Portions of the CNDH report (sept. 26th) on Federal and State investigations into Brad Will’s murder

Following are key portions of the CNDH report (sept. 26th) on Federal and State investigations into Brad Will’s murder, mostly from sections entitled “Observations”, and a little bit from “Sintesis”
– translated by Jill F.

The National Human Rights Commission has analyzed the facts and evidence included in Case 2006/4886/5/Q and determines that the public authorities of the Oaxacan State Attorney General’s office, as well as those in the Federal Attorney General’s office who were responsible for overseeing the proceedings 11/FEADP/07 found in the office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Journalists, violated the fundamental rights of legality and judicial security.

In reference to the investigation 1247/C.R./2006, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) determines that the Ministerio Publico (District Attorney’s Office) committed multiple irregularities and omissions in its investigation, including: failure to go immediately to the scene of the crime; failure to preserve and document crime scene evidence; failure to conduct detailed interviews with witnesses; failure to follow up on witness testimony reported in journalistic sources; and failure to interrogate the two people who were initially presented as the probable suspects, about their participation, the number of Municipal Police present at the scene of the crime, and the fire arms that they were using. The Ministerio Publico also failed to identify the people who were photographed using fire arms, at the scene of the crime- photographs that appeared in numerous media reports.

As well, the CNDH has determined that the authorities were negligent in their processing of case 1247/C.R./2006, as were the corresponding medical staff in their processing of the autopsy, ballistics testing, comparative criminal analysis, etc.

Their negligence in processing case 1247/C.R./2006 violated the rights of the family of Brad Will, as found in the Constitution of the United States of Mexico, and in the American Convention on Human Rights.


The Ministerio Publico waited four days after the death of Bradley Roland Will to secure the crime scene, during which time evidence such as bullet casings, blood stains, and witness testimonies were compromised.

The 28th of October, 2006, the U.S. consul in Oaxaca presided over the identification of the cadaver, during which time a colleague of the deceased shared information with him that the CNDH considers would have been relevant to the investigation, including the testimony that the colleague witnessed the moment in which a group of police officers, one of them in civilian clothing, lifted his arm, aimed his firearm, and fired, immediately before Bradley Roland Will fell to the ground.

Nevertheless, the Ministerio Publico made no effort to gather testimony from this witness, nor to call on U.S. authorities to assist them in locating that witness.

At the same time, the CNDH points out that the Ministerio Publico failed to document the condition of Bradley Roland Will’s t-shirt. Even though they refer to the t-shirt’s characteristics, at no time did they describe the t-shirt as having holes or blood stains, until much later, on November 3rd, when they conducted the “Walker” test on said t-shirt and claimed that the shirt “presented a hole in the middle part, 30 centimeters from the neckline, and 28 centimeters from the right side seam. The back of the shirt presents three holes on the right side.”

Following the investigation by the CNDH, the following has been established:

In the external examination of the cadaver, the medical examiner’s conclusions lacked all technical and scientific legitimacy – he confused the anatomic and topographic description of injuries….The autopsy was incomplete; it was carried out in an unsanitary environment; one medical examiner handled the bullets without gloves; the written description was inadequate, vague and imprecise; they determined the depth of each bullet without appropriate tools to do so; and they used terminology in the written description of the autopsy that does not correspond with forensic terminology.

The mathematical calculations, to establish the distance from which the shots were fired, lack all technical and scientific legitimacy and do not correspond with the topographic characteristics of the crime scene. Furthermore, gunpowder stains were not found, and the Walker test came back negative.

The absence of gunpowder stains in the entry wounds found on Bradley Roland Will’s body, and the negative results of the Walker test, imply that the bullets were fired from a distance greater than one meter from the mouth of the gun.

It is highly probable, according to the ballistics tests conducted with 38 Special caliber bullets, that the victim was between 35 and 50 meters from the firearm.

The two bullet wounds sustained by Bradley Roland Will were fired successively, one immediately after the other, at the crime scene.

The calculated time between the gunshot and the first impact was approximately 166 milliseconds, the time that it takes a 38 special caliber bullet to travel a distance of between 45 and 50 meters (average of 42.5 meters), which forensically confirms, with a high degree of probability, that the shooter was located behind the dump truck.

The gunshot was not fired a meter from the victim, as the State Attorney General’s office has indicated, and even more unlikely is the claim that the second shot was fired at a different time and place than the first shot.

The CNDH points out that the Municipal President of Santa Lucia del Camino was uncooperative in providing information about the participation of municipal police at the crime scene, the kinds of firearms they were using, and the actions they carried out upon learning of the confrontation, and the names of the officers who went to the crime scene.

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