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On September 02, 2001, Shawn McMillan was driven into the parking lot of the Helen Ellis Hospital by Rita Nordmark and her intoxicated brother-in-law, Dan Nordmark, an off duty Corrections Officer. It was approximately 2:26 A.M. and a bullet from the drunken officer’s gun had just ripped through Shawn’s brain destroying everything in its path. Officer Nordmark alleged the wound was self inflicted. The facts prove otherwise.
While 26 year old Shawn lay dying in the emergency room at Helen Ellis Hospital, Sgt. James Allen Mackenzie of the Tarpon Springs Police Department began his official Police Report with these chilling words:
“At 2:39 hours on September 2, 2001, I was called at my residence in reference to responding to a shooting at Helen Ellis ER with “Special Circumstances.”
Although, it is not known which Tarpon Springs police officer called Sgt. Mackenzie to warn him, we do know that “Special Circumstances” was the code used by Sgt. Mackenzie and other officers to designate the highly intoxicated owner of the gun, Corrections Officer Dan Nordmark, as a fellow member of Law Enforcement. Special Circumstances would now take precedence over the investigation and dictate the actions taken by the Tarpon Springs police in their investigation into the events that led to Shawn’s horrifying death.
Sgt. Mackenzie has steadfastly maintained that his fellow Law Enforcement Officer did nothing wrong and nothing illegal that night and although Officer Nordmark was so intoxicated he could barely stand up, (much less provide believable and unbiased testimony), “Special Circumstances” apparently protected him. Sgt. Mackenzie did not question any witnesses, and Tarpon Springs Police Officer Marc Parsons spoke only with the extremely drunken Officer Nordmark and his sister-in-law, Rita Nordmark (driver of the car). According to videotaped sworn testimony, Officer Parsons spoke to Rita Nordmark for approximately only five minutes; Sgt. Mackenzie and other Tarpon Springs police officers failed to interrogate a single credible witness, failed to verify the Nordmarks’ fabricated story about Shawn and Dan Nordmark being at the Shades Bar and failed to pursue a single lead. Tarpon Springs police failed to administer alcohol or drug tests although Officer Nordmark was obviously so intoxicated he had to sit down on the ground; they failed to make any arrests and allowed Officer Nordmark to simply walk away within two hours; they failed to impound the vehicle, obtained peroxide from the hospital ER and instructed Rita Nordmark to begin cleaning out the blood (evidence) within two hours of the shooting. They failed to collect and preserve any evidence that would have been found in the car had it been impounded, failed to request investigative assistance from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, failed to question why two bullets were missing from the six round clip, failed to question why a three minute drive to the hospital took between twenty and twenty-six
minutes, failed to initially locate the gun although three police officers and the emergency room nurse searched for the missing weapon which was later “found” in plain sight; and they failed to lift fingerprints or conduct gun residue tests on anyone’s hands. Tarpon Springs police took 22 digital photos in the dark with no flash; they did not open and photograph the vehicle’s trunk or photograph the head liner of the vehicle where, according to a Carsmetics employee, there was a visible spray of blood on the ceiling behind the driver’s seat when Rita Nordmark brought the vehicle in for cleaning and detailing two days after Shawn’s death; Sgt. Macknzie closed the case within two days of Shawn’s death and on the day after her son’s funeral, in the presence of a witness, he threatened and intimidated the victim’s mother with criminal liability and criminal sanctions (arrest) if she spoke to the authorities, Press, attorneys or other individuals. During the weeks that followed, Sgt. Mackenzie continued to behave in an unprofessional, volatile and aggressive manner, shouting at Shawn’s distraught younger brother, Daniel McMillan and the mother of the victim on several occasions in an apparent attempt to intimidate and to silence them. He also repeatedly conveyed misleading information to the Press in what appears to be his efforts to defend his position and convince the Public that the shot was self inflicted by Shawn. “Special Circumstances?”
The following documented evidence tells a very different story about what really happened that night and in the weeks and months after Shawn’s death.
1. Sgt. Mackenzie claimed that his “most conclusive piece of evidence” in the investigation proving that Dan Nordmark did not shoot Shawn was that there was no blood on Officer Nordmark’s shirt. This questionable material evidence was passed along to the Medical Examiner, the FDLE, the State Attorney and the Press. However, sworn testimony strongly suggests that Officer Nordmark’s shirt was substituted to conceal the presence of Shawn’s blood on it, thus absolving others of any guilt in Shawn’s death and guaranteeing an official determination of suicide. “Special Circumstances?”
According to Sgt. Mackenzie’s police report, “the most conclusive piece of evidence in the investigation” should there be some sort of material misrepresentation by Daniel Nordmark was the examination of his shirt. “If Daniel [Nordmark] was not in the front seat or was in a position to do harm to the victim there would be blood spatter on his shirt.” Tarpon Springs police officers, James Allen Mackenzie and Maximo Sanchez carefully documented that Luminal and Phenolphthalien tests were conducted at the Forensics Unit of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office on September 04, 2001. Sgt. Mackenzie stated all testing was negative for blood and this indicated the wearer of the shirt, (Officer Nordmark) was not in a position to fire the weapon at the victim (Shawn). Sgt. Mackenzie presented what he called his “most conclusive piece of evidence” to the Medical Examiner, the FDLE, the State Attorney and the Press, virtually guaranteeing an official determination of suicide and relieving Officer Nordmark of all responsibility in Shawn’s death.
However, on November 27, 2002, Sandee Jacobs, the Forensics Specialist for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office stated in an Inter-Office Memo directed to Sheriff Everett Rice and Tim Whitfield, Forensic Science Commander, that she remembered Maximo Sanchez bringing a shirt to the facility in early September of 2001, but only a light energy scan test (used to detect gunpowder) was performed. She stated that the sensitive chemical tests for the presence of Shawn’s blood were never conducted on Officer Nordmark’s shirt. Specialist Jacobs who stated that all testing was done in her presence also explained that because no blood was visible on the shirt, the Forensics Unit would not have performed a Phenolphthalein test for the presence of blood. Furthermore, Specialist Jacobs reported, “at no time, in my presence or with my knowledge was Luminol used for blood detection on the shirt.” There is no record of any Pinellas County Sheriff’s Forensics lab report and no documentation of these tests ever being performed and Specialist Jacobs made it clear that any and all tests would have been done in her presence (Ex 10) and had she performed any tests, she would have been required to prepare and document her actions in a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Forensics Report.
Just prior to drafting the above referenced written statement, Tim Whitfield, Forensics Science Commander of Forensics and Sandee Jacobs called me to reveal that the blood tests had in fact, never been administered and they also stated that before calling my office, they had first spoken to the attorney for the Sheriff’s Office and had also called and discussed the discrepancies in the Tarpon Springs Police report with Maximo Sanchez who admitted that although he remembered bringing the shirt in and conducting gunpowder tests he too agreed that he did not recall ever doing any chemical tests for blood. This information seemed reliable, since the case was so widely discussed and publicized, the details would not have been easily forgotten, especially by Maximo Sanchez of the Tarpon Springs Police Department. Ms. Jacobs confidently explained that the shirt remained in Maximo Sanchez’ control and possession during the entire time he was in the Forensics labs. She also stated and Mr. Whitfield confirmed that if she had personally performed the tests, she would have drafted the required Forensics Report specifically describing her participation and all results of those tests. Because she never conducted the tests, she never drafted any report whatsoever.
It now appeared that Sgt. Mackenzie and Maximo Sanchez had fabricated material evidence and falsified their police report regarding the “most conclusive piece of evidence in the investigation” - a third degree felony under corruption statutes.
But then, on February 07, 2003, almost a year and a half after the shooting (and shortly after the Tarpon Springs Police Department became aware that I had gained access to the above information), Ms. Jacobs abruptly changed her statement. Now she indicated that after re-examining the shirt, she suddenly remembered not only had Maximo Sanchez performed the light energy scan test for gunshot residue back in early September of 2001, but she also now recalled that she personally had performed the sensitive Luminol and Phenolphthalein tests on Officer Nordmark’s shirt, the shirt did not remain in the sole custody and control of Maximo Sanchez and for some reason, she did not draft the required Forensics report although she herself conducted the tests. Presumably, Maximo Sanchez also has now suddenly remembered that the Luminol and Phenolphthalein tests were performed on the shirt contrary to their earlier corroborating statements that the tests were never conducted. Ms. Jacobs had formerly assured me that Phenolphthalein tests are never conducted on clothing when no blood is visually detected and had there been use of Luminol she would have carefully reported and documented its use and would have contacted the FDLE. But these now remembered tests were never documented in any reports and were not reported to the FDLE.
Nevertheless, Ms. Jacobs now maintains that she personally sprayed the shirt with Luminol and tested it with Phenolphthalein. She said that by the time she finished spraying the shirt with Luminol, the shirt was very damp all over and she thought the Tarpon Police would later unwrap it and let the shirt dry out and then re-seal it. I asked her if she sprayed the entire shirt. She informed me that she sprayed the shirt all over every surface, back and front and there was absolutely no trace of blood anywhere on the shirt. She said after recently “re-testing” the shirt with Luminol and Phenolphthalein, these tests were negative for the presence of blood too. Ms. Jacobs also stated in her current report that there were yellow stains on the shoulder, chest, arms and collars areas of the shirt.
If all of this recently remembered information is true and Ms. Jacobs had actually performed the tests with negative results, it raises additional serious legal questions regarding Officer Nordmark’s shirt. Based on sworn testimony, it seems obvious that the shirt worn by Officer Dan Nordmark that night was either treated with peroxide or some other caustic agent to remove all traces of the blood stains or the shirt that Officer wore that night was simply substituted for another shirt to conceal the presence of Shawn’s blood before it was hand carried to the Sheriff’s office by Maximo Sanchez.
What Ms. Jacobs didn’t know and what the Tarpon Police did not know on the night of the shooting is that several witnesses have testified under oath that Shawn was bleeding profusely and was tightly wedged in the back seat of the small Honda Civic. When the nurses could not get Shawn out of the car, the extremely drunken Dan Nordmark somehow staggered to the car, reached his arms up under Shawn’s arms and head while wrapping his arms around Shawn’s chest and struggled while dragging and pulling Shawn’s bleeding body from the car. Shawn’s head, covered and saturated with flowing blood obviously was against Dan Nordmark’s chest and shoulder as he dragged Shawn out of the car with blood continuing to pour from his mouth, nose, ears and head and onto Dan Nordmark’s shirt, chest and arms. The Tarpon Springs police had not yet arrived and none of the officers including Sgt. Mackenzie and Officer Parsons witnessed Dan Nordmark with his arms wrapped around Shawn’s profusely bleeding head and body as he struggled to remove him from the car and up onto the Gurney.
If the Tarpon Springs police had been aware of this, they would have known that it could not be denied that Shawn’s blood was all over Dan Nordmark’s shirt that night. In fact, by the time the police brought me to the hospital approximately one and a half hours after the shooting, blood was still running from Shawn’s mouth, nose and ears and it was still pouring from his wound quickly soaking the bandages that were wrapped around his head. The Tarpon Springs police photos show that Shawn’s shirt was soaked with his own blood and still looked wet two days after the shooting (Ex. 31). Obviously, Dan Nordmark’s shirt would also have been stained and soaked with Shawn’s blood. Yet Sgt. Mackenzie maintained that there was not one speck of blood on the shirt that was alleged to have been worn by Dan Nordmark that night. Later, two different witnesses, Victoria Mulvey and Kara Gillem (a Pinellas County Sheriff’s office employee), testified under oath in front of the State Attorney, that within approximately 24 hours of the shooting, DAN NORDMARK TOLD THEM THAT THE POLICE TOOK HIS SHIRT THAT NIGHT AT THE HOSPITAL BECAUSE IT WAS COVERED IN SHAWN’S BLOOD! Why was there no trace of blood on the shirt after Tarpon Springs police took custody of it? And why did the State Attorney’s Office completely and absolutely ignore these incriminating statements? The subject was immediately changed during the depositions of both witnesses and no witness was ever asked what Dan Nordmark was wearing; did anyone ever see the police take his shirt; and, when he was allowed to walk away in less than two hours, was he wearing any shirt at all? This glaring evidence indicating a cover up by police was simply brushed aside and ignored by the state attorney’s office.
Exhibit (37). St. Petersburg Times; Report to Tell if Case Handled Fairly; 02/10/02: Sgt. Mackenzie told the reporter that if Dan Nordmark had fired the gun at such close range, there would be blood on his shirt. He said four different forensic tests of Nordmark’s shirt - performed two days after the shooting - found no blood on the shirt (pg. 3).
Exhibit (38). St. Petersburg Times; Family Faults Shooting Inquiry; 03/22/02: Sgt. Mackenzie said he determined that Shawn shot himself based on the blood on the back seat of Rita Nordmark’s car and the absence of blood on Dan Nordmark’s shirt as well as other evidence (pg. 3). (He preserved no other evidence and sworn testimony indicates that Officer Nordmark’s shirt was either treated with peroxide or substituted for another shirt).
Exhibit (60). State Attorney Sworn Deposition, Victoria Mulvey; 02/19/02: When the State Attorney asked Victoria Mulvey what she had heard about the case since that night, she explained that Dan Nordmark came over to her house Sunday night after Shawn died and he told her that the police took his shirt from him that night because it was covered in Shawn’s blood (pg. 14). Ms. Mulvey adamantly repeated this same assertion under oath in a videotaped deposition again stating that Dan Nordmark came to her house the evening after Shawn died and told her that the Tarpon Springs Police had taken his shirt on the night of the shooting because it was covered in Shawn’s blood. (Ex. 61).
Exhibit (59). State Attorney Sworn Deposition, Kara Gillem; 02/19/02: On February 19, 2002, Kara Gillem, an employee of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office, testified under oath that Officer Nordmark told her that the police took his shirt the night Shawn was shot because there was blood all over it (pg. 11).
Exhibit (54). FDLE Investigative Report Dawn Bianci, Helen Ellis Emergency Room Nurse; 12/20/01:
Dawn Bianci, the Nurse, who first approached the car at Helen Elis Hospital reported to the
FDLE agent that Shawn was lying on his left side with his head behind the driver’s seat. Blood
was oozing out of his head and down the side of his face and onto his neck. She struggled to try
and remove Shawn from the car and was unsuccessful because he was a large man and was
twisted at the lower extremity. She told the FDLE Agent Dan Nordmark finally removed Shawn
from the car head first through the driver’s side rear door and that he struggled in the removal
and Shawn’s eventual placement on the Gurney (pgs. 1-2).
Exhibit (55). State Attorney Sworn Deposition; Dawn Bianci, Helen Ellis Emergency Room Nurse; 02/28/02: Helen Ellis ER Nurse, Dawn Bianci then testified in front of the State Attorney and again described the struggles and difficulties they had because Shawn was a big guy and she and another nurse could not remove him from the car. Eventually Dan Nordmark helped drag Shawn out of the car and onto the stretcher. (pg. 5, 6). Nurse Bianci explained that Dan Nordmark was pulling Shawn from under his arms and she was helping with his lower extremities. (pg. 7). Nurse Bianci described the problems with getting Shawn out because they were dragging him. She said he was dead weight and they were trying to get him from the back seat onto the stretcher, which was higher than the back seat of the car (pg 10). She said there was also a lot of blood in the car where Shawn’s head had been (pg.15).
Exhibit (66). State Attorney Sworn Deposition, Rita Nordmark; 02/08/02: Rita Nordmark testified that there were bloody spots all over Shawn’s pants. She went on to say that when she got out of the car and looked back at Shawn, “he had - I mean, he just had blood all over his face” (pg. 27). And she stated that when the police gave her car back, there was a tremendous amount of blood in the back seat (pg. 31). On 10/04/01, Rita Nordmark told the FDLE agents (Ex.70) that after hearing a loud bang, (Sgt. Mackenzie said “pop” was what they heard) she immediately looked back at Shawn and noted a large amount of blood around his midsection. She told the FDLE agent that while Shawn was being pulled from the car through the driver’s side rear seat she saw the wound on his head due to the large amount of blood.
Exhibit (64). FDLE Investigative Report, Special Agent Supervisor, Richard Pyles and John Halliday, Special Agent interview Dan Nordmark;11/07/01: As Officer Dan Nordmark explained the events leading up to Shawn’s death, he told the FDLE agents that after Shawn was shot, he first saw blood on Shawn’s right shoulder and then he explained that the Nurse at Helen Ellis was trying to get Shawn out of the car and was struggling, so he, pulled him out of the back seat of the vehicle. He also stated that it was difficult to pull Shawn out of the car and his feet may have been lodged under the front seat.
All evidentiary items including Shawn’s shirt (which was soaked with his own blood), his socks, shoes, boxer underwear, his pants, the contents of Shawn’s pockets including his chapstick and box of Certs, a laundry label and twelve cents of pocket change; Rita Nordmark’s car sunshade, Officer Dan Nordmark’s gun, the bullets, the gun’s magazine, and the bullet casing were all photographed, documented and listed in evidence at the Tarpon Springs Police Department. But, Dan Nordmark’s shirt was never listed in Tarpon Springs Police Department evidence nor was it photographed as evidence (Ex. 4). Special Circumstances?
Exhibit (1). Tarpon Springs Police Report, Officer Parsons: 09/02/01: Officer Parson’s September 02, 2001 police report states that at 4:00 AM, Sgt. Mackenzie took custody of the gun and one shell casing and he indicated, Shawn’s clothing and Dan Nordmark’s shirt were also taken and placed into Tarpon Springs Police Department evidence for further processing (pg. 2). Sgt. Mackenzie stated in his own report (Ex. 8; pg. 2) that he removed the shoe, window shade, the victim’s clothing and Dan Nordmark’s clothing. He said he secured the items and released the vehicle to the owner after processing and went to the Tarpon Springs Police Department and secured the evidence. (Dan Nordmark’s shirt was never listed in evidence nor was it photographed as evidence; and no FDLE agent, state attorney or investigator ever asked a single witness what Dan Nordmark was wearing that night). Special Circumstances?
Exhibit (22). Medical Examiner’s Report of Investigation, Louise A. Bell, Investigator; Conversations with Officers Parsons and Mackenzie ; 09/02/01: According to Louise Bell, the Medical Examiners’s investigator, she spoke with Sgt. Mackenzie on September 02, 2001 and he told her the shirt from the off-duty Officer had been collected and taken into evidence and he said the clothing from the decedent was collected and also placed into evidence (pgs. 1-2). (Officer Nordmark’s shirt had not been listed or photographed in evidence). Sgt. Mackenzie called Louise Bell again on 09/04/01 (Ex. 23). He told her there “there will be no charges filed in this case and they suspect no foul play. He also informed her that they had “processed the shirt from the off-duty Corrections Officer who was reportedly sitting in the front seat of the vehicle in which the decedent was shot” (ER Nurse Bianci stated in a deposition with the State Attorney’s Office that it was Dan Nordmark who drove the vehicle into the parking lot of the hospital. She was however, persuaded by the questioner to change her testimony as to that particular issue). Sgt. Mackenzie went on to tell Louise Bell that there was no blood spatter on Officer Nordmark’s shirt which he said, is consistent with the account given. Special Circumstances?
2. Detective Allen Mackenzie apparently based his “forensic” investigation on the assertion by his two “eyewitnesses” that the shot was self inflicted and both Shawn and Officer Nordmark handled the gun. Sgt. Mackenzie had no eyewitnesses and no credible evidence that Shawn ever touched the gun. The police report indicates that Sgt. Mackenzie , the lead Detective in the Investigation never interrogated either of the Nordmarks and did not contact or question any other witness or follow a single lead at any time in connection with Shawn McMillan’s shooting and subsequent death. “Special Circumstances?”
Exhibit (8). Tarpon Springs Supplement Police Report, Sgt. Allen Mackenzie : 09/04/01: Sgt. Mackenzie stated that upon his arrival, he was advised of the basics of the case. “Due to the amount of interviews that had been done, I decided not to repeat them but rather to concentrate on the forensics aspects of the case.” The shocking failure of the police to interview any credible witnesses is described below.
3. Officer Marc Parsons of the Tarpon Springs Police Department reportedly questioned only two individuals: Officer Dan Nordmark, the extremely inebriated and incoherent owner of the gun, who was slurring his words and barely able to stand up and his sister-in-law, Rita Nordmark who drove the car and denied ever seeing either man handle the gun. The Tarpon Springs police officers declared the Nordmarks’ as credible “eyewitnesses” in Shawn’s possible homicide after approximately only five minutes of questioning. And although sworn testimony indicates that other officers had pulled Officer Nordmark aside, Sgt. Mackenzie and Officer Parsons were the only two officers (of 6 - 8) on the scene who filed police reports.
Exhibit (70). FDLE Investigative Report, Special Agent Supervisor, Richard Pyles and John Halliday, Special Agent interview; Rita Nordmark; 10/04/01: Rita Nordmark said she was puzzled by the short interview she gave the Tarpon Springs police at the hospital that night. She thought she would be taken to the Tarpon Springs Police Department for a more in depth statement (pg. 3). “Special Circumstances?”
Exhibit (69). Civil Lawsuit Video Deposition of Rita Nordmark; 04/02/02: Rita Nordmark stated in a videotaped sworn deposition that Officer Parsons only spoke to her for approximately five to ten minutes, there were several interruptions during that time with a lot going on around them and Officer Parsons also discussed other issues during those few brief minutes rather than focusing only on the facts of the case. She also indicated that during the questioning Bernie Dillman and his girlfriend were arriving and she was trying to have them contact her husband and her in laws. She also told Officer Parsons “I need to call - I need to call Chris. I need to call my husband and to get him over there. And I couldn’t wake him up. I know that was included in the conversation. There were just so many people, so many police officers, and there’s a lot of things going on” (pgs. 26-28). She also stated that while Officer Parsons was talking to her, “there were other police officers with Danny on the side” (pg. 28). None filed police reports. “Special Circumstances?”
Exhibit (17). FDLE Investigative Report, Richard Pyles, SAS, John Halliday, SA, meeting w/ Tarpon Springs Police Department Captain Ron Holt & Sgt. Mackenzie ; 09/19/01: When questioned weeks later by FDLE agents in the presence of Tarpon Springs Police Captain Ron Holt, Detective Mackenzie told the men that several supplementary reports were yet to be completed by the patrol officers on the scene. (None of these supplementary reports were ever filed).
Exhibit (2). Tarpon Springs Supplement Police Report, Officer Parsons; 09/12/01: Officer Parsons described Dan Nordmark’s inebriation that night and said he displayed all of the classic signs of intoxication; bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, strong odor of alcohol, and could not maintain his balance, using a wall to lean on or actually sitting on the ground (pg. 1).
Exhibit (78). FDLE Investigative Report, John Halliday, Special Agent, Edward Werda; 11/29/01. Ed Werda, the manger of the Palms stated only hours before the shooting, Dan Nordmark had confided that he had combined LSD with the alcohol he consumed that night (Ex. 78; pg. 2).
4. Sgt. Mackenzie closed the case just one and a half days after Shawn’s death (Monday was a holiday). Sgt. Mackenzie and Officer Parsons failed to verify or substantiate the deceptive statements that were made by Rita and Dan Nordmark that night regarding their whereabouts and the events leading up to Shawn’s death; failed to contact the owner, management or patrons of the Shades Bar where the Nordmarks said they had been and failed to make any effort that night or in the days and weeks that followed to seek a single credible witness or pursue a single lead in the case to verify what later proved to be the Nordmarks’ dishonest and misleading statements.
On the night of the shooting, the Nordmarks stated they left the Shades Bar on Alt. 19 in Palm Harbor, Florida (they were never there), at approximately 2:00 A.M. on 09/02/01 and arrived at the hospital at 2:26 A.M. (Hospital records confirm the arrival time). The 3 - 4 minute drive from the Shades Bar to the Helen Ellis Hospital appeared to have taken them approximately 20-26 minutes. Why didn’t this get the attention of the Tarpon Springs police? As documented in the false police report, Dan Nordmark relayed that he and Shawn were alone at the Shades Bar located on Alternate 19 in Palm Harbor when a group of four or five males bothered them in the parking lot, prompting Officer Nordmark to retrieve his gun for “protection”. Officer Nordmark said Shawn approached, observed that he was intoxicated and asked to hold the gun. After handing the gun to Shawn, Officer Nordmark said he locked his keys in the car and called Rita Nordmark at home around closing time to pick them up at the Shades Bar. Rita agreed that, yes, she was at home when called and said she came and picked them up around 2:00 A.M. (In August of 2002 while testifying in Court, Officer Parsons confirmed under oath that Rita Nordmark told him she had picked Shawn and Officer Nordmark up at the Shades Bar that night).
The Nordmarks stated that as they were driving North on Alternate 19 from the Shades Bar and Shawn was talking and giving directions to his home, Shawn shot himself in the head in front of the Helen Ellis Hospital. Incidentally, Bernie Dillman, the man who it was later revealed had actually fired the gun in the parking lot of the British Pub just minutes before Shawn was shot, and his girlfriend, followed his good friend Dan Nordmark to the Helen Ellis Hospital that night but was never questioned by the Tarpon Springs police. His and Dan Nordmark’s drunken and angry actions that actually occurred that night were knowingly concealed and absent from the police report. Since that time at least two Tarpon Springs police have stated off the record that the police discussions that took place at the station the next morning indicated that the shooting did not occur in the car in front of the hospital but at another location while the drunken men were supposedly playing around with the gun. The two officers and a friend of Bernie Dillman’s have mentioned that the men had also attempted to play “Russian Roulette” with gun.
If the Tarpon Springs Police had questioned the Nordmarks for more than five useless and fragmented minutes; if they had interrogated a single credible witness; and if they had simply made even one contact with the employees and patrons of the Shades Bar, the Palms Bar and Grill or the British Pub, as I later did, they would have quickly and easily ascertained that the Nordmarks had never been to the Shades Bar as they reported; Rita was not at home when Officer Nordmark called her but had been with the men throughout the evening, Shawn never asked for or handled the gun and all of the events, times, characters etc., had apparently been contrived that night to hide the violent and reckless events of the evening and the fact that they had actually been at the Palms Bar and Grill and later were at the British Pub, a bar owned by Rita and Chris Nordmark (Dan Nordmark’s brother). Ed Werda, the manger of the Palms likely would have told them that Dan Nordmark had confided that he had combined LSD with the alcohol he consumed that night (Ex. 78; pg. 2). And Rita may have admitted (as she did in a later deposition) that she also saw a bag of Xanax in Bernie Dillman’s car that evening (Ex. 66; pg. 34). They would have learned that Officer Nordmark and Rita Nordmark had lied about being at the Shades Bar and they would have learned that the Nordmarks’ entire story had been fabricated. But for some reason the Tarpon Springs Police made no reasonable effort to seek the truth that night or in the days that followed. Why? “Special Circumstances?”
Officer Nordmark and his friend, Bernie Dillman had very good reason to conceal their true whereabouts and behavior which likely would have given honest, competent and skillful police officers valid reasons to suspect foul play as a major factor in Shawn’s death. According to sworn testimony, while at the Palms Bar and Grill, the extremely inebriated Officer Nordmark and Bernie Dillman had become furiously angry and argued with Kimberley Swailes, the Karaoke lady. This terrified young woman said she feared for her life and Shawn’s life after he tried to protect her from the drunken and belligerent men. She and other witnesses later described the two men as being violently angry and “evil” that night. Officer Nordmark’s confrontation with this frightened young woman at the Palms Bar and Grill is what prompted him to retrieve his gun and this is when and where he locked his keys in his car. This is directly contrary to his fabricated statement in the police report that he was at the Shades Bar where a group of four or five men bothered him, compelling Officer Nordmark to arm himself with the weapon.
Exhibit (72). State Attorney Sworn Deposition, Kimberley Swailes; 02/14/02: Kimberley Swailes testified that around 1:40 A.M. (pg. 7) on 09/02/01 at the Palms Bar and Grill, when it was time to end her Karaoke show, Dan Nordmark and Bernie Dillman began screaming obscenities at her and calling her every name in the book (pgs. 4-9 & 13). She said they surrounded her car, yelling at her as she loaded her equipment. She said Shawn came out and tried to calm the men and convince them to leave her alone (pgs. 8, 13,14). The one with the dark eyes [Dan Nordmark] shot Shawn a look that scared the hell out of her (pg. 8). She said the way they stared at Shawn gave her the creeps (pg. 18). She also told the State Attorney she felt Shawn was in danger that night and she did not believe he committed suicide (pgs.17-19). Ms. Swailes based that belief on the way the men looked at Shawn and their demeanor that night. She said, “they’re so mean. Every time they are there, something happens.” The State Attorney replied, it’s a pretty damn big leap then to say they went and killed somebody. To which Ms. Swailes replied, “Yeah, but somebody is dead”.
She expressed her belief that the way they looked at Shawn was pure evil and she was scared. “It was an evil look, like if I could kill you right now, I would. A look like that. I mean, I can’t explain it any other way except it was just a look like —like pure hatred.” (pg. 19). She said it was a very threatening look; they looked like they were pissed off at the world. She said it made her feel that if they had a gun, they would have shot Shawn right there. (pg. 20). She also said she definitely thought they were going to do something to Shawn and that was the impression she left with that night. She went on to describe the men’s past violent behavior while at the Palms Bar and Grill (pg. 21-22). The state attorney inquired as to her comments to ABC 28 that while she deeply appreciated Shawn’s intervention on her behalf; she also felt he might be harmed or killed. She reiterated that is the way she felt (pg 24). When asked about Shawn’s demeanor that night in the bar, she described him as being very sweet and very laid back (pg. 25).
Exhibit (53). State Attorney Sworn Deposition, Douglas Baird; 03/01/02: Douglas Baird told the State Attorney he had been helping Kimberley Swailes conduct her Karaoke show at the Palms Bar and Grill that night when he first encountered Dan Nordmark and Bernie Dillman around midnight. He told the State Attorney that as the night wore on Bernie Dillman became violently angry and Mr. Baird said he thought Bernie Dillman was going to kill somebody (pg.13-14). He said that after screaming profanities at Ms. Swailes, Bernie Dillman just looked like nothing could stop him at that point and he was ready to tear someone up (pg.14). Mr. Baird said he and Kimberley Swailes later talked about how eerie things were with the men and he commented that there is some type of violent nature there and he went on to explain the only other time he had that feeling about someone, the guy murdered an elderly woman in Pasco County (pg.15).
Finally, around 1:45 A.M after the drunken Dan Nordmark and Bernie Dillman had been told by management to leave the Palms Bar and Grill, Rita Nordmark left and drove Bernie Dillman to the British Pub. Meanwhile, after Officer Nordmark realized that he had locked his keys in his car, he called Rita Nordmark for a ride. She returned to the Palms Bar and Grill a few minutes later to pick up Shawn and Dan Nordmark. At that time, according to a sworn deposition, Dan Nordmark told Rita he had his gun in his pocket (Ex. 66; pg. 15). Shawn, never asked for the gun and it remained in Officer Nordmark’s possession. They proceeded to the British Pub, an establishment owned by Rita and Chris Nordmark.
In front of several witnesses at the British Pub, (Steve Newman (Ex. 62; pgs. 2-3), Victoria Mulvey (Ex. 60; pgs. 7-10 & 17-18), Kara Gillem (Ex. 59; pgs. 5-6), David Atkins (Ex. 52; pgs. 7-8), the extremely inebriated Dan Nordmark brought out the firearm again, handling it in a rude and careless manner in the presence of others and drunkenly waiving it around in the air. Officer Nordmark then jammed the slide several times in his intentional and purposeful efforts to load and cock the gun, thereby forcing the first bullet into the chamber. He then freely handed it to his drunken friend, Bernie Dillman, who, according to witnesses aimed the gun in a westerly direction toward an adjacent gas station and a largely occupied mobile home park and fired the weapon, forcing the next bullet into the chamber. It was just minutes later when the second bullet savagely tore through Shawn’s head (pulpifing his brain according to the autopsy report). Not one word of these events were included in the police report. There was no remotely credible evidence that Shawn shot himself. Why didn’t the Tarpon Springs police ask any relevant questions, seek any witnesses or pursue one single lead? “Special Circumstances?”
Although Dan Nordmark and his close friend, Bernie Dillman later told FDLE agents they were much too intoxicated to remember any of the details concerning their own actions that night or who supposedly handed the gun to Shawn, they both now seem to have a crystal clear memory of the new and improved version of how Shawn ended up with the gun, according to the Nordmarks, Bernie Dillman and Bernie Dillman’s girlfriend, which relays that after Bernie fired the gun, Shawn McMillan, (an exceptionally intelligent F.S.U. college graduate with a year of law school under his belt), became stupidly fascinated with the laser on the gun, took the weapon in his hands, played with the laser before putting the loaded gun into his own pocket and according to the Nordmarks fired a bullet into his brain a few minutes later while giving directions to his home. This is a totally different account of the fabricated circumstances and events first reported by the Nordmarks and documented in the police report where Dan Nordmark falsely indicated that Shawn took the gun at the Shades Bar to keep him from doing something stupid after being bothered by four or five males. However, the assertion that Shawn had possession of the gun has been disputed by at least four objective witnesses who watched the men in the parking lot of the British Pub that night and have testified under oath that Shawn never asked for or touched the gun and did not participate in the men’s reckless actions. It should also be noted that Shawn was currently living at his father’s home where several guns and live ammunition have been kept in plain sight throughout Shawn’s lifetime. He was never interested in handling any of the guns and was far too intelligent to foolishly handle loaded firearms whether there was a laser attached or not. He was simply trying to get a ride home that night. Did anyone care about what Shawn suffered that night while the blatant lies and fabrications surrounding his horrible death were being contrived and documented in the official police reports? Apparently, the Tarpon Springs police were not interested in discovering the truth or exposing the tremendously incriminating information that had been concealed that night. “Special Circumstances?”
In fact, months later when a St. Petersburg Times reporter interviewed Sgt. Mackenzie regarding the discrepancies surrounding the whereabouts of the Nordmarks that night, he was quoted as saying no investigation is needed into which bars Dan Nordmark and Shawn visited and he stated, “They were both drunk, where they got drunk is not relevant to what happened in the car.” (Ex.37; pg. 4; 02/10/02).
How did the Nordmarks, who were supposedly separated by the police, both manage to place their location that night at the Shades Bar although none of them had been to the Shades Bar at all that evening. And was it just sheer coincidence that neither of the Nordmarks mentioned Bernie Dillman, Kimberley Swailes, the Palms Bar and Grill or the British Pub where the gun was loaded cocked and fired minutes before Shawn was shot? Why wouldn’t that evidence be extremely relevant and important to Detective Mackenzie ? How is it possible for Detective Mackenzie to maintain that the Nordmarks’ statement that the gunshot was self inflicted is credible and truthful evidence regardless of the many lies that were told apparently to cover up the true events of the evening and regardless of the brand new version of how Shawn ended up with the gun. “Special Circumstances?”
Incredibly, the authorities have justified the lies about the Nordmarks’ and Bernie Dillman’s actions and whereabouts by simply stating that with all of the confusion that night, the Nordmarks just forgot the name of the bar. But the Nordmarks, Bernie Dillman and Bernie Dillman’s girlfriend were all at the British Pub when the Nordmarks left in their car allegedly to take Shawn home. Rita and Chris Nordmark (Dan Nordmark’s brother) were joint owners of the British Pub. How did they forget the name of their own bar? More importantly, if the Nordmarks were running frantically around the parking lot and in and out of the Helen Ellis emergency room as they later told the FDLE agents and were separated and interviewed by the Tarpon Springs police at the scene (Ex. 70; pg. 3), when did they find time to get together alone to fabricate and corroborate the elaborate misrepresentation of what transpired that night including locations, characters, times, conversations and their initial version as to how and why Shawn supposedly gained possession of the gun. Could it have been before they arrived at the hospital? Where were they during the 20-26 minute gap in their drive to the hospital? Again, why wasn’t this extremely important and incriminating information relevant to Detective Mackenzie? Did Officer Nordmark receive any help with his fabricated story from the police? Contrary to Officer Parsons’ sworn testimony, Rita Nordmark has alleged that she never mentioned the Shades Bar and that the name of that Bar originated with the Tarpon Springs police. Was Rita Nordmark innocently swept up into what Sgt. Mackenzie referred to as “Special Circumstances” against her will and in fear for her own life and livelihood? Did her marriage to Officer Nordmark’s brother influence her statements? Or was she a voluntary participant in the lies and deceptions that were apparently fabricated during the investigation into Shawn’s terrible death?
It is also troubling that sometime after their first meetings with the State Attorney, crucial witnesses, Kimberley Swailes and Ed Werda, the manager of the Palms Bar and Grill were threatened after Officer Nordmark and several male friends came to their place of employment.
Exhibit (74). State Attorney Investigative Report, Kimberley Swailes re: Telephone Threats; 02/26/02: Ms. Swailes told the state attorney investigator, Steve Porter that on February 22, 2002, while she was working at the Palms Bar and Grill, Dan Nordmark, accompanied by several of his friends was trying to intimidate her by glaring at her (pg. 1). She said that at one point Dan Nordmark approached her boyfriend and told him if he had a problem with him, he would take him outside and kick his ass (pg. 2). After Dan Nordmark and his friends left the bar, she received a phone call and the male caller said, “I know where you work bitch” and hung up (pg. 2). Witness, Ed Werda, received threats against his life that evening as documented in the Pinellas County Sheriff’s report below.
Exhibit (73). Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Incident/Offense Report; Ed Werda re: Telephone Threats; 02/22/02: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Incident/Offense Report; Ed Werda, the manager of the Palms Bar and Grill told the Deputy Sheriff an unknown male told him that he would be killed when leaving the bar after his shift ended. He indicated that he did not recognize the male’s voice but advised it could have been Dan and may be related to an ongoing homicide investigation from Tarpon Springs he was currently involved in. At 2:00A.M., the deputy was called back to the bar when Mr. Werda was threatened over the telephone again. The Deputy stated that two patrons pointed out a male subject outside of the bar near a dumpster talking on his cell phone. Although the patrons did not know if he was the one who made the threatening phone calls, he was identified as Scott Kaufman. The case was closed pending further leads.
Exhibit (75). State Attorney Investigative Report, Kimberley Swailes re: Telephone Threats; 03/07/02: The State Attorney’s office investigated and found that seven calls had been made from the same telephone number between midnight and 2:00 A.M on 02/22/02; According to the State Attorney Investigator, Verizon could not trace the number as it was marked private. He stated that Scott Kaufman, the man seen calling from a cell phone by the dumpster was not known by the parties, and there was no further investigation. If someone had spent three minutes on the Pinellas County records web site, they would have found that Scott Kaufman was obviously one of Bernie Dillman’s friends and had been cited along with him for fishing without a license on 6/26/98 (Ex.58). Why wasn’t Scott Kaufman questioned further regarding any knowledge he may have had as to why key witnesses were being threatened. (According to Verizon personnel, even telephone calls marked private can be traced when the information is subpoenaed).
A few days after Shawn’s death, and after I expressed serious concerns regarding the lack of a thorough police investigation by the Tarpon Springs police officers, Sgt. Mackenzie went to the State Attorney’s office and reviewed the case on an “informal basis” and according to his supplemental report, the result was that no basis existed at that time for any criminal charges. During a court proceeding involving Dan Nordmark, it was mentioned that it had most likely been Assistant State Attorney, Bruce Bartlett who met with Sgt. Mackenzie that day and who later was assigned to investigate Shawn’s death and the findings of the Tarpon Springs Police.
On May 10, 2002, the St. Petersburg Times reported that this same Assistant State Attorney, said that prosecutors found no evidence to contradict the Tarpon Springs police conclusion that the fatal gunshot was self inflicted. He also stated that it wasn’t clear how the gun got into Shawn’s hands but some witnesses said he asked for the gun. Sadly, Mr. Bartlett did not reveal that those witnesses were Dan Nordmark, his sister-in-law, Rita Nordmark, his close friend, Bernie Dillman and Bernie Dillman’s girlfriend who was barely acquainted with Shawn, had only been at the Pub for a few minutes before leaving for home and who likely wanted to protect her boyfriend. Neither was it disclosed that at least four objective and unbiased witnesses who watched the men that night in the parking lot of the British Pub and who have nothing to gain or lose by their testimony, have verified under oath that Shawn was only trying to get a ride home and never touched the gun. Our family has a recording of Shawn calling home around 10:00 pm looking for his brother, Daniel and he was obviously happy and carefree and simply needed a ride home. Nor was it revealed that approximately fifty friends, family members and ATO Fraternity Brothers who were Shawn’s closest confidants and who knew and loved him had written very strong letters to the State Attorney’s office adamantly explaining that Shawn would never have shot himself (Ex. 86). They were all completely ignored. None of these people were ever interviewed by the State Attorney or by the FDLE.
Instead the authorities relied on false police reports provided by the Nordmarks and inaccurate and misleading testimony regarding Shawn’s mental status which was gathered from the Nordmarks’ biased friends, one of the Nordmarks’ long time employees at the British Pub and her brother and another man with a criminal record who had been banned from our home because of his offensive behavior, who had taunted Shawn by constantly calling him poor little rich boy and other derisive names, and who was allegedly fired from a locally owned Deli for stealing money. In his first statement to the FDLE, he said Shawn was angry at his mother and it had gotten worse during the two weeks before his death and he probably committed suicide. In his next sworn deposition a few months later, he told the state attorney things were especially wonderful between Shawn and his mother during the last two weeks because, as this armchair shrink stated, when people are going to commit suicide they reconcile with their loved ones. This same man went on to tell the state attorney how Shawn hugged him good bye that night as if this implied he would never see him again and planned on committing suicide. Obviously, it never occurred to him that when he left the bar that night, no one even knew a gun would be bought into the environment and Shawn obviously had no plans for suicide. Even Rita Nordmark testified under oath that Shawn was happy and having a great time and there had been no indication of depression or suicidal plans.
Shawn’s true friends and family were ignored while, the biased witnesses chosen by the FDLE and the State Attorney’s office obviously disliked Shawn, distorted the truth and slandered him and our family with heartbreaking and devastatingly painful remarks after his death. Shawn would have been deeply hurt by their comments. The authorities even ignored and refused to interview any of the attorneys and staff at the law office where Shawn worked at the time of his death and who would have revealed his strong work ethics, happy disposition and his excitement about his upcoming position with American Express. “Special Circumstances?”
Sadly, with the help of the state’s witnesses mentioned above, the truth was covered up and Shawn was portrayed as a loser and utter failure with no reason to live. They focused attention on a DUI and reckless driving charge in his past and ignored the fact that this was the only trouble he had ever gotten into during his lifetime. He was a loving, happy and highly motivated young man. The authorities ignored all of his many outstanding accomplishments including his appointment as Director of Student Lobbing for FSU, his service as the Legislative Liaison between FSU and the Florida Legislature, his internship with then Senate President, Toni Jennings (now Lieutenant Governor), his extensive activities to promote School Spirit as a member of both the FSU Scalp Hunters and the Seminole Boosters, his many accomplishments and charitable works as a member of ATO Fraternity and his prestigious award of the Goodwin Fellowship for excellence while attending Nova Law School. They minimized his well recognized achievements down to a very small part of his life and took a very short negative period, inflated and focused attention on that brief time to make it appear to be a huge and all encompassing part of Shawn’s life driving him to suicide. This is an absolute lie. Discrediting victims and witnesses to protect the reputations of the police is a well known technique utilized by law enforcement throughout Florida to shield other police officers regardless of their crimes. . “Special Circumstances?”
5. Sgt. Mackenzie failed to impound Rita Nordmark’s vehicle and failed to collect and preserve any evidence that would have been found in the vehicle had it been properly processed according to police procedure. Instead, Sgt. Mackenzie released the vehicle to Rita Nordmark in less than two hours and Tarpon Springs police secured peroxide from the Emergency Room and instructed Rita Nordmark to begin cleaning the blood (evidence) from the car while still in the hospital parking lot.
A Tarpon Springs police officer went into the emergency room, less than two hours after the Nordmarks’ arrival, spoke to the ER nurse, Dawn Bianci and requested cleaning agents to remove the blood (evidence) from the vehicle (Ex. 55; pgs. 11,14,15). Peroxide and towels were provided and the police instructed Rita Nordmark to start cleaning out the car while still in the parking lot of the hospital. Rita Nordmark later told FDLE agents that she was surprised that her car was released to her at the hospital and she expected it to be towed away and kept for more thorough testing (Ex. 70; pg. 3). Over the next two days, a hose was placed inside the car to flood it and the vehicle was exhaustively scrubbed many times with Oxyclean and soap by Rita Nordmark (Ex. 66; pgs. 30-32) and her mother in law (Ex. 65; pg. 3-4). Then Rita Nordmark drove the vehicle to Carsmetics on U.S. Hwy 19 in Palm Harbor where an employee spent most of the afternoon meticulously scouring and scrubbing the seats, the sail panel and the head liner of the car with soapy water and paint thinner. He said the back passenger windows had already been thoroughly cleaned and shined by the time Rita Nordmark brought the vehicle to him (Ex. 80).
Exhibit (55). State Attorney Sworn Deposition; Dawn Bianci, Helen Ellis Emergency Room Nurse; 02/28/02: Diane Bianci, the Helen Ellis Emergency room nurse told the State Attorney that the Tarpon Springs police came into the hospital and asked her for cleaning agents so that Rita Nordmark could begin cleaning the car. Nurse Bianci said she took the peroxide and towels and went outside herself and physically helped Rita Nordmark clean the blood in the seat and down on the floor (pgs. 10-11). Nurse Bianci stated they were cleaning the car approximately two hours after Shawn had been brought in to the hospital parking lot (pg.14). Nurse Bianci stated she poured peroxide onto the blood and kept blotting and blotting to get it out (pg.15).
Exhibit (37). St. Petersburg Times; Report to Tell if Case Handled Fairly; 02/10/02: Sgt. Mackenzie told the reporter the car was released after a couple of hours because he no longer needed it as evidence (pg. 4).
Exhibit (39). St. Petersburg Times; Inquiry: Deadly Gunshot Self-Inflicted; 06/28/02: The State Attorney informed the reporter that the Tarpon Springs police “undoubtably” should have impounded the car on the night of the shooting instead of releasing it after examining the blood in the car (pg. 1). Even Sgt. Mackenzie’s Boss and Superior Officer, Tarpon Springs Police Chief, Mark LeCouris was quoted as saying Sgt. Mackenzie and others working on the case should have impounded the car and should have asked for a second opinion about blood spatter in the car that night from either the FDLE or the Pinellas County Sheriffs office (pg. 2). Why didn’t Sgt. Mackenzie follow normal police procedure that night? Special Circumstances?
6. Three Tarpon Springs police officers who searched for the gun, the hospital
security guard and the ER Nurse who felt around and under the seats were
unable to locate or secure the gun after the shooting. Police photographs
taken later showed the gun in clear and obvious view on the back floor of the
vehicle. Was the firearm there when they first searched or was it
intentionally placed there later to give the false impression that Shawn had
fired the gun?
Exhibit (1). Tarpon Springs Police Report, Officer Parsons, 09/02/01: Officer Parsons stated that when he was summoned at 2: 26 A.M., Dispatch advised him that the Helen Ellis Hospital operator called stating their security guard needed the police to respond to a report of a gunshot victim in their parking lot and parked in front of the emergency room doors. She further advised that the gun was not located (pg. 1). This is verified by the Tarpon Springs Police Location/Time and Activity Computer Print Out (Ex. 3; pg. 1-2). In addition, Officer Parsons stated in his police report that upon arrival, Officers Schmidt and Simmons were already on the scene (and had not located the weapon) and then Officer Parsons made contact with the security guard who told the officer he did not know where the gun was (pg. 1).
According to the police report, Officer Parsons then checked inside the vehicle himself and could not locate the weapon, so he next proceeded into the emergency room to see if Shawn (Post Code Blue) had the gun in his possession. Obviously Shawn did not have the weapon. Did Officer Parsons then search Dan and Rita Nordmark to see if they had the gun? No! The police report reflects that sometime after that, Sgt. Schmidt came and told Officer Parsons he had searched again and had now located the gun, on the rear passenger side floorboard. Special Circumstances?
Exhibit (55). State Attorney Sworn Deposition; Dawn Bianci, Helen Ellis Emergency Room Nurse; 02/28/02: Nurse Bianci, the ER Nurse who found Shawn in the car told the State Attorney that she never saw the gun in the back of the car. Nurse Bianci even testified that she felt around for the gun because Dan Nordmark told her Shawn shot himself and she did not want to get shot. She said she was afraid that Shawn was lying on the gun and did not want it to fire while they were dragging him, so she purposely attempted to locate the gun. She assured the State Attorney she actually felt around and under the seats looking for the gun but never saw or felt the weapon (pg. 6,7). She had Shawn’s lower extremities during his removal from the vehicle and at least part of the time would have been leaning in through the back passenger door close to where the gun was later found or placed; She also told the State attorney she did not see the bullet casing on the seat.
Three Tarpon Springs police officers, equipped with powerful flashlights who deliberately searched for the weapon, a hospital security guard who was aware of the shooting, and the ER nurse who intentionally looked for the weapon and who actually felt with her hands around and under the seats searching for the gun, could not locate the weapon. Minutes later the gun was found in open view and the official police photos taken a little while later clearly show the gun on the middle of the floor against the hump in the back seat (Ex. 29). There was nothing else on the floor except for the gun. No one could have missed seeing the gun if it had been there immediately after the shooting.
7. Based on non-existent “eyewitness” testimony that both Shawn and Officer Nordmark handled the gun, Tarpon Springs Police failed to perform gunshot residue tests on anyone’s hands which could have proven that Shawn never touched the gun; and the Tarpon Springs police failed to cover Shawn’s hands in the hospital as is normal procedure to preserve evidence in a shooting case. “Special Circumstances?”
Sgt. Mackenzie had no competent testimony or evidence of any kind that Shawn ever handled the gun. Shawn was dying and was unable to speak for himself or tell anyone that he had not handled the gun or that someone else had shot him. Sgt. Mackenzie and the other police officers had a clear legal and ethical obligation to assume that responsibility on Shawn’s behalf and to administer GSR tests to protect Shawn’s interests and to prove that he had not touched the gun. Sgt. Mackenzie ignored that obligation and knowingly failed to test for gun residue on either of the men’s hands. Officer Nordmark was allowed to walk away from the hospital in less than two hours with no physical evidence whatsoever gathered from him by any of the Tarpon Springs police. “Special Circumstances?”
Furthermore, it is common knowledge that it is standard police procedure to cover a victim’s hands for the purpose of preserving GSR and other evidence. Shawn’s hands were not covered and the police stood around and watched as I held and touched his hands, head and body. There were no visible marks, soot, blackness, blood spatter or other discoloration of any kind on Shawn’s hands. Shawn could have been shot outside of the car, through the open window or if he were shot from the front seat, his hands would have been behind the car seats and well out of the way of discharging gun residue and lead blowback when the gun was fired. Was this simply police incompetence or was it known that no gun residue would be found on Shawn’s hands?
Exhibit (19). State Attorney Investigative Report regarding meeting: State Atty. Investigator, Tarpon Springs Police Captain Kochen and Sgt. Allen Mackenzie ; 04/12/02: Sgt. Mackenzie indicated (pg. 1) to the men that no gunshot residue testing (GSR) was done on Shawn McMillan, Dan Nordmark or Bernie Dillman, because all three men handled the gun and therefore, those circumstances failed to meet FDLE GSR submission criteria which states “Samples should not be submitted for subjects found in possession of the gun or who are known to have handled the firearm” (Ex. 41.) Shawn was not found in possession of the firearm and Sgt. Mackenzie had no reliable or credible evidence of any kind that Shawn ever touched the gun yet he failed to test for gunshot residue. (It’s interesting that he mentioned Bernie Dillman who was never questioned by the Tarpon Springs police).
Exhibit (36). St. Petersburg Times ; Mother Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit; 12/11/01: Sgt. Mackenzie told the reporter residue tests would not have indicated whether Nordmark fired a shot or just held the gun (pg. 1). (If this is true, GSR tests could have proven that Shawn had no gunshot residue on his hands and did not handle or fire the gun). Special Circumstances?
Exhibit (37). St. Petersburg Times 02/10/02, Report to Tell if Case Handled Fairly: Sgt. Mackenzie told the reporter that gunshot residue tests are most effective in showing that someone did handle a gun when they claimed not to (pg. 4). (Doesn’t the same theory apply if Shawn had been able to say he never held the gun and never fired the shot)?
Exhibit (22). Medical Examiner’s Report of Investigation, Louise A. Bell, Investigator; 09/02/01: Sgt. Mackenzie told Investigator, Louise Bell that gunshot residue swabs were not taken on either male since both had reportedly handled the gun and no foul play was suspected.
Exhibit (12). Tarpon Springs Police Detective Allen Mackenzie meeting with victim’s mother, Michaela E. Mahoney and Margaret Mackay; 09/06/01: Sgt. Mackenzie stated he did not perform any residue tests on the gun, because his eyewitnesses, said that both men handled the gun. When pressed, he stated his two eyewitnesses (whom he never spoke to and Officer Parson spoke to for approx. five minutes) were Rita Nordmark who never said she saw the gun that night and the inebriated law enforcement officer who owned the gun that killed Shawn. According to Detective Mackenzie , a GSR residue test would not show any difference if Shawn had touched the gun and Officer Nordmark had fired the gun. But what if Shawn never handled the gun? Simply taking GSR residue tests could have proven that Shawn had not handled the weapon. Why didn’t Sgt. Mackenzie test for gun residue? “Special Circumstances?”
Incidentally, a few days after Shawn’s death, I saw Tarpon Springs police Officer Miller, who had been on the scene that night, and I asked why Sgt. Mackenzie had not done any residue tests on Shawn or Dan Nordmark. Officer Miller stated, “he (Mackenzie) did do residue tests.” As Officer Miller made this statement he demonstrated by using one hand to act like he was pulling a material across his fingers on his other hand. I then told him that Sgt. Mackenzie said he did not do any residue tests. Officer Miller looked shocked, then recanted saying well maybe he didn’t but it’s procedure. Two other people were also present during this conversation. Were the tests done as Officer Miller indicated? Were the results concealed? Or were normal police procedures ignored?
8. The Police did not obtain a single fingerprint from the gun although it is now alleged that three men handled the gun that night; and it appears that the gun may have been covered and smudged with grey powder, completely obliterating all possible fingerprints before the FDLE crime lab took possession of the firearm from the Tarpon Springs Police Department; Sgt. Mackenzie claims to be trained in processing crime scenes and lifting fingerprints and told the State Attorney’s office he processed the firearm himself.
On 09/06/01, Margaret Mackay and I met with Detective Mackenzie in his office at the Tarpon Springs Police Department. Sgt. Mackenzie told us that he did not take fingerprints on the gun because he had eyewitness testimony that both men had handled the weapon. He then told us he took Shawn’s fingerprints in the hospital and then Shawn’s hands were washed. This seemed very odd (Ex. 12; pg. 2). Later he alleged that he attempted to take fingerprints from the gun. But it should be noted that in his 09/04/01 Police Supplemental Report regarding that night, Sgt. Mackenzie described his “Forensic” investigation and everything he did during his examination of the evidence. He never mentioned or documented that he ever attempted to take any fingerprints from the gun (Ex. 8). When Shawn’s father, Richard called the T.S.P.D. early on the morning of 09/02/01, he was also told that no fingerprints were taken because both men handled the gun. A family friend who called Sgt. Mackenzie on Tuesday, was given the same information that the gun was not checked for fingerprints. Subsequently, on April 04, 2002, during a meeting with the State Attorney investigator, Steve Porter and Tarpon Springs Police Captain Kochen, Sgt. Mackenzie indicated that he attempted to lift fingerprints from the gun and told the men he had been trained in processing crime scenes and lifting latent prints and had processed the firearm himself. (Ex. 19). Why couldn’t he find a single fingerprint?
It’s obvious that Dan Nordmark’s prints would be there after he handled the clip and the weapon as he waived it around in the air, loaded and cocked it. And Bernie Dillman’s fingerprints would also be present because he too handled the weapon before firing it just minutes before Shawn was shot. Based on what Sgt. Mackenzie called his “eyewitness” testimony, he maintained that Shawn also handled the gun. According to Sgt. Mackenzie , three different men handled the gun and one or two fired the weapon. The Tarpon Springs Police photos clearly show how smooth and clean the gun is, with plenty of flat areas on the sides, top and other areas of the gun and on the clip (Ex. 30). Why was Detective Mackenzie who claims to be trained in Forensics unable to lift one single print from the weapon? Did someone wipe all of the prints off and smudge the gun with fingerprint powder because it was known that Shawn never touched the gun and only Officer Nordmark’s and Bernie Dillman’s prints would have been found on the weapon? “Special Circumstances?”
Richard Pyles, an FDLE Special Agent Supervisor later stated to me and to others that the “Tarpon Springs police had completely obliterated all of the fingerprints from the gun,” it was covered and smudged with grey powder and there was not one print on the gun by the time the FDLE received it in late September. Agent Pyles also told the State attorney that the gun had black powder on it which had been smudged when the FDLE finally received it from Tarpon Springs police (Ex. 40; pg. 7, paragraph 2). The FDLE Crime Lab requested the weapon for examination but noted that no latent prints of value were found (Ex. 15). Conversely, the Tarpon Springs Police Department evidence photos (Ex. 30) clearly show that the gun was shiny and clean with no powder or smudging of any kind on it the day Mackenzie officially closed the case on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 (Monday was a holiday), just one and one half days after Shawn’s death. Why doesn’t it raise great suspicion as to why there is not one fingerprint found on the gun? If Shawn had touched that gun and his fingerprints were present, would police have managed to find them and make the information public? “Special Circumstances?”
9. The police witnessed Officer Nordmark’s extreme intoxication, knew he had illegally handled and used a loaded firearm while intoxicated (defined by Florida Statutes as having a firearm readily accessible for immediate discharge) yet failed to conduct any alcohol or drug tests and failed to make any arrests. “Special Circumstances?”
Not only did police fail to arrest and properly interrogate Officer Nordmark or conduct alcohol
and drug tests on him, but they initially failed to even document Officer Nordmark’s extreme
intoxication in their police reports until several days after Shawn’s death when I demanded to
know why this information was excluded from the police reports at which time Sgt. Mackenzie E-mailed Officer Parsons instructing him to supplement his report.
Exhibit (13). E-Mail sent by Sgt. Allen Mackenzie to Marc Parsons; 09/12/01: Detective Mackenzie instructed Officer Parsons to supplement his police report and to start by saying he asked Officer Parsons to go into more detail about Officer Nordmark’s intoxication. He went on to tell Officer Parsons that the mother of the victim has gotten all of the reports and photographs and is not satisfied with the investigation. He also told officer Parsons that the case was not going to go away and they would be in court over the case in the future. He then instructed Officer Parsons to leave the draft of the report on his desk and he advised that the Officer may want to read his attached Supplements he (Sgt. Mackenzie ) had drafted.
Exhibit (2). Tarpon Springs Supplement Police Report, Officer Parsons; 09/12/01: After receiving the above E-Mail, Officer Parsons composed the Supplement to his police report and described Dan Nordmark’s inebriation that night stating he displayed all of the classic signs of intoxication; bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, strong odor of alcohol, and could not maintain his balance, using a wall to lean on or actually sitting on the ground.
Exhibit (57). FDLE Investigative Report, Special Agent Supervisor, Richard Pyles and John Halliday, Special Agent interview Bernie Dillman;10/11/01: Bernie Dillman told the FDLE agents that the events throughout the evening were quite fuzzy and unclear to him due to the fact that he drank heavily throughout the afternoon, evening and into the early morning hours. He told the agents he blacked out a lot of the events that evening and he did not recall firing the gun due to his blackout but Dan Nordmark told him that he (Bernie Dillman) was extremely intoxicated and did in fact fire the weapon in an unknown direction. Bernie Dillman also told the FDLE agents, he and his girlfriend ended up at the Helen Ellis Hospital after Shawn was shot, but he does not recall much of the events that occurred there due to his intoxicated condition. (The Tarpon police never even questioned Bernie Dillman, or if they did, it was not reported).
Exhibit (64). FDLE Investigative Report, Special Agent Supervisor, Richard Pyles and John Halliday, Special Agent interview with Officer Dan Nordmark;11/07/01: Officer Nordmark, later told the FDLE agents he was quite intoxicated that night (pg 1); and he stated that after Bernie fired the gun, he does recall at one point in time he had the gun back in his possession, but somehow Shawn ended up with it in the end. He said the change of possession was rather unclear to him at that time. He then said Shawn retrieved the gun from Bernie after it was discharged. He again stated he was quite intoxicated and did not recall all of the events and their sequence (pg. 2). (Conversely, his good friend, Bernie Dillman later alleged to a reporter that Dan Nordmark handed the gun to Shawn (Ex. 35; pg. 2).
Exhibit (60). State Attorney Sworn Deposition, Victoria Mulvey; 02/19/02: Ms. Mulvey stated that within twenty four hours of the shooting she asked Dan Nordmark how Shawn ended up with the gun because he and Bernie Dillman had it. She persisted and asked a second time, why would Shawn have it and she said he was never able to give her a conclusive answer (pg. 13).
Four objective witnesses who watched the men in the British Pub parking lot stated that Shawn never touched the gun (Steve Newman (Ex. 63; pg. 8), Victoria Mulvey (Ex. 60; pg. 8), Kara Gillem (Ex. 59; pg. 6), David Atkins (Ex. 52; pg. 9).
Several witnesses have since testified about the extent of Dan Nordmark’s and Bernie Dillman’s drunkenness that night: Kara Gillem told the State Attorney that the men were all very intoxicated, sloppy and staggering around (Ex. 59; pg. 8, line 1); Ed Werda, a Palms Bar employee reported to an FDLE agent that on the night of the incident, Dan Nordmark and Bernie Dillman were very intoxicated and Mr. Werda stated that Officer Nordmark told him that he had also taken LSD (Ex. 78; pg. 2). Kimberley Swailes testified in a sworn deposition to the State attorney (Ex. 72) that Dan
Nordmark and Bernie Dillman were on their asses drunk that night and she said they came in days later and told her they were blind drunk on tequila and don’t remember what they did (pg. 13).
10. Officer Dan Nordmark apparently received special treatment and avoided arrest by the Tarpon Springs Police officers on a previous occasion when a Tarpon Springs resident reported that three men appeared to be using marijuana in a vehicle as they passed a “cigarette” back and forth among themselves. When approached by the police officers, the obvious smell of burning marijuana was reported and the police stated all three men had been drinking in the vehicle from three large open alcohol containers. The police also found drug paraphernalia and a marijuana pipe in the ashtray and one of the men had stuffed the marijuana down his pants. Officer Nordmark was not arrested, was not drug and alcohol tested and one of the Tarpon Springs police officers allegedly drove him home. One of these same police officers (Miller) was also on the scene the night Shawn was shot. “Special Circumstances?”
Exhibit (20). Tarpon Springs Police Report; Offense Incident Report and Persons Report: Dan Nordmark drugs and open alcohol container; 02/07 /99: The Tarpon Springs Police were contacted by a citizen who said three white males were in a vehicle with the dome light on and she believed they were smoking dope because they were passing what looked like a cigarette to each other. Upon arriving, Tarpon Springs Police Officer Eaton said he immediately smelled cannabis. When Officer Miller approached he also stated that he could smell the aroma of marijuana, and saw a pipe, a silver tube and rolling papers in clear view. He searched the van and found three large open bottles of alcohol. Officer Eaton noted that all three had been drinking alcohol. One man had stuffed the marijuana down his pants and was issued a Notice to Appear. A Tarpon Springs police officer apparently drove Officer Nordmark home and did not arrest him or drug and alcohol test him. Special Circumstances?
Exhibit (21). Office of the Inspector General, Department of Corrections 02/07/99: Corrections Officer, Sgt. Mark Reynolds reported that state employee, Officer Nordmark was an occupant of a vehicle in which Tarpon Springs police officers indicated strong odors of burnt marijuana had emanated for the vehicle and numerous items of drug paraphernalia and open containers of alcohol were discovered. The police stated one of the men had placed the marijuana down his pants and all three men had been drinking alcohol. Colonel R. Edwards of the Department of Corrections stated even though Officer Nordmark was not arrested, his presence where illegal actions took place was not condoned. As he did on the night Shawn died, Officer Nordmark denied the allegations. He told his supervisor, Donald DeWitt, that he was smoking a cigar not marijuana and the police must be mistaken that they smelled marijuana. He also said there were no open alcohol containers in the vehicle and he was not aware of any drug paraphernalia in the vehicle. He reminded the supervisor that he had not been arrested, the police knew he was a Corrections Officer and one of the Tarpon Springs Police Officers had driven him home. Is this a credible and honest man? This same Officer Nordmark who was so intoxicated he could barely stand up and who had drunkenly pulled out and loaded his gun in full view of several frightened patrons outside of a bar was touted as Sgt. Mackenzie’s credible eyewitness the night Shawn was shot. Why was Officer Nordmark allowed to leave crime scenes with no repercussions on two separate occasions? “Special Circumstances?”
Exhibit (37). St. Petersburg Times; Report to Tell if Case Handled Fairly; 02/10/02: In conversations with Tarpon Springs Police Captain, Ron Holt, the St. Pete Times reporter inquired about the fact that Dan Nordmark had a letter in his Department of Corrections file reprimanding him for being present where illegal activities were taking place (pg. 5). Capt. Holt responded to the reporter by saying everyone in the van had been drinking alcohol so the Tarpon Springs police officers had people come and pick Dan Nordmark up. Capt. Holt said Dan Nordmark did not get any breaks from the Tarpon Springs police that night either. (Doesn’t Captain Holt know it is illegal to smoke marijuana, to possess drug paraphernalia and to drink from and possess open alcohol containers in a motor vehicle)? Have the Tarpon Springs Police ever arrested and charged “non-law enforcement” residents for any of these types of offenses?
11. Sgt. Mackenzie stated that when Shawn was shot, he was sitting in the middle of the back seat and leaning forward giving directions home. Dan Nordmark, himself told the FDLE that Shawn was sitting toward the middle of the back seat, leaning up toward the area between the front seats, talking and smoking a cigarette. Dan Nordmark (the last person seen holding the gun by credible witnesses) was seated in the front passenger bucket seat where in his drunken condition easily could have fired the gun at Shawn; This account has now been altered placing Shawn directly behind the passenger seat and against the back passenger window where according to police it would have been impossible for Dan Nordmark to shoot Shawn in the temple (he was shot in the right side of his forehead). There is no corroborating evidence to support this altered version of where Shawn sat in the vehicle.
The new seating position is based on one hair allegedly found on the back
passenger window a month after the car was scrubbed with peroxide, Oxyclean
and paint thinner and driven throughout that month by Rita Nordmark in
scorching heat and drenching rain. Although Law Enforcement alleges this hair
came from Shawn, DNA tests which should be able to isolate Shawn’s DNA from
millions of individuals’ proved only that the hair came from a male and the one
and only marker (out of a possible 13 markers), matching Shawn’s DNA is found
in approximately one of every three persons (ten fold rule). Furthermore, the
FDLE’s own DNA tests clearly indicate that there is a higher probability that the
hair came from an African American male. Shawn was a blonde and blue eyed
FDLE agent, John Halliday, alleged that blood spots (which were not matched to Shawn’s blood), with one hair found a full month after the shooting were visible to the naked eye (Ex. 46; pg. 1). If that were even remotely true, and blood had actually sprayed onto the back passenger window, wouldn’t Sgt. Mackenzie (who claims to be trained in processing crime scenes) have photographed it? Furthermore, a Carsmetics employee stated that the windows were clean and shining when Rita Nordmark brought it to be detailed and intensely cleaned again two days after the shooting. He too would have seen any visible blood spatter had it been there at that time.
It is now claimed that the tiny strand of hair supposedly found on the vehicle window a month after the shooting proves that the Nordmarks’ latest story is true and Shawn shot himself in the head while sitting against the back passenger window. This is contrary to Dan Nordmark’s earlier statement that Shawn was sitting toward the middle talking and leaning forward between the two front seats. The ER nurse and Rita Nordmark also testified that Shawn was sitting more toward the middle of the back seat. Furthermore, FDLE Agent, John Halliday’s official report indicated there was a follicle (root) on the hair shaft which is absolutely necessary for STR - DNA analysis. This information is false. The FDLE crime lab analyst’s handwritten notes clearly indicate that there was no root on the hair and the testing was only done on the shaft (Ex. 47). And the DNA report which should be able to isolate Shawn’s DNA from millions of other individuals shows that it is more likely that the hair came from an African American male. Furthermore, a well known and highly respected Certified Expert in DNA analysis, Dr. Gary Litman, Ph.D., has indicated that the FDLE’s DNA report is of no evidentiary value and absolutely does not prove the hair belonged to Shawn (Ex. 49).
Exhibit (49). Gary W. Litman, Ph.D., Certified Expert in DNA analysis; Director of All Children’s Molecular Genetics Program, USF. Dr. Litman has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health with a ten-year merit grant for his superior competence and outstanding research productivity. Dr, Litman’s Report re: FDLE’s analysis of Shawn’s DNA; 10/30/02: According to Dr. Litman, the FDLE was only able to assign 1 of 13 possible markers to the hair from the interior passenger window. Based on the analysis of the blood on the shirt obtained from Shawn, the FDLE drew two conclusions: 1) the hair is of male origin (which according to Dr. Litman is of no immediate probative value under any interpretation of this case), and 2) one marker found in the hair “matches” Shawn’s profile, which Dr. Litman stated was of very limited evidentiary value, as the marker identified occurs in 1 in every 13-24 individuals. And the application of the DNA 10-fold rule would yield a value of no more than 1 in 3 persons. Dr. Litman also stated that the FDLE benchnotes of 3/28/02 indicate that the hair had no root. The STR test that was performed by the FDLE requires a root/follicle because it is the only source of nuclear DNA and is the basis for STR typing.
The fact that there was no root on the hair is directly contrary to the FDLE agent, John Halliday’s report that alleged there was a follicle (root) attached to the hair and that the DNA matched Shawn’s. The state attorney’s office utilized that misleading FDLE report in their own determination that the hair proved that Shawn was sitting in the back seat directly behind Officer Nordmark and against the back seat window when the gun was fired thus proving in their opinion that the shot was self inflicted. They also apparently ignored the fact that the FDLE DNA report showed that there was a higher probability that the hair, found a full month after the shooting, came from an African American.
It is disturbing that FDLE Agent, John Halliday, who reported there was a root/follicle on the hair also drafted an E-Mail to his colleague, Sgt. Mackenzie telling about his “good results” in obtaining a hair from the back passenger window. But instead of analyzing the hair at that time, the FDLE sent the single hair back to the Tarpon Springs police until it was needed. Meanwhile, the agent came to my office and requested that I give him two locks of Shawn’s hair mixed with blood that I had asked Nurses to cut for me at the hospital that night. The records show that it was taken from me by the FDLE Agent for storage only and then released to the Tarpon Springs police. Incidentally, those two locks of Shawn’s hair have now mysteriously disappeared and cannot be compared to the hair that was supposedly found on the window. Several months later Tarpon Springs Forensics technician, Maximo Sanchez sent the one hair from the car window back to the FDLE for the above DNA analysis and which they now maintain was Shawn’s hair and landed on the window on the night of the shooting. (Ex. 47).
Agent Halliday also stated in one of his official reports, which was passed along to the state attorney, that Rita had stated that she saw Shawn playing with Dan Nordmark’s laser gun at the British Pub that night, pointing the weapon in different directions and recklessly displaying the weapon. This was a very serious accusation against Shawn and contrary to what other witnesses had stated. However, when confronted with John Halliday’s FDLE report by the State Attorney’s office during a deposition, Rita Nordmark made it absolutely clear that it was Dan Nordmark whom she had indicated was handling the gun - it was not Shawn - it was Officer Nordmark and she never even saw Shawn handle the gun that night. Why did the FDLE agent state in his official report that it was Shawn who was recklessly displaying the gun? In another investigative report, the agent stated that Steve Atkins had said that when Bernie Dillman fired the gun, it was not intentional. However, when speaking with the state attorney’s office, Mr. Atkins disputed the report, stating that Bernie Dillman did intentionally fire the gun. I also have questioned why the FDLE agents did not attempt to locate the bullet or question the residents of the mobile home park which was located in the area where the gun was first fired by Bernie Dillman. It is a felony to fire a weapon into an occupied residence. Wouldn’t it be important to locate the bullet and question the people living in the area? Why was the victim investigated instead of the drunken men were violating Florida statutes by loading, cocking and firing a weapon in an occupied bar parking lot?
Shawn isn’t the one who committed any crimes, although, Agent Halliday commented in one of his reports that Shawn was the only one with a criminal background because of a past DUI charge (the only trouble he had ever gotten into). He never mentioned Bernie Dillman’s prior felony drug and other charges and of course there was no mention of the Tarpon Police allowing Dan Nordmark to be driven home when he and friends were found in a car with drugs, drug paraphernalia and open alcohol containers. Why wasn’t alleged drug use and violent behavior by Officer Nordmark and Bernie Dillman investigated? More than one witness later testified under oath regarding Dan Nordmark’s alleged drug use. Why was there so little interest in his background? Shawn was the victim - not the criminal. I have to wonder how Agent Halliday would react had it been his own son who had been arrested for DUI. Would Officer Nordmark, Bernie Dillman and the Tarpon police be allowed to simply walk away from their outrageous conduct because as Mr. Halliday said, the victim had a criminal background? Why were Shawn and his loved ones treated so despicably by the authorities. Do law abiding citizens, families and innocent victims in Florida have any rights? Or are members of law enforcement protected at all costs - immune and above the laws of our state no matter what crimes they commit against innocent people? I don’t understand the FDLE’s rationale for not intensely investigating the backgrounds of the drunken men whose actions ultimately led to Shawn’s death. Did they ever stop and think even once about the devastation and unspeakable pain they were inflicting upon our family? Is this the same pattern of behavior by the FDLE that has occurred in the Key Bank, Kevin McGinley, Riviera Beach, Dale DeBlock corruption investigation, Aisenberg and other Florida cases? Is that why investigative reporters have written about the FDLE pattern of discrediting witnesses and smearing victims to protect police officers who have committed crimes against innocent citizens? How many more will suffer before integrity and honor prevails, standards of law enforcement are raised in Florida and victims and families are protected from police abuse?
Even Shawn’s very dear friend, Emily wrote a letter to the state attorney indicating that Agent Halliday only focused on negative information when questioning her, disregarded her adamant statements that Shawn would never kill himself and did not seem interested in the many positive remarks she made about Shawn and his loving family. Why did the agent seem adamant about trying to establish drug use by Shawn. The FDLE clearly had notice that Shawn did not use drugs and had easy access to three separate unplanned and unexpected drug and alcohol tests performed over the last year or two relating to job applications, medical purposes, etc. And as proven by the toxicology tests conducted for the medical examiner’s office after Shawn’s death, there were no traces of drugs of any kind in Shawn’s system. Predictably, the agent was unsuccessful in the apparent endeavor to prove drug use by Shawn.
Furthermore, this same FDLE agent chose not to formally interview, Steve Newman, an extremely important witness and the first person who had the courage and integrity to come forward to expose the lies that had been documented in the police reports. He watched the men that night as the slide was jammed, the gun was cocked and then fired toward the mobile home park. He had a tremendous amount of useful information, but the agent indicated that he never formally interviewed this witness because he thought Mr. Newman was rude! Unbelievably, Agent Halliday also indicated that he only had a very short interview on the telephone with Kimberly Swailes, another important and crucial eye witness who had courageously come forward to testify as to the drunken, violent and angry behavior of Officer Nordmark and Bernie Dillman the night of the shooting. She too was virtually ignored by the FDLE while the deceptive and biased input supplied by the Nordmark’s and their friends was characterized as a true representation of the facts.
The FDLE even delved into Shawn’s sex life, driving to Tallahassee at taxpayer’s expense to interrogate a young woman as to whether she and Shawn had ever engaged in sex. Remember, he was a healthy, handsome 26 year old. And for some reason, the FDLE agents also attacked Shawn’s great love of literature. They wasted time investigating whether he possessed a library card and they spent time questioning library personnel regarding the number of books he had checked out. They asserted that Shawn had not checked any books out in Tarpon Springs Library since July, shortly before his death, in what seems to be their questionable and useless effort to dispute the fact that he was exceptionally intelligent and well read. It was even carefully documented that he owed a few dollars in fines for not returning a book on time (He was dead). Again, if they had spoken with his family and closest friends, they would have found that Shawn read the St. Petersburg Times from cover to cover every morning before work, continually read books of every kind including political science, philosophy, history and every novel that he could get his hands on. He even typically kept a book in his lap to read during commercial breaks whenever he watched T.V.
They never questioned Richard Hargrave, his loving and proud stepfather with whom Shawn was living until he could rent space in a friend’s home which was to be completed in late September. If the agents had spoken to this gentle and kind man and to other close friends and relatives, they would have heard wonderful memories of Shawn and they certainly would have heard about his keen intelligence, his extensive knowledge of world politics, his many accomplishments and of his fine sense of humor. But, apparently, that’s not what they were looking for.
I was portrayed as an unfit and unloving mother which again, if they had spoken to any of the people who truly loved and admired Shawn, would have found that Shawn and I had a very loving, laughing and close relationship throughout his lifetime. In fact at least two of the witnesses have told me that they informed the agents as to how much Shawn and I loved each other. Why wasn’t that information documented in their reports?
I was under the misguided impression that the FDLE would investigate the drunken Officer Nordmark, his close friend, Bernie Dillman and the disastrous actions which led to Shawn’s death. I never dreamed that instead, the victim would be portrayed as the criminal. Incidentally, FDLE Agent Halliday had his attorney threaten me with a law suit after I criticized his investigation which I believed was a slanted and dishonest attempt to slander Shawn and justify the actions of his fellow law enforcement officer, Sgt. James Allen Mackenzie. After viewing the same FDLE agent’s official report stating that there was a root/follicle on the hair utilized in the DNA test only confirmed my belief that the investigation was absolutely shameful and dishonest and it had become an important matter of public concern.
Furthermore, when my son, Daniel and I met with the FDLE agents and their boss, Mr Halliday uncompromisingly and adamantly stated that he was sure that the back passenger window was completely closed with no opening at the top whatsoever when Shawn was shot. My younger son, Daniel McMillan and both I mentioned to him that the muzzle of the gun may have been pressed against Shawn’s head by someone reaching into the vehicle from outside as Shawn sat in the car with at least the top of the window down. We told him that everyone who knew Shawn, would agree that no matter how warm or cold the temperature was, and regardless of whether the heater or air conditioning was on, Shawn always kept his window down either completely or partially because he preferred the fresh air. But Agent Halliday adamantly maintained that the window was completely closed with no opening at the top when the gun was fired thereby reinforcing the pronouncement that the shot was self inflicted by Shawn. Furthermore, his official investigative report indicates that the spots and one hair found on the car window a month after the shooting are perpendicular to the wound on the right side of Shawn’s head. The Agent used the FDLE photos (taken months after the shooting), to confirm this theory which show some spots at the top forward portion of the back passenger window (Ex. 33). He stated that the shot sprayed Shawn’s blood onto the closed back passenger window of the car in a ninety degree pattern perpendicular to the wound on the upper right side of Shawn’s head (Ex. 46; pg.1). The facts and photographs prove otherwise.
The official Tarpon Springs police photos taken that night (Ex. 34) clearly show that the back passenger window was not closed, in fact it was rolled down eight inches or more thereby exposing the upper side of Shawn’s head and the area where the bullet entered his skull (regardless of where he sat in the back seat). The high forward position of the alleged spots and single fragment of hair on the car window (as shown in the FDLE crime lab photos) could not have been perpendicular to Shawn’s head wound with the window rolled down at least eight inches or more and would have been much lower than the area of the wound, thus the spots would have been significantly below his forehead and around his neck and shoulder area, not perpendicular to the head wound. Also the two spots on the door that Sgt. Mackenzie photographed and noted in his police report would have been around Shawn’s hip and waist area and nowhere near his head had he been sitting by the door (Ex. 25). Sgt. Mackenzie did not indicate there was any blood spatter on the back passenger car window on the night of the shooting and did not photograph any blood spatter on any of the vehicle’s windows.
Even more revealing, the police photos clearly show that the front passenger seat of the small Honda Civic where the 6'1" 240 lb. Dan Nordmark sat was pushed all the way back. (Ex. 27) Officer Nordmark’s headrest was pulled up in the high position and because the seat was pushed so far back, that headrest was directly in front of the forward area of the rolled down back passenger window and would have effectively prevented any blood or hair from landing in the section shown by the FDLE photos and also would have obviously made it impossible for Shawn’s head to be next to that area of the window. In fact, the photos indicate that is where Dan Nordmark’s own head would have been in relation to the back passenger window. This Tarpon Springs police photograph was one of the 22 digital shots which the police allege were taken without a flash. But when light is added, the front passenger headrest (where Dan Nordmark sat) is clearly seen positioned directly in front of the back passenger window (Ex. 34). Furthermore, the fact that the front seat was pushed so far back by the overweight Officer Nordmark reinforces the obvious likelihood that the long legged Shawn sat towards the middle of the back seat of the small Honda Civic and not directly behind Officer Nordmark when he was shot.
The FDLE and State Attorney’s office have ignored this information and as expected have protected and justified the unethical and apparently illegal actions of Tarpon Springs police officers, incorrectly maintaining that this hair found one full month after the shooting matches Shawn’s DNA profile and landed on the window the night Shawn was shot. “Special Circumstances?”
Contrary to the new version of facts that alleges Shawn was sitting directly against the back right passenger window, Dan and Rita Nordmarks’ and Sgt. Mackenzie’s earlier documented versions of Shawn’s position in the car verified that he was sitting toward the middle of the back seat leaning left and center toward the opening between the front bucket seats with his head close to the driver’s headrest while talking and giving directions home when the gun was fired. Rita Nordmark has testified that the radio music was turned up very loud, thus Shawn would have had to lean forward for her to hear his words as she drove the car. William Nordmark (Dan Nordmark’s father), told the State Attorney under oath that Rita Nordmark told him that the gun was only twelve inches from her head when it was fired. There was blood on the driver’s headrest and the FDLE crime lab reports that the sun shade on the floor behind the driver’s seat had high velocity blood spatter on it and according to the analyst, Shawn was in close proximity to the shade on the left side of the car when he was shot. Furthermore, the bullet entered the right side of Shawn’s forehead/frontal lobe. (Ex. 24 & 79). It would have been very difficult for Shawn to hold the gun in that position while pulling the trigger himself. In addition, Agent Halliday stated in the same report that it should “be noted that the victim’s (Shawn) long sleeve shirtsleeves may have been turned inside out when the victim was attended to at Helen Ellis Hospital.” Shawn was wearing a short sleeve shirt - what was the point of this deception? Did it have anything to do with the fact that no lead blowback was found on Shawn’s shirt indicating he never touched the gun?
Dan Nordmark was the last person actually seen holding the gun in his hand by objective witnesses and by Rita Nordmark. Officer Parsons’ police report Supplement indicates that Dan Nordmark was extremely intoxicated, slurring his words and unable to even stand up that night. And Ed Werda, the manager of the Palms Bar and Grill, has testified under oath that Dan Nordmark told him he was also using LSD that night. The FDLE report on the weapon indicates that “if an individual has his finger resting on the trigger and activates the laser light by squeezing the grip, the internal safety is released and there is a possibility of the firearm discharging” (Ex.16). Why didn’t the police investigate whether Shawn was shot from the front passenger seat as Officer Nordmark was turned around, still drunkenly waving around the loaded gun and aiming the laser closely at Shawn’s head as he gave Rita Nordmark directions to his home. In the alternative, it is possible one of the extremely intoxicated men simply reached through the open window and fired the gun at Shawn’s head minutes after Bernie Dillman fired it in the parking lot of the British Pub. Why did the Tarpon Springs police officers blatantly ignore these obvious and logical possibilities? “Special Circumstances?”
Exhibit (64). FDLE Investigative Report, Special Agent Supervisor, Richard Pyles and John Halliday, Special Agent interview Dan Nordmark;11/07/01: When Officer Nordmark was questioned by the FDLE agents he willingly stated that Shawn was in the rear passenger’s seat but was leaning up toward the area between the front seats talking to them at the time of the shooting. Dan Nordmark also said both he and Shawn were smoking cigarettes and Shawn was talking and trying to convince them to come over to his house (pg. 2). Is it realistically logical to anyone that Shawn just suddenly stop talking mid-sentence, passed the cigarette to his left hand, managed to hold the gun in what would have been an extremely awkward position against the right side of his forehead and shoot himself as he leaned forward giving directions to his home?
Exhibit (1). Tarpon Springs Police Report, Officer Parsons; 09/02/01: According to Officer Parsons, Dan Nordmark stated Shawn was telling Rita Nordmark how to get to his house when the gun supposedly fired (pg.1). In that same police report, Rita Nordmark was also quoted as saying that Shawn was talking and giving directions home when Dan Nordmark asked for the gun and it fired (pg. 2). Officer Parson’s 09/12/01 Supplement to his Police Report (Ex. 2) also reiterates these statements by Dan and Rita Nordmark saying that Shawn was shot as they were driving North on Pinellas Ave., “somewhere near the hospital” listening to Shawn telling Rita Nordmark how to get to his house (pg. 2). She also testified under oath in front of the state attorney (Ex. 66, pg. 43-44); and again in a videotaped deposition conducted by Attorney Mark Perenich, (Ex. 61) that Shawn was sitting toward the middle of the back seat and the music was turned up loud. Obviously, Shawn would have had to lean close to Rita Nordmark in order for her to hear the directions to his home over the sounds of the loud music.
Exhibit (71). State Attorney Sworn Deposition, William Nordmark; 02/28/02: William Nordmark, (Officer Dan Nordmark’s father), stated under oath that when he came to the hospital around 3:00 A.M. that night, his daughter-in-law, Rita Nordmark was upset and shaken and had told him the gun was only 12 inches from her head when it was fired.(pg.3). That is consistent with Shawn’s head being close to or against the driver’s head rest when he was shot and not directly behind the passenger seat with the right side of his forehead head next to the back passenger window.
Exhibit (12). Tarpon Springs Police Detective Allen Mackenzie meeting with victim’s mother Michaela E. Mahoney and witnessed by Margaret Mackay; 09/06/01: The day after Shawn’s funeral and after I had just come from the funeral home where I held my dead son in my arms one last time, Sgt. Mackenzie gave Margaret Mackay and I his version of the events on the night Shawn was shot. He told us that Dan Nordmark was not arrested, fingerprinted or brought to the station for interrogation because he did nothing wrong and nothing illegal. He didn’t even impound the car. He was angry at my questions and retaliated by unholstering his own gun and waving it around, apparently to intimidate us as he insisted that Officer Nordmark had done nothing wrong and nothing illegal. Has this unprofessional and arrogant police officer ever received any sensitivity training in speaking with victims’ families? Why does the Tarpon Springs Police Department allow such a cold and aggressive officer to communicate with family members who have lost their loved one?
Sgt. Mackenzie told us he was sure Shawn was sitting in the middle of the back seat but asserted that it would have been impossible for Officer Dan Nordmark to shoot Shawn from the front seat of the car. He cruelly set up two chairs in his office to illustrate his dramatic re-enactment of my son’s death and had Ms. Mackay sit in the chair which would have been the front passenger seat where he said Dan Nordmark sat and the other one was set up for me as if I were sitting in the middle of the back seat where he adamantly insisted my son had been seated when he was shot in the head. When he instructed Ms. Mackay to try and aim an imaginary gun at my head, she turned back and easily put her trigger finger against my temple. Sgt. Mackenzie , who claims to be trained in forensics, just frowned and mumbled that it would be a lot harder to do that inside a car. However, he continued to insist that Shawn was in the middle of the back seat (pg. 1). Did this have anything to do with the fact that the gun had been found (or placed), not on Shawn’s right where he had been shot, but on the left side of where his left foot would have been in the car and the casing would have been under his left hip.
Exhibit (8). Tarpon Springs Supplement Police Report, Sgt. Allen Mackenzie ; 09/04/01: Sgt. Mackenzie stated there was blood found on the right back side of the driver’s head rest that appeared to have been a manual transfer rather than a spatter (pg. 1). (This is exactly where Shawn’s head would have fallen if he were sitting toward the middle and leaning forward and giving directions home when he was shot). The presence of blood stains is confirmed by the official Tarpon Springs police photos of the driver’s headrest (Ex. 28). Rita Nordmark testified on videotape that after the FDLE impounded and examined her car in early October the agent told her to replace the headrest because of the amount of blood on her headrest (Ex. 69; pg. 14).
Exhibit (50). FDLE DNA Bloodstain Pattern Analysis, N. Leroy Parker, Crime Laboratory Analyst, Supervisor, Crime Scene; 11/14/01: Leroy Parker determined the sunshade which had been on the floor behind the driver’s seat showed high impact blood spatter on its surface. Mr. Parker defined high impact blood spatter as a random distribution of small drops of blood which was deposited on an object as a result of a forceful impact. Mr. Parker indicated that the blood stain pattern tests showed high velocity blood spatter on the sun shade and he concluded that with the reconstruction of the pertinent impact blood spatter patterns as to their origins, direction of travel and location, the car windshield sunshade and the individual [Shawn] who was wearing the outer clothing (shirt and pants) were in close proximity to forceful bloodshed (pg. 2). (Why would there be high impact blood spatter on Shawn’s left side if Shawn were sitting directly behind the passenger and against the back right passenger window when he was shot)? Remember, there was no exit wound on the left side of Shawn’s head.
Exhibit (24). Medical Examiner’s Report of Autopsy/Autopsy Findings, Charles F. Siebert, M.D., autopsy performed 09/03/01; Report: 09/05/01: Dr. Siebert stated the projectile was recovered from under the left side of the scalp (pg. 2) and the epidural space is free of blood (pg. 4). The autopsy report also indicated the bullet entered Shawn’s right frontal lobe and fractured the left mastoid ridge (pg. 2). He was not shot in the temple as Detective Mackenzie alleged in his report (Ex. 8). He was shot in the right side of his forehead.
(I reviewed every autopsy report of suicide with a gunshot to the head drafted by Dr. Siebert for the entire year of 2001. Virtually all of the suicide wounds were either at the temple, above the ear or behind the ear. Not one of them were in the same area out on the forehead lobe as Shawn’s wound).
Exhibit (8). Tarpon Springs Supplement Police Report, Sgt. Allen Mackenzie; 09/04/01: Sgt. Mackenzie stated he reviewed the CT scan and viewed the wound depiction finding it to be an entry wound near the right temple (the wound was in the right side of his forehead not his temple) and traversing the skull and exiting the skull on the opposite side after creating a shock wave and attendant sub dural hematoma. The projectile appeared to remain under the skin on the opposite side of the skull from the entry. Sgt. Mackenzie stated this would explain the absence of evidence of material from an exit of the bullet (pg. 2).
Exhibit (55). State Attorney Sworn Deposition; Dawn Bianci, Helen Ellis Emergency Room Nurse; 02/28/02: Nurse, Dawn Bianci explained that when she opened the car door that night, Shawn was sitting in the backseat slumped over to the left. The state attorney asked if he was sitting in the right passenger side of the backseat. Nurse Bianci responded that he was more in the middle and slumped toward the driver’s side (pg. 3). Shawn also had dropped and splashed blood on his thighs as if he were still sitting or standing up while he bled (Ex. 32).
12. Detective Allen Mackenzie appears to have intentionally misled the Press in an article published on December 11, 2001 and attempted to influence public opinion when he informed a St. Petersburg Times reporter that Dan Nordmark’s shirt had no blowback on it and this proved that the gun was fired while Shawn held it; Sgt. Mackenzie had no evidence that blowback was present on Shawn’s shirt and had no evidence that Shawn ever held the gun. In fact, FDLE lab tests later proved that Shawn had no trace of blowback on his shirt either, however, Sgt. Mackenzie failed to reveal this fact to the Press. “Special Circumstances?”
Exhibit (36). St. Petersburg Times ; Mother Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit; 12/11/01:
Sgt. Mackenzie informed a St. Petersburg Times reporter that evidence regarding Dan
Nordmark’s shirt indicated that the gun was fired while Shawn held the gun. He told the reporter
Dan Nordmark’s shirt had tested negative for blowback (unburned gunpowder and lead expelled
backward after a shot is fired). He confidently assured the reporter blowback would have been
present on Dan Nordmark’s shirt if he had fired the gun (pg. 2).
Exhibit (43). FDLE Lead Residue Report, John M. Romeo, Crime Laboratory Analyst, Firearms Section; 04/15/02: Mr. Romeo reported that the cotton Shirt represented as having come from the victim, Shawn McMillan and the cotton shirt represented as having come from Dan Nordmark which were submitted to the FDLE on March 26, 2002 by Max Sanchez of the Tarpon Springs Police Department and on April 05, 2002 by Sgt. Mackenzie were both chemically processed for the presence of lead and no lead residues were found on either shirt.
Agent Halliday stated in one of his reports (Ex. 46), that it should “be noted that the victim’s (Shawn) long sleeve shirtsleeves may have been turned inside out when the victim was attended to at Helen Ellis Hospital.” Shawn was wearing a short sleeve shirt - what was the point of this deception? Did it have anything to do with the fact that no lead blowback was found on Shawn’s shirt indicating that he never touched the gun?
While we do know that the bloody shirt which was photographed and entered into evidence as belonging to Shawn was undoubtably worn by him the night he was shot, there is credible sworn testimony on record that appears to indicate Dan Nordmark’s shirt was substituted for a clean shirt to conceal the presence of Shawn’s blood. (See Numbered Paragraph 1)
13. Did Sgt. Mackenzie and Officer Parsons attempt to influence the Medical Examiner’s office to find suicide as the cause of death and mislead the FDLE and the victim’s family regarding knowledge and communications with the Medical Examiner’s office pertaining to the official determination of suicide.
On September 02, 2001, approximately three hours after Shawn was shot, Officer Parsons called Louise Bell, the Investigator at the Medical Examiner’s office and told her the victim had the gun in his hand when it discharged and they do not suspect any foul play. Later on the same day, Sgt. Mackenzie also spoke with the Medical Examiner’s Investigator, Louise Bell (Ex. 22). The first comments out of his mouth indicated that the male “friend” in the front seat, who owned the gun, was an off duty Correctional Officer. This knowledge that Dan Nordmark was a member of law enforcement would obviously tend to enhance his credibility. Inaccurately calling him Shawn’s friend would also strengthen the belief that he was not responsible for Shawn’s death. Sgt. Mackenzie then told Ms. Bell the gun was an “off-duty” gun privately owned by this Officer and he said the two witnesses in the vehicle reported the same details as to what happened. (That is interesting in itself since according to the police, the Nordmarks were separated for questioning but still managed to come up with the same misrepresentations as to where they had been, what the circumstances were and how Shawn supposedly gained possession of the gun). Sgt. Mackenzie then told the Investigator there was an altercation in the parking lot of the Shades Bar parking lot and the off-duty Officer went out to his vehicle and obtained his gun, putting it in his pocket. He told her that when the female arrived to take them home, the decedent asked for the gun and placed it in his pocket.” (There was absolutely no credible evidence to justify any of these statements).
Sgt. Mackenzie assured the Investigator that the physical evidence in the car was consistent with the account both witnesses gave; no residue swabs were taken because both men had handled the gun; he told her the gun was found on the floor of the back seat behind the passenger (it was actually found or placed against the hump to the left of where Shawn’s left foot would have been) and he said with the position of Dan Nordmark in the front seat, it would be almost impossible for him to have shot Shawn. He then informed her that he did not suspect any foul play (Ex. 22).
He called her again two days later, 09/04/01, and told her that the off-duty Corrections officer’s shirt had been tested and there was no blood spatter found on it which he said was consistent with the account given and he told her no charges would be filed and they suspected no foul play.(Ex. 23).
The investigator, Louise Bell then informed Sgt. Mackenzie that the wound was a close contact wound and Dr. Siebert, the Medical Examiner would classify it as suicide. Dr. Siebert later told me his conclusion of suicide was based on the information provided by the Tarpon Springs police and because of the proximity of the gun to Shawn’s head when fired. Incidentally, hospitals are required by law to report to Lifelinks or another organ procurement agency when a person is at or near death. The Records for Lifelinks, Inc., indicate their agency was called by Helen Ellis Hospital ER personnel soon after Shawn’s admission and his cause of death had already been established while still in that hospital. Interestingly, the Lifelinks code number for cause of death received from Helen Ellis Hospital translates to “alleged homicide”. But the Tarpon Springs police Location/Time and Activity Computer printout noted that at 5:03 A.M., the nature of Shawn’s death had been changed from suicide. Within only two hours, the case is first classified by police as an alleged homicide, then a suicide and finally, accidental although it appears that police may have intentionally led the Medical Examiner’s office to believe it was suicide, shifting the responsibility to their office.
On September 06, 2001, Sgt. Mackenzie had told me (in the presence of Margaret Mackay) that Shawn absolutely did not commit suicide and he was sure of that but he could not control what the medical examiner would say. Sgt. Mackenzie failed to tell me was that he had already discussed suicide with the investigator and was already aware of the Medical Examiner’s determination of suicide. Sgt. Mackenzie also made reference to a family that had fought with him for 10 years because he determined their relative’s death was suicide and the family believed it was murder. (Was that another case of “Special Circumstances”)
Exhibit (17). FDLE Investigative Report, Richard Pyles, SAS, John Halliday, SA, meeting w/ Tarpon Springs Police Department Captain Ron Holt & Sgt. Mackenzie ; 09/19/01: When questioned weeks later by FDLE agents in the presence of Tarpon Springs Police Captain Ron Holt, Detective Mackenzie told the men that several supplementary reports were yet to be completed by the patrol officers on the scene (they never were drafted or filed and none of these officers were ever questioned by the FDLE or the State Attorney’s office), and he knowingly stated that the Medical Examiner had not yet ruled on the final cause of Shawn’s death. He also told the agents that the Medical Examiner’s report was still pending. However, Sgt. Mackenzie clearly had personal knowledge for at least two weeks prior to the meeting that soon after the above documented discussions he had with the investigator, the Medical Examiner had made a final determination of suicide. As documented in the autopsy investigation report, (Ex. 23), Sgt. Mackenzie personally received this information from Louise Bell on September 04, 2001.
Apparently, other Tarpon Springs police were also privy to the alleged suicide. Just two days after Shawn’s death, his grandfather called the police station and was callously told by one of the officers that Shawn had “decided to do himself in.” It appears that these officers are not only dishonest and calculating, but they also lack any semblance of professionalism and compassion for the victim’s family. Shawn’s tragic loss of life and the heart wrenching pain it caused his loved ones obviously meant nothing to them. Special Circumstances?
14. Did Sgt. Mackenzie fail to establish where the shooting actually occurred, when he reported there was very little blood in the car and agreed with and validated the Nordmarks’ statements that they were driving by the hospital at the time the gun was fired? The Tarpon Springs police who drove me to the hospital that night stated Shawn had been shot in a park. I found leaves in Shawn’s hair at the hospital and the Tarpon Springs Official Police Press release drafted that night indicates the shooting occurred South of the hospital at the 1500 block of Pinellas Ave. There is an isolated park like area surrounded by oak trees at that location. A Department of Corrections parole office is also located in the far back and would account for Corrections Officer Nordmark’s knowledge of the area. Since that time two Tarpon Springs police officers have stated off the record that the shooting did not occur in the car in front of the hospital and that the drunken men had been playing around with the gun when Shawn was shot.
Exhibit (8). Tarpon Springs Supplement Police Report, Sgt. Allen Mackenzie : 09/04/01: Detective Mackenzie reported that on the passenger’s side rear door he observed two (2) blood spatters with one lower on the rearward portion of the door and one was forward and higher on the door. He stated that the shape and pattern was consistent with the reported event (pg. 1). (One drop looked like an elongated exclamation point as if it had traveled some distance across the car. The other was simply a small round drop on the door handle as confirmed by the Tarpon Springs Photographs (Ex. 25). (Both spots would have been near Shawn’s right hip and waist area and far below his head position. There was blood on the back of the driver’s headrest to Shawn’s left and Sgt. Mackenzie stated that on the driver’s side rear door in the lower rearward portion of the door opening and also on the corner of the seat on the driver’s side rear bench seat closest to the door was an area of blood. He said this was consistent with the shot having been fired in very close proximity to Helen Ellis Emergency Room due to the small amount of blood present. He said his examination of the vehicle was unremarkable and completely consistent with the information given by the Nordmarks (pg.1-2).
Contrary to Sgt. Mackenzie ’s statements, every individual and witness who saw the car including Rita Nordmark (Ex. 66; pgs. 30-32), the ER Nurse (Ex. 55) and Security Guard on duty at Helen Ellis, the FDLE agents, the Carsmetics employee (Ex. 80) who later cleaned the car and Dan Nordmark’s own mother (Ex. 65) and father (Ex. 71) have clearly described the tremendous amount of Shawn’s blood that had poured from his wound and saturated his clothing and the car seat where he lay dying. Why did Sgt. Mackenzie allege that there was only a small amount of blood in the car?
Furthermore, when Tarpon Springs officers Miller and Carmack picked me up that night they told me that Shawn had been shot in a park. (The police told Shawn’s father, Richard Hargrave the same thing when he called the police station at approximately 6:30 A.M. on 09/02/01). Officer Miller later denied this statement. Upon my arrival at the hospital, I found leaves in Shawn’s hair and there was a large bloody scratch across his right eye as confirmed by the police photos and another one on his chest as documented in the Helen Ellis Hospital admission records (Ex. 81). The police photos also show that his Doc Martin shoe had been pulled off and was behind the driver’s seat on the floor facing the passenger side. No medical personnel or other witnesses remembered pulling his shoe off or seeing it on the floor when the vehicle was first approached. Within hours of the shooting, Tarpon Springs police Sgt. Schmidt drafted a police press release stating that the incident had occurred at the 1500 block of Pinellas Ave (Ex.7).
The Helen Ellis Hospital is located on the North end of the 1300 block, but two city blocks South of the hospital is a small park like area, complete with tall trees and a picnic table at the entrance of Curlew Place and the corner of the 1500 block of Pinellas Ave. In the far back is a very isolated area surrounded by oak trees with the same type of leaves that were found in Shawn’s hair and there is a Department of Corrections parole and probation office located there. As a Corrections Officer Dan Nordmark would have been familiar with this site. Unfortunately, Tarpon Springs police never investigated this isolated area and never questioned employees or patrons who frequented that vicinity as to whether there had been blood or any other evidence found in the parking lot. Since that time at least two Tarpon Springs police have stated off the record that the police discussions that took place at the station the next morning indicated that the shooting did not occur in the car in front of the hospital but somewhere else as the drunken men played with gun.
Due to the large amount of blood that was actually in the car, the Nordmarks may have still been at the British Pub or parked near the isolated Department of Corrections office South of the Helen Ellis Hospital when Shawn was shot. Apparently, they somehow found a place and time alone to fabricate and corroborate their stories as to the events, circumstances, location and initial version of how Shawn ended up with the gun before they arrived at the hospital. And although Dan Nordmark’s parents and his friends came to the hospital with their cars (Ex.71; pg. 1), Officer Nordmark chose not to accept any rides home. Instead the Tarpon Springs police allowed this fellow law enforcement officer to simply walk away from the Helen Ellis Hospital with his brother in a Southerly direction along the roadside just two hours after leaving Shawn to die at the hospital. Where did he go and for what purpose?
Also, I have continually insisted that Shawn had his Giorgio Armani eye glasses with him that night, and because they were not found in the car, I believed that they were lost in an area where he may have been shot such as the isolated park like area behind the 1500 block of Pinellas Ave. by the Department of Corrections office or in the British Pub parking lot. The glasses were not found in his shirt pocket and later FDLE documentation reveals that Shawn’s shirt was covered in blood, torn extensively, both sleeves and collar were ripped open, and all of the buttons were pulled off (Ex. 48). That bloodied and tattered shirt was hastily and violently ripped from
Shawn’s bleeding body, then passed by medical personnel to the Tarpon Springs police who placed it in evidence where it was unfurled, spread out, documented and photographed. All of Shawn’s pockets were emptied, and each and every item was listed and photographed and entered into Tarpon Springs Police Department Evidence including his shirt, pants, underwear, socks, shoes, twelve cents of pocket change, Certs, chapstick and a laundry label, the bloody sunshade, the gun, the bullets, the magazine, and the shell casing. But not his Armani eyeglasses and not his wallet which was later handed to me by a British Pub employee at the hospital who said Rita Nordmark gave it to her. (There was no blood on the wallet).
All police and law enforcement officers ignored my continuing questions as to where Shawn’s glasses may have fallen. I knew he had them but was told that witnesses had been questioned by the state attorney’s office and had stated that I was wrong and Shawn did not have his glasses with him that night. Months later at the FDLE’s request, Shawn’s shirt was prepared for transfer by the Tarpon Springs police and sent to the FDLE crime labs for inspection. Amazingly, the FDLE agents found Shawn’s Giorgio Armani glasses now neatly tucked into the front pocket of this same tattered, bloodied and much handled shirt (Ex. 48). How is it possible that Shawn’s glasses had been in that pocket all along without any medical personnel or police officers noticing them and documenting them as evidence?
15. According to sworn testimony, it appears that police may have falsified police reports, mishandled and failed to collect and document additional material evidence.
Exhibit (8). Tarpon Springs Supplement Police Report, Sgt. Allen Mackenzie ; 09/04/01: Detective Mackenzie indicated in his police report that he removed Shawn’s shoe and the sun shade that were on the rear floor behind the driver’s seat (he incorrectly stated passenger’s floor). He said he placed them in custody, obtained the first bag of clothing from the victim and retrieved the weapon and casing and made the weapon safe. He stated that he was then given the second bag of clothing from the victim by Officer Simmonds and said he had Officer Parsons obtain Dan Nordmark’s shirt for testing. (Officer Parson’s report is unclear about who obtained Officer Nordmark’s shirt, which incidentally was never listed or photographed in evidence). Sgt. Mackenzie then stated that he secured all of the items and then the victim’s mother arrived at the hospital (approximately 4:05 am.). Sgt. Mackenzie stated that he then released the vehicle to the owner after processing and went to the T.S.P.D. and secured the evidence. However, Rita Nordmark disputes this, swearing under oath in a videotaped deposition that Sgt. Mackenzie never even removed the shoe or the sun shade before releasing the car to her and it was only as Rita Nordmark was ready to begin cleaning the car in the hospital parking lot that she discovered the officers’ failure to remove the articles. She then had to go and request that they return to the car and remove these evidentiary items (Ex. 69; pgs. 8-11). Was the police report knowingly falsified - this time to cover up incompetence or negligence in collecting material evidence before returning the car to its owner?
16. Sgt. Mackenzie failed to request assistance by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department in investigating Shawn’s possible homicide; When a Pinellas County Sheriff was dispatched to Helen Ellis Hospital, he was told by the Tarpon Springs police the shooting occurred within the city limits. The officers did not ask for the Deputy’s assistance in the investigation and he had no further involvement in the case. Conversely Sgt. Mackenzie later told the FDLE and the State Attorney that when he learned two weeks later of the British Pub’s involvement, he did not investigate because he had already closed the case and the British Pub was out of his jurisdiction. He predictably failed to notify the Sheriff’s Office regarding this new and relevant information.
Why didn’t the Tarpon Springs police officers request assistance in the investigation from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Other shootings in Tarpon Springs have prompted the police to immediately summon the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and their Forensics Unit for assistance. Even Sgt. Mackenzie’s boss and Superior Officer, Tarpon Springs Police Chief, Mark LeCouris was later interviewed by the St. Pete Times (Ex. 39; pg. 2) and was quoted as saying Sgt. Mackenzie and others working on the case should have impounded the car and should have asked for a second opinion about blood spatter in the car that night from either the FDLE or the Pinellas County Sheriffs office. Why didn’t they?
Pinellas County Sheriff Goettel later told the State attorney’s office that at 3:33 A.M., he was dispatched to the Helen Ellis Hospital in reference to a shooting victim where he was told by the Tarpon Springs police officers that the shooting occurred within the city limits of Tarpon Springs. At that time, he was asked to “check their dispatch log to see if there were any calls to the Shades Bar which met with negative results”. Deputy Goettel stated he had earlier checked out an incident that occurred across from the Shades Bar that night which was unrelated to Shawn’s shooting. Deputy Goettel stated he had no further involvement in this case (Ex. 5). He was never asked to assist in the investigation of Shawn’s possible murder.
Sgt. Mackenzie stated in his police report that there was nothing remarkable and there had been no calls of any kind to the Sheriff regarding the Shades Bar. He wrote in his police report that the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office unit that Officer Nordmark told him drove through the parking lot was just on area patrol (Ex. 8; pg. 2). “Can Sgt. Mackenzie now explain how Dan Nordmark knew there was a routine drive through at the Shades Bar by a Pinellas County Sheriff patrol car when the Nordmarks had never been to the Shades Bar that night? “Special Circumstances?”
Exhibit (39). St. Petersburg Times; Inquiry: Deadly Gunshot Self-Inflicted; 06/28/02:
State Attorney, Bruce Bartlett explained Sgt. Mackenzie’s dilemma regarding the failure to investigate
the new information that indicated the gun had been fired at the British Pub by saying the case had
been closed and the Pub was outside of Mackenzie’s jurisdiction (pg. 3). Is it justifiable to simply step
over the Tarpon City line before committing a crime and it won’t be investigated by any jurisdiction?
17. Detective Mackenzie threatened and intimidated the victim’s mother the day after her son’s funeral to prevent her from speaking to the Press, attorneys or other individuals. During the weeks that followed, Sgt. Mackenzie continued to behave in an unprofessional, volatile and aggressive manner, shouting at Shawn’s distraught younger brother, Daniel McMillan and the mother of the victim on several occasions in an attempt to intimidate and to silence them.
Margaret Mackay and I met with Tarpon Springs Police Detective Allen Mackenzie on 09/06/01 (Ex.12; pg. 4-5). As Ms. Mackay looked on and I continued to take notes, Sgt. Mackenzie carefully explained that because Dan Nordmark was a member of law enforcement as a Corrections Officer, there would be an internal investigation by the Inspector General’s office. He explained that anything Dan Nordmark admitted during the investigation could not be held against him in criminal court because he would have no fifth amendment right and it would be considered compelled testimony. Then this highly aggressive police officer, who had unholstered his gun and had been waving it around in front of us, leaned forward, locked his eyes on mine and warned me several times in a threatening tone of voice that if I spoke with the press, attorneys or anyone else before the Inspector General’s investigation was completed that I would be criminally liable with criminal sanctions against me. Sgt. Mackenzie did not arrest Officer Nordmark as my son lay dying in the hospital but here he was, the day after my son’s funeral apparently threatening to arrest me, the mother of the victim if I expressed my concerns to anyone.
On at least two other occasions when my son, Daniel and I came to the police department to request a copy of the police procedures which were normally followed in the event of a shooting, Sgt. Mackenzie behaved in an unprofessional, volatile and aggressive manner, shouting and attempting to frighten us into submission. At one point, he actually yelled at me to leave the poor man, (Officer Nordmark), alone because he had been through enough. (Sgt. Mackenzie never expressed any regret or sympathy for the horrible death Shawn had suffered when the drunken Officer’s bullet destroyed his brain). On a third occasion after Daniel had called City Hall to ask for the procedures, he was told to go to the front desk of the police department and the procedures would be given to him. Daniel then proceeded to the Tarpon Springs Police Department and although he did not ask to see Sgt. Mackenzie, he was angrily greeted by him, shouted at and actually followed to the door by this irate and very aggressive Tarpon Springs police officer.
Shawn never touched Dan Nordmark’s gun and he did not shoot himself. What Sgt. Allen Mackenzie of the Tarpon Springs Police Department referred to as “Special Circumstances” apparently pervaded and controlled the incompetent, despicable and corrupt investigation into my son’s death. While Shawn’s precious young life slipped away that night, the Tarpon Springs Police showed no compassion and no sympathy for him or for the people who loved him. Were they preoccupied with an unswerving quest to protect and shield the drunken Officer as they defended their utter failure to conduct a proper and competent investigation.
What do you honestly believe would have transpired that night if you, the reader had been the one who had gone out drinking in bars with a loaded gun, became violently angry with others, and drove to the hospital with a young man bleeding to death in your backseat? Would the Tarpon Springs police simply accept your drunken explanation that he shot himself with your gun and then allow you to simply walk away, leaving him to die with virtually no questions asked? It is highly predictable if not certain that no matter how the incident occurred, you would have been arrested, handcuffed, interrogated, incarcerated, fingerprinted, tested for gun residue and drug and alcohol tested. Your car would have been impounded and as a result of culpable negligence, you would most likely have been charged with manslaughter at the very least - murder at worst. Why were crucial police procedures ignored when the intoxicated Officer and his sister in law drove my dying son into the hospital parking lot that night?
At 2:39 hours on September 2, 2001, I was called at my residence in reference
to responding to a shooting at Helen Ellis ER with “Special Circumstances”.
Sgt. McKenzie’s written statement re: the night Shawn was shot by Officer Nordmark’s gun.
Sgt. Mackenzie closed the case within two days of Shawn’s death alleging that his fellow Law Enforcement Officer, Dan Nordmark did nothing wrong and nothing illegal that night. However, to the credit of the State Attorney’s office, Sgt. Mackenzie’s apparent efforts to convince the authorities, Press, the public and even Shawn’s own family that no crime had been committed, were ultimately and courageously ignored by the State Attorney. And nearly a year after Shawn’s death, in spite of the glaring lack of evidence supplied by Tarpon Springs police officers, Dan Nordmark and Bernie Dillman were arrested for the most obvious crimes based on their drunken actions as the weapon was loaded, cocked and fired in the parking lot of the British Pub minutes before Shawn was shot. During Officer Nordmark’s trial, two dynamic and tough prosecutors, Pat Siracusa and Dee Bartalucci, relentlessly challenged and discredited every defense presented by opposing counsel and their powerful legal arguments left no question as to the material issues of the case. They brought swift justice to the defendant who forfeited his job with the Department of Corrections and was sentenced to thirty days in jail for use of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. Shortly before his own scheduled trial for Discharging a Firearm in public, Bernie Dillman pled guilty to a reduced charge of use of a firearm while under the influence of alcoholic beverages and was sentenced to 30 days of work release.
Still, one has to wonder what charges would have been levied had truth and justice been diligently pursued that night and had the Tarpon police questioned any credible witnesses, followed any leads, administered drug and alcohol tests, taken fingerprints and gun residue tests, impounded the car or more appropriately, had summoned Sheriff Everett Rice’s office to professionally and thoroughly investigate Shawn’s death.
Are any of the officers guilty of obstruction of justice, tampering with material evidence and acting as accessories after the fact based on their apparent efforts to assist a fellow Officer in avoiding arrest, trial or punishment? Isn’t this corrupt and illegal behavior defined as police misconduct or is it acceptable for the Tarpon Springs Police Department and other branches of law enforcement to justify what appears to be their cold, calculating and illicit actions designed to protect a fellow law enforcement officer and simply call it what it is:
Michaela E. Mahoney
Tel: (727) 942 - 0660
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