4 hours of texting from City of Detroit employees sought by lawyer for slain stripper’s son
A lawyer is seeking access to any text messages sent by any City of Detroit employee during a 4-hour period on the morning a stripper nicknamed Strawberry was shot to death.
In addition, Norman Yatooma, a Birmingham attorney who represents the son of the slain stripper, wants global positioning system coordinates that show the location of employees at the time they sent those text messages.
Yatooma filed the subpoena Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit for Mississippi-based SkyTel Inc. to provide text messages sent between 1:30 and 5:30 a.m. on April 30, 2003, the day Tamara Greene was fatally shot. He is representing Greene’s 14-year-old son, Jonathan Bond, in a federal lawsuit alleging that Detroit police and city officials failed to thoroughly investigate her death.
Greene, 27, was killed in a drive-by shooting at 3:40 a.m. in a car that she was parking at Roselawn and West Outer Drive in Detroit. Detroit police spokesman James Tate said the homicide case remains open and is assigned to the cold case unit.
“There’s no question that the murder investigation of Tamara Greene was quashed,” Yatooma told the Free Press.
Southfield attorney Mayer Morganroth, who is defending the city in the lawsuit, said Yatooma is asking for millions of documents and called the request “absurd.”
“What he’s asking for is records involving an ongoing investigation. I don’t know what he thinks he’s doing,” Morganroth said.
Yatooma said most city employees probably didn’t have the text messaging devices, and he didn’t know whether the units have GPS capabilities. His SkyTel subpoena also seeks records of telephone calls and e-mail messages during the same 4-hour period.
A city spokesman said there are about 15,000 city employees.
“We’re interested in those folks who were corresponding the night Tammy Greene was killed, during those hours,” Yatooma said.
Earlier, he asked for text messages sent or received by 34 people, including Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his bodyguards Mike Martin and Loronzo Jones, former chief of staff Christine Beatty, former Police Chief Jerry Oliver, Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings and former Police Lt. Alvin Bowman, who investigated Greene’s death.
He added to that list Monday, asking for invoice records related to cell phone records from eight more people, including former Kilpatrick spokesman Matt Allen and current spokesman James Canning.
Bowman charged in a lawsuit that city officials transferred him out of the homicide division because he was investigating what happened to Greene, who was rumored to have performed at a Manoogian Mansion party in fall 2002. Kilpatrick and other city officials have denied the party ever occurred.
A Wayne County Circuit Court jury awarded Bowman $200,000 after a trial that ended Oct. 21, 2005.
On Monday, state Attorney General Mike Cox reiterated his view that there was no evidence that the purported party occurred, and acknowledged that he is viewed by some as part of an official plot to cover it up.
Contact BEN SCHMITT at 313-223-4296 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff writers Kathleen Gray, Chris Christoff and Jim Schaefer contributed to this report