A murdered man, a mail-order bride, and a detective allegedly mixing business with pleasure are just some of the ingredients in a real-life case that has all the makings of a film noir.
James Duarte, 38, was gunned down outside his North Miami Beach office in 2001. Police claim the hit man who did the shooting and the man who hired him both fled the country, but left behind David Superville, who was arrested in 2007.
He was charged with second-degree murder because police allege Superville led the hit man to Duarte.
The trial begins next week.
"As a defense attorney, if you went to sleep and prayed for the best facts possible for cross examination, I don't think you could envision these facts," said Andrew Rier, Superville's lawyer.
The facts, according to Rier, are so favorable for his client that he's filing a motion to dismiss the charges next week.
Rier's optimism stems from the fact that the lead detective in the case, Ed Hill of the North Miami Beach Police Department, admitted in depositions and in an internal affairs investigation that he had an affair with Superville’s wife.
That raised the possibility Hill may have had an ulterior motive to put Superville behind bars, Rier said.
It gave him unlimited access to Superville's wife, Russian beauty Ana Gulevitskaya, who he met through a mail-order service, Rier said.
"The facts are that five days after David Superville is jailed, the detective shows up at the wife's side when she has a personal problem with her car," Rier said. "That had nothing to do with the homicide case. The facts are they engage in a sexual relationship stretching from 2007 to the very least, 2008."
The two also entered into a business together, but that’s not all, Rier said.
"For whatever reason, the husband (Superville) was sending emails to his spouse, and without his knowledge, these e-mails were being forwarded to the very detective investigating him," Rier said. "The State Attorney's Office, to their credit, has said they have no intention of using those e-mails, due to spousal privilege."
Prosecutors said the e-mails and Hill's affair with Gulevitskaya have no bearing on their case.
Hill is still on the force, despite two internal affairs investigations that sustained allegations against him of conduct unbecoming an officer. Superville and Gulevistkaya are now divorced.
A decade after Duarte's murder, the only person ever charged in the crime goes to trial next week, unless a judge agrees with the defense and throws the case out.