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Suspect in Barbecue Stabbing Was Arrested, Then Released

As I was posting this article yesterday about the search for murder suspect Tony Petigny, I noticed that in his mug shot, Petigny had a swollen right eye -- just like the Broward Sheriff's Office release said.

After another New Times staffer noticed the same thing, I asked BSO whether it was possible deputies had made a mistake, saying Petigny was missing when actually he was already in custody.

Today a BSO spokesperson explained what happened.

From Dani Moschella, BSO's public information officer:

Deputies initially took Petigny into custody on a disorderly conduct charge because they knew he was involved in the fight on some level. Once aggravated felonies detectives (and later homicide) detectives began investigating, they determined that he was one of two responsible for what became a fatal wound. By that time, he had bonded out.
So there you have it. Due process of law in action.

It's easy to criticize BSO for letting Petigny go, but if their investigators didn't have a murder case against him yet, it was the right thing to do. Once cops let themselves invent bogus pretexts for keeping a person in custody, based on a hunch that guy's the culprit, it becomes a slippery slope.

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Thomas Francis

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