fresno police uniform and riding in a police helicopter.
The photographs sparked an internal affairs investigation by the Fresno Police Department. Now, the lawyer for Daljit Singh, who is accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill a former business partner, wants to know what the informant, Joe Luis Yzaguirre Jr., told internal affairs investigators.
On Thursday, Singh's attorney, Anthony Capozzi, won a judge's order in Fresno County Superior Court that compels Fresno police to turn over its internal affairs information.
Judge Jonathan Skiles gave police officials until 5 p.m. today to turn over the information to the prosecution, which then will share it with Capozzi.
"A thorough internal affairs investigation has been conducted," Fresno police spokesman Don Gross said, "and there were no department policy violations found."
Yzaguirre is a key witness against Singh because police said he secretly recorded Singh talking about wanting to hire a hit man to kill Rama Kant Dawar.
Police said Singh wanted Dawar dead after a lawsuit between the two men was decided in Dawar's favor. Capozzi, however, contends that Singh was set up by Yzaguirre in a scheme to put Singh out of business. Singh and Yzaguirre have competing limousine services in Fresno.
Singh's trial is scheduled to start Feb. 21.
Yzaguirre's credibility has been in question ever since he was shot and wounded in Clovis by an unknown assailant in late November, one day before the trial was originally scheduled to start. Yzaguirre has recovered from the shooting, police said.
As part of the shooting investigation, Clovis police confiscated Yzaguirre's cell phone, which contained photographs and videos of Yzaguirre wearing a Fresno police uniform and riding in a police helicopter over the city, Capozzi said.
While prosecutors have declined to talk about the case, Capozzi said inconsistent testimony by Yzaguirre poses problems.
For example, he said, Yzaguirre testified at Singh's preliminary hearing last summer that he gave a gun to Singh and never told police about it. Before Yzaguirre's admission, police had said that Singh had given Yzaguirre a stolen gun that was supposed to be used to kill Dawar.
Capozzi said the police internal affairs information will also help him because Yzaguirre testified during the preliminary hearing that he has never worn a Fresno police uniform.