ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A fugitive living in Cuba wants decades-old charges accusing him of killing a New Mexico police officer dismissed on grounds that Gov. Susana Martinez has politicized the case.
An attorney this week filed a motion on behalf of Charlie Hill, saying Hill could not get a fair trial in the 1971 killing of State Police Officer Robert Rosenbloom during a traffic stop.
Responding to President Barack Obama's move to thaw relations with Cuba, Martinez in December renewed a request that the Obama administration try to extradite Hill, the last living suspect in Rosenbloom's death.
It was a request made previously by other New Mexico officials. Bill Richardson, a former governor, congressman and ambassador, said he pushed for extradition in talks with then-President Fidel Castro during the 1980s but was stonewalled.
Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation also have said the Obama administration should push for Hill's return in light of the negotiations on restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Martinez's office said her letter — in which she asks Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Eric Holder for helping in bringing a "cop-killer" to justice — was merely a request aimed at getting Hill in front of a judge and jury.
Rosenbloom was gunned down in November 1971, along the side of Interstate 40 west of Albuquerque after he radioed that he was stopping a car for a routine check.
Fingerprints found the next morning in an abandoned car led to the issuance of murder warrants for Hill, Michael Finney and Ralph Goodwin, who were all in their early 20s at the time.
Police said the car contained numerous pieces of literature, including pamphlets for the Republic of New Africa, a movement dedicated to establishing a separate black nation in the U.S. South.
Three weeks after Rosenbloom's slaying, the men escaped an extensive manhunt by bounding up a Trans World Airlines stairway at the Albuquerque International Sunport and hijacking an aircraft. The flight had originated in Phoenix and was headed for Chicago and then Washington, D.C. Instead, the men reportedly forced the pilot to fly them to Florida, where they dropped off all 43 passengers and loaded the airplane with fuel. They continued to Havana.
Finney and Goodwin later died in Cuba.
Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com