By the Book

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"It was a great feeling to be a part of it," Alejandro says. "Helping to see that justice was served in a case like that, to see the family of the victim get what it deserved, is something anyone in law enforcement hopes for." Despite the fact he believes it ultimately led to him losing his job.

"From that night I stopped Goad," he says, "things changed." In November of last year, following another traffic stop during which 8 pounds of marijuana were found in a vehicle driven by a man originally pulled over for not wearing his seat belt, Alejandro was criticized for making the stop. Then, a month later, a handcuffed prisoner he was transporting to jail became violent, kicking out the back window of his patrol car. "I had warned him several times to calm down," the officer says, "and, finally, when he kicked out the window, I gave him a one-second shot of pepper spray."

Though no medical attention was required, nor did the man he subdued file a complaint, Alejandro was ultimately placed on administrative leave and investigated for use of excessive force. Soon thereafter, the once-praised patrolman and training officer was dismissed.

DART Police Chief Rodriguez will not discuss the reasons for Alejandro's dismissal but does say that "it had nothing to do with the murder case." "That night [when Goad was arrested]," the chief says, "we had officers in the right place at the right time. It was a good traffic stop that led to the making of a good case."

Today, Alejandro is a patrolman with the Wilmer Police Department. "I don't feel bitter about anything that happened," he insists. "Hurt, maybe, but not bitter. All I did was what any police officer is supposed to do. The law says you're required to act once you determine the possibility that a felony has been committed. That's what I did." The pepper spray incident, he insists, violated no written rule of the DART police department of which he was aware. "In fact," he says, "I know of instances before and since where officers have used pepper spray and weren't reprimanded."

Rawlinson, still a patrol officer with DART, declined to be interviewed, pointing to departmental policy that requires permission from his superiors to speak with the media.

Surprised to learn that Alejandro had been dismissed, Texas Ranger Foster says, "If he hadn't made that traffic stop and his partner hadn't paid attention to what Goad was saying, we might never have found this guy. He could have easily gotten rid of the car and just disappeared. And it isn't likely we'd have located the body for quite some time.

"Those guys deserve a great deal of credit for helping solve this case."

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Carlton Stowers
Contact: Carlton Stowers

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