MURDER EVIDENCE GOT TOSSED

Daily News (New York), SPORTS FINAL EDITION, NEWS; Pg. 13
BYLINE: JAKE PEARSON DAILY NEWS WRITER With Rocco Parascandola

Brooklyn, NY

VICTIM'S BROTHER WAITS 28 YEARS FOR COPS TO TRACK DOWN KILLER, THEN FINDS OUT . . .

A BROOKLYN man who has waited nearly three decades for cops to solve his brother's murder was stunned when he was told last month that police tossed the crime scene evidence 15 years ago.

The shocking disclosure came when Reginald Agius says a South homicide detective told him Dec. 22 by phone that crucial evidence from his brother Godfrey's 1983 slaying was gone.

Now he fears his brother's stabbing death will never be solved.

"What right does the Police Department have to throw away evidence on a murder case?" asked Agius, 62. "They know murder cases are never closed. There's no statute of limitations. . . . I want justice."

The tossed evidence included a bloody hat, a partial fingerprint sample, a knife and a cigarette butt recovered at the scene of the Jan. 17, 1983, stabbing, Agius said.

"My brother wasn't some animal. He was a hardworking guy," he said. "He had two jobs. He was recently married. He had just bought the house. He was starting a life."

Godfrey Agius, a mechanic at a Brooklyn bus company, was working on a car in his garage when he heard noises from within his E. 86th St. home, the Daily News reported at the time.

When he went upstairs, he found an intruder had broken into the house. Agius was stabbed several times in the head and chest during a struggle.

"He was discovered that afternoon by the mailman," his brother said. "There was blood all over the place, from the bedroom all the way down to the kitchen."

The NYPD did not respond to repeated requests for comment. James Moss, the current detective on the case who Agius said told him of the evidence snafu, declined to discuss the matter.

Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, who hunts old DNA to free people jailed by mistake, has called lost evidence a "big problem in New York City."

Scheck said his group asked for DNA in 46 city cases from 2004 to 2009 and found that the genetic evidence in 27 couldn't be found.

After Reginald Agius learned about the missing evidence, he emailed NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, asking about his brother's case. He hasn't heard back.

"I am [in] disbelief," Agius wrote to Kelly on Dec. 22, reminding the city's top cop a "cold-blooded murderer" could still be on the loose.

"Please help. . . . Give me an answer how this could have happened with all my heart I would appreciate it thank you."

Agius visits the 69th Precinct stationhouse in Canarsie every six to eight months to check on the investigation. At least six different detectives have handled the case, he said.

He's offering a $5,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to the arrest of his brother's killer.

"It's not just me. How many other murders were committed and their loved ones don't know if the guy will be caught because their evidence was thrown out?" asked Agius. "This is an atrocity."

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