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Ricci's Neighbor Considering Lawsuit against City

Ricci's Neighbor Considering Lawsuit against City


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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The neighbor of a man once considered a top suspect in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping is considering a lawsuit against the city.

In a notice of claim filed Friday, Pete Romero says he was "baselessly and maliciously investigated and interrogated" after Elizabeth was taken from her bedroom in the early hours of June 5. The city has 90 days to respond to Romero's letter.

In the documents, Romero said he lived next door to Richard Ricci, whom police called a "top potential suspect" during the investigation. Ricci, who died in August of a cerebral hemorrhage while in prison on a parole violation, was never was charged in the Smart case and always maintained his innocence.

While interrogating Ricci, "investigators knowingly used intimidation, physical force, threats of physical force . . . to corruptly persuade (Romero) into revealing knowledge that (he) allegedly possessed concerning Elizabeth Smart's disappearance when he did not," Romero's attorney, Bruce Oliver, said in the notice of claim.

Officers swore at Romero and his family, according to the notice, and threatened the parolee with criminal charges, incarceration and threats of physical harm. "The investigators (acted) with absolute disregard for claimant and his personal rights."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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