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Blurred Justice: The Murders of Corporal Irwin and Trooper Black

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Published Jun 13, 2022, 7:00 AM

Episode 223: On Friday, February 20, 1976, while on vacation in Florida OPP Corporal Donald R. Irwin, 39, a father of three from Kitchener, Ontario, went on a ride along with his good friend Florida State Trooper, Philip Black, also 39-years-old. Irwin was in civilian clothing and unarmed. At around 7:15 a.m. they checked an old Camaro parked in a rest area on I-95, north of Pompano Beach, Florida. Moments later, both officers were dead, and the five people who’d been in the Camaro had fled in Black’s cruiser. 

Walter Norman Rhodes Jr., 26, 29-year-old, Jesse Joseph Tafero, Sonia “Sunny” Jacobs, 28, Tafero’s wife and two children, Jacobs’ 9-year-old son, Eric, and the couple’s 10-month-old daughter, Christina, were apprehended at a road block after having kidnapped another man, and stolen his Cadillac from a retirement home after abandoning Black’s cruiser. Rhodes’ life was spared as he pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the other two. Jacobs and Tafero were both sentenced to die in Florida’s electric chair, but was justice really served. The case eventually unravelled but not before Tafero had his date with Old Sparky in 1990.

Promo: Podcast by Proxy

Sources:

21 Feb 1976, Page 1 - Fort Lauderdale News at Newspapers.com

Killer of 2 Police Officers Executed in Florida - The New York Times

Ontario Police Memorial Foundation — Donald R. Irwin

FHP MEMORIAL — Phillip A. Black (1936-1976)

In the Blink of an Eye - Essay

https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/stories/i-had-nothing-the-world-i-left-no-longer-existed

Jesse Tafero - Case Chart - Grassroots Investigation Project by Claudia Whitman Sponsored by Equal Justice USA

Jesse Tafero - Case Summary - Innocence Project by Claudia Whitman sponsored by Equal Justice USA

Jesse Tafero - Wikipedia

Exoneree, Center on Wrongful Convictions: Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Tafero v. State, 223 So. 2d 564 | Casetext Search + Citator

Jesse Tafero | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers

Jesse Tafero - Wikipedia

Jessie Joseph Tafero, Petitioner-appellant, v. Louie L. Wainwright, Respondent-appellee, 796 F.2d 1314 (11th Cir. 1986) :: Justia

Home - The Sunny Center

The Joys of Forgiveness on Death Row | Sunny Jacobs | TEDxGalway — YouTube

‘Exonerated’ blurs facts about death penalty case

Former death row couple: ‘Life turned out beautifully’ | Family | The Guardian

TIPS LEAD TO CAPTURE OF PAROLED MURDERER – Sun Sentinel

Fugitive’s prosthetic leg gives him away | The Seattle Times

WALTER RHODES JR v. HARDEE CI WARDEN FLORIDA PAROLE COMMISSION SECRETARY FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS | FindLaw

Rhodes v. Fla. Parole Comm’n, CASE NO. 8:13-cv-1424-T-36AEP | Casetext Search + Citator

Phillip Black and Donald Irwin murders 2/20/1976 Broward County, FL *Shot to death by Walter Rhodes, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison; It is, actually, a complicated case* | Bonnie’s Blog of Crime

Sunny Jacobs: Life Beyond

Stretch of I-95 honors 2 fallen troopers

 

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