Chief Lovett issues clarification of 'no innocent victims' comment

Published: Sep. 14, 2012 at 11:27 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2012 at 1:49 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Labor Day weekend, Emily Pickels and Michael Biancosino were gunned down in the early morning hours, parked in a lot a few doors away from Pickels' home.

For the first time, Biancosino's brother is speaking out.

Last week, just one day before a memorial service for Biancosino and a weekend memorial service for Pickels, Savannah-Chatham Police Chief Willie Lovett held a news conference on the Labor Day murders. At the time, he stated "there were no innocent victims."

That statement cut deep for the Pickels and the Biancosinos, believing their loved one's were innocent with detectives telling them there was no evidence they were involved in anything illegal.

One family spoke to WTOC and the other went straight to the chief, hurt by what they believed was implied wrong doing.

"There were no words to describe how I felt," Jamie Casino, Biancosino's brother, told WTOC. "On top of it, this was not a normal death here and the statement was made by the chief that was completely hurtful and wrong."

Savannah attorney Jamie Casino shared pictures and video of his brother and says Michael  was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Casino says Michael had picked Emily Pickels up after finishing a late night job doing research for a private investigator. Pickels called Michael, her ex-boyfriend, for a ride home.

Just a few hundred yards from her apartment, Michael's car was showered with bullets. They tried to drive away, police say, but crashed on MLK Boulevard.

Casino says detectives have told him there was no evidence of either victim doing anything illegal, so when he heard the chief say there were no innocent victims over Labor Day weekend, he called the chief himself and Lovett agreed to clarify what he meant.

"Whether he misspoke, misstated, what is most important now is the public knows is my brother, who would do anything for anybody, was innocent and was just helping out his friend," Casino said.

Here is the official statement from Chief Willie Lovett:

Neither Emily Pickles or Michael Biancosino were involved in any wrong doing as far as police know.

Friends of Pickels' also appreciated the clarification.

"I'm glad they're saying they're innocent. That's what I've been saying since the beginning. I'm glad to hear the truth coming out," Jud Wickers, Pickels' friend, told WTOC.

"It will never bring my brother back the fact the chief issued this statement but it will give both families a little bit of closure," Casino said. "Even though I took issue with the chief I take no issue with these officers who have taken due diligence to solve these two murders."

The investigation into the murders is ongoing.

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