Fort Lauderdale

Supporters of Accused Killer to Rally in Fort Lauderdale

For the last week, the billboard has been calling out to anyone driving by Broward Sheriff's headquarters: "Two Victims," it says, showing photos of murder victim Jill Halliburton Su and the man accused of killing her, Dayonte Resiles.

Paid for by an anonymous supporter, the billboard says Resiles was framed and directs readers to a social media campaign whose boosters will rally Saturday at Guthrie-Blake Park to show support for Resiles.

Among them, Chris Thompson, who'd never heard of Resiles before his daring July 2016 escape from the Broward courthouse, where he used a secreted handcuff key to unshackle himself, leap out of a jury box and out of the courthouse to a waiting getaway car.

Why get involved?

"There've been so many of our people that have been railroaded through the justice system, it's just not fair," said Thompson, who is African-American.

Asked why an innocent man would escape, Thompson said, "When you're going through those factors and they're trying to give you the death penalty and everything, I mean, he has a fighting soul, he has the spirit of our ancestors, he's going to fight. So (Resiles thinks), 'Let me get up out of here, let me fight and let me try to prove my own innocence.'"

Prosecutors will use that five-day escape as evidence of consciousness of guilt, along with phone calls Resiles made after his recapture that allegedly showed him conspiring with others to concoct an alibi that he was in Georgia when Halliburton Su was murdered in September 2014.

They also say they have Resiles' DNA on the murder weapon found just outside the victim's house and a belt that was found inside the foyer.

But Thompson and others questioning Resiles' guilt note the sheriff's DNA lab has had problems before.

"I definitely question the quality of it," said Thompson. "Who else has been handling it... there's been times where BSO has had problems with handling DNA."

Those problems were related to identifying contributors to mixtures of DNA from several people; police said Resiles' DNA was mixed with Halliburton Su's on the evidence recovered.

Thompson said he understands why the victim's family and others may find rallying for an accused murderer unseemly, but he adds if it were his family member killed, he would want to be sure the right person was being prosecuted.

Police and prosecutors say Resiles is that person.

The state attorney's office declined to comment Friday on the efforts of Resiles' supporters.

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