Lawyer for Ianieros blasts Mexican president

CTV.ca News Staff
The lawyer representing the family of a Canadian couple murdered at a Cancun holiday resort is accusing the Mexican president of interfering in the investigation.
"We were all quite astounded when the President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, saw fit to publicly talk about the murders," Lawyer Edward Greenspan told reporters in Toronto on Friday afternoon.
"It is beyond the pale, and totally improper in a volatile domestic homicide for the leader of a country -- even a country not known for its reticence -- to publicly announce before an investigation is half underway that the criminals are Canadian, and in fact maybe within the wedding party."
Dominic and Nancy Ianiero had their throats slit in their hotel room last month. They were in Cancun for their daughter Lily's wedding.
Their relatives have hired Greenspan, a prominent criminal lawyer, in the hopes of ensuring a proper criminal investigation is carried out in Mexico.
Greenspan alleges Fox is trying to protect Mexico's tourism industry, and he is urging Canadians to stay away from the popular vacation destination.
"Mexico is not a very safe country at all. In my view, until a killer is brought to justice, Canadians should stay out of Mexico for their own safety," he claimed.
"Mr. Fox has now compromised the criminal investigation. He is clearly anxious for a speedy indictment to protect Mexico's tourist industry. That's all that matters to him."
Greenspan added that, for "all practical purposes, (Fox) has destroyed any confidence that the investigation will be conducted with the fairness and impartiality that is required to bring about a just charge."
Family's outrage
During the press conference, the Ianieros' son, Anthony, also expressed outrage at the decision of some Canadian news outlets and a Mexican newspaper to publish grisly, blood-soaked pictures of the murder scene and his parents' bodies.
"Yesterday I learned that the photographs of my parents had been published in the Mexican press. I did not look at them, because I did not want to see my parents in that state," Anthony Ianiero told reporters.
"I hoped to protect my sisters and the rest of my family from even knowing of the existence of these pictures. However, while watching TV yesterday, my sister saw the blurred images on a Canadian station."
He says he does not know how or why such police forensic photos were released to the media.
"We were shocked to learn of the release of these photos and disappointed to find that some Canadian press had picked them up."
Canadian suspects
Two Canadian women from Thunder Bay, Ont., have been considered suspects in the case by Mexican authorities. The women once again came forward on Thursday to state their innocence.
Cheryl Everall and Kimberly Kim, who were staying in a room down the hall from the murder victims, called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take action in the case.
The women appeared Friday morning on Canada AM.
"We haven't heard anything back yet, but that's why we're speaking publicly now," Everall said. "I think this is an issue of importance not only to clear our name but to demand justice for this family."
The women believe there is no basis for the accusations against them.
Harper said he is confident Mexican authorities have no plans to try to extradite any Canadians suspected or linked to the slayings.
Harper spoke Friday at a press conference in Cancun, Mexico, where he has been meeting for two days with Fox and U.S. President George W. Bush.
"We have been told once again, and I believe we've been saying this for some time, there is no extradition demand pending, nor is there one anticipated in the near future," Harper said.
CTV's Robert Fife in Cancun asked Harper and Fox if they could explain what direction the investigation is taking, and if they could reassure the two Ontario women that they are no longer under investigation.
Fox said there was little he could say about the investigation because it is still underway, but noted that both the federal and local attorneys' offices are working on the case.
In addition to his comments that no extradition requests were pending, Harper praised the level of cooperation between the two countries and said Canada has been kept well informed by Mexican investigators.
He did not specifically address the case of the Thunder Bay women, however.
Greenspan said that he's disappointed with the prime minister's actions.
"We are disappointed that Prime Minister Harper didn't take the opportunity at Cancun yesterday to chastise the Mexican president for his official comments about the case."
Discovery of possible murder weapon
Meanwhile, police in Canada are now investigating the possibility that a knife found by an American family near a Mexican resort was used in the slayings of the Canadian couple who were killed at the same hotel.
According to a Toronto Star report, the knife was turned over to Thunder Bay police and is now being examined by York Regional Police forensics experts.
Investigators haven't speculated on whether the knife is linked to the deaths of the Ianieros.
York police chief Armand La Barge told the Toronto Star the knife was found in a knapsack by an American girl and her family three days after the Ianieros were killed.
Unaware that the murders had taken place, the family brought the knife home with them to Duluth, Minnesota.
Soon after returning home the girl's father, who is a police officer, heard about the murders and turned the knife over to Thunder Bay police.
York police picked-up the knife on Wednesday. Sources told the newspaper it had blood on it.

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