UPDATE -- February 5,
Monty Clay Settles Brutality
According to the
Post-Gazette, four eastern suburbs have paid Golden Gloves boxing champion
Monty Clay a secret financial settlement to drop his
alleging police brutality.
McKeesport detective Joe Osinski, who worked with Edgewood and Swissvale
officers, signed investigation reports that said Clay twice sold him cocaine.
Clay was not arrested either time.
UPDATE -- February 1,
According to responding officers, Lt. Lane and Sgt. Rydzak, it was exactly
8:09 when they arrived on Madison Street to find Officer Osinski kneeling
over Tommy Holmes' dead body.
Tommy had been shot four times in the arm, once in the leg and three times
in the head -- and although paramedics officially pronounced him dead at
8:18, beyond a reasonable doubt, the time of death was exactly 8:09.
Responding officers must've quickly reviewed the amazing story:
Four minutes before Tommy Holmes was brutally gunned down on the street at
8:09, he was alive and well and talking with Detective Joseph Osinski.
According to Detective Osinski -- it was exactly 8:05 PM on January 9, 2001
when he telephoned Tommy Holmes from the police station in McKeesport PA.
and arranged to meet him at the 600 block of Madison Street.
After Osinski's call, Tommy walked out of his Fairview Street apartment which
is located less than a block from the Madison meeting place. Officer Osinski
begins the short, 0.8 mile drive.
Several loud shots are fired. A neighborhood resident says Holmes,
already injured, came running and yelling to the front door of his house
at 637 Madison St. Clutching his leg in pain, Tommy was bleeding and screaming,
"Help me! Help me! They're trying to shoot me!"
The neighbor's nine-year-old daughter was in the hall and screamed out,
so after promising to call 9-1-1, he quickly shut his front door. Immediately
after he slammed the door, the resident heard several more loud
gunshots very close to his door.
As Osinski arrives on Madison St. in an unmarked car that Thursday evening,
he sees nothing unusual. Then, approaching the end of the block, Osinski
says he hears a young female screaming three times very loud. Looking toward
the direction of the screams, he sees the door at 637 Madison slam shut.
Osinski dispatches a report of a possible "domestic."
Detective Osinski says he walked over to 637 Madison, saw a motionless body
and realized it was the man he was to meet -- Tommy Holmes -- and sees Tommy
has been fatally shot in the head.
Back-up officers arrive on Madison in response to a report of "gunshots fired"
and find Osinski with Tommy's corpse. Osinski tells Lt. Lane and Sgt. Rydzak
he has no idea what happened. He only mentions the female screams and the
door slam. The homeowner at 637 Madison tells the officers about hearing
the gunshots before his child screamed, and the second round of gunfire after
his door slammed.
At that moment, Officers Lane and Rydzak must've had some questions for the
How can Osinski have heard the loud female screams, but not the gun shots
or loud screams from Tommy that caused the girl to panic?
How is it possible that Osinski could see the resident slam his door, but
not see the reason for the slam -- Tommy Holmes standing in front of that
door begging his neighbor for help?
How did Osinski witness the resident slam his door but not witness the killer
who immediately after the slam, fired several shots into Holmes' head at
point blank range?
Seven days after the shooting, 21-year-old Joseph Rhone was arrested for
the murder of Tommy Holmes. Rhone's trial is set to begin on April 26,
It's likely Detective Joseph Osinski will not even be called to the stand,
but if he is, he should be forced to give answers to those and at least one
Why are you lying about the murder of Tommy Holmes?
UPDATE -- December 22,
"I didn't have anything
to do with it"
Justice for Thomas
Holmes has again been delayed. The trial of his accused murderer has
been postponed for a third time. It has been re-re-rescheduled for April
26, 2004 but could well be put off again.
Tommy's justice delayed is justice denied to us all -- including the defendant,
Joseph Rhone. Rhone's been locked in a small cage for nearly a year.
Now firmly maintaining his innocence, the 20-year-old who variously calls
himself Joseph Nixon, says detectives coerced and psychologically brutalized
him into making a false confession to the shooting. The accused killer insists
that he is the victim and that his rights were violated, claiming
that when he initially requested a lawyer -- police refused.
Bruce Carsia, the lawyer eventually appointed to defend Rhone, has
never mentioned any police coercion, opting instead to go to trial asserting
that his client acted in self-defense during a fatal struggle. Mr. Carsia
has so far failed to clarify what the alleged struggle was about, how it
began, or why it ended with multiple shots fired into Tommy's head at point-blank
Also left unclear is how Rhone happened to know the precise time that Tommy
-- who was at home watching television with friends -- would leave his apartment
and walk alone to a nearby corner for a brief, impromptu, private meeting
with McKeesport detective Joseph Osinski.
"They're trying to
Osinski never mentions coordinating with Rhone, and yet the two Josephs were
acting as one, with the responding officer opening a very small window of
opportunity for the killer to find his victim alone and unprotected. And
despite accusations of corrupt police in a mysterious conspiracy, Rhone has
never mentioned Osinski -- the officer who, before the murder, brought Tommy
Holmes out to the corner, during the murder was at the crime scene, and after
the murder, was the first to name Rhone as a suspect.
Of course, anything's possible -- but if the laws of space and time were
in effect on January 9, 2003 at 8:07 -- this killing was no ironic, coincidental
accident of fate. It's possible to believe that, by coincidence, Rhone and
Osinski were headed for the exact same spot to meet the exact same person
at the exact same time, but then impossible to believe they never saw each
The police officer's story is more corrupt than the suspect's stories of
police corruption. If called to testify, Osinski would be forced to say he
heard frightened screams and saw a door quickly slam, but heard and saw nothing
that would prompt such a reaction. He'd also be asked to explain the lies
initially told about his "just happening by" the shooting.
Curiously, the previously high-profile officer Osinski has been laying very
low. The policeman has dropped off the radar screen. In fact, the once ambitious
crime fighter's name has not appeared in a single news item this past year.
Apparently Joseph Osinski -- unlike Joseph Rhone -- is fully aware of both
the overwhelming powers afforded to police, and the equally effective power
of a suspect's choice to remain silent.
UPDATE -- November 28,
Murder Trial Postponed
The trial against Joseph Rhone, previously scheduled to begin in early
December, has again, been postponed.
UPDATE -- August 4,
Joseph Rhone's murder trial has been delayed for as long as a
UPDATE -- April 30, 2003
Murder Trial Set to begin
Rhone, will face
murder charges in the shooting death of Thomas C. Holmes. The trial is scheduled
for May 19, 2003.
UPDATE -- February 12,
"Terroristic Threats" charges
Carsia, Joseph Rhone's pricey private
attorney, flatly told the press he would get his client's confession tossed
out and said, "Without the statement, I don't believe they have any evidence
at all." Carsia slyly added, "I don't believe they have found the gun."
Allegheny County homicide Detective Robert Ladley didn't seem worried one
bit about the missing murder weapon when he appeared at the January 27 coroner's
hearing. Speaking of Holmes' murder which happened around 8 P.M., Ladley
smugly testified about the solid proof against Rhone, "He had the gun
at 4 P.M."
Ladley was speaking of the strange coincidence that Joseph Rhone, his brother
Yusef Rhone, and Darrell Collins, were arrested by city and county police
on January 15 for a supposedly "unrelated incident" that occurred
a few hours before Tommy Holmes was shot with a handgun. There was apparently
an argument near McKeesport's "Crawford Village" where a man was
threatened by the suspects, especially Joseph Rhone, who waved a small silver
All three faced a hearing on the very serious charges of criminal
conspiracy and terroristic threats. The victim in the case is
on record as 18-year-old Devon King.
Based solely on an early tip from Detective Joseph Osinski, police theorized
that the same gun used in the "terroristic threats" charge was used to kill
Holmes, but, better at producing theories than evidence, police have never
actually recovered the gun. Detective Ladley seemed to suggest that the testimony
of Devon King would suffice as proof that Joseph Rhone had a gun on the day
Holmes was shot.
Like so many other other parts of this absurd homicide investigation, the
bizarre "terroristic threats" charge -- which went from unrelated incident
to solid evidence of murder one -- has now melted away into thin air. Devon
King, the alleged victim, was apparently too busy to show up at the hearing.
All charges have been completely dismissed.
The conveniently timed "Crawford Village" incident, which conveniently gave
cause for Joseph Rhone's initial arrest and conveniently resulted in Yusef
Rhone's jailhouse testimony against his brother, and which brought about
the charges that were conveniently dropped -- is more than suspicious. It
is transparent evidence of the most insidious kind of police misconduct.
How much longer will it be before evidence surfaces that Officer Joe Osinski
had some deep involvement with the critical "Crawford Village" incident that
has now disappeared?
UPDATE -- February 7,
My Brother's Keeper
Joseph Rhone has
used many different stories concerning his actual involvement in the murder
of Tommy Holmes and his real motivations. One story Rhone has never used
is the one investigators came up with, based on a tip from McKeesport Police
Officer Joe Osinski -- revenge on Holmes for his complicity in the "arrest"
of his half-sister.
Even the sleepy McKeesport Daily News noticed the odd and changing tale police
Daily News, January 28, 2003:
Police earlier suggested Holmes was shot in revenge for his giving information
that led to the arrest of Rhone's sister on drug-related charges. "The victim
had provided reliable information in the past regarding the sales and possession
of illegal drugs in the McKeesport area," a police affidavit stated. That
did not come up in testimony yesterday.
is the only person to confirm the
half-sister revenge story. And that's not all he confirmed. Yusef, 19-years-old,
gave investigators everything they needed to arrest his brother Joseph for
Giving incriminating evidence to police, Yusef said his brother was very
angry that Tommy Holmes had given incriminating evidence to police! He informed
them that Joseph had a small silver handgun. Yusef said his brother had called
Holmes a "bitch", that shortly after Joseph left the house, gunshots were
heard, and that afterward, Joseph returned and fully confessed to the
Yusef's seemingly enthusiastic offer of information about Joseph Rhone was
peppered with damaging details.
Since the half-sister's "arrest" turned out, in reality, to have been a meeting
with police lasting about an hour, it's doubtful to have played any motivating
role. Even police have given up on the "arrest" revenge scenario, and yet,
they are stuck with the confirmation by Yusef.
Clearly Yusef was lying and simply mouthing words that the police wanted
to hear. But why? What could possibly have forced Yusef to turn so fully
and completely against his own brother?
Research has now revealed a startling
fact which goes a long way to answering those questions:
Yusef Rhone was in jail when he
supplied authorities with the mountain of evidence against brother Joseph.
Without that mountain, police
had no cause to arrest Joseph Rhone, they had only the mole-hill of Officer
This brother's keeper was a jail-keeper, and no one is very surprised to
find that a teenager would lie about his brother to escape a dire situation,
especially in a climate where jail-time is a very real threat and the brother
is on probation for a previous crime.
The question now isn't why did Yusef Rhone give up his brother -- the question
is, which law enforcement officer pressured Yusef into positively confirming
and giving details of a detective's hunch that eventually proved to be a
UPDATE -- January 28,
All lawyered Up
On Monday January 27, Joseph
Rhone, A.K.A. Joseph Nixon -- 20 --was held for trial on homicide charges
in the shooting death of Tommy Holmes, but
Carsia, his well-spoken,
high-powered, private defense attorney said he will seek to have his client's
confession thrown out.
It is unclear who's footing the bill
for Rhone's star-spangled lawyer, but apparently -- they're getting their
"The statement seemed to be induced,"
Carsia noted for the press. "Without the statement I don't believe they have
any evidence at all linking him to the crime."
Just in case the confession isn't thrown out, Rhone's lawyer is ready with
"Plan B." Carsia announced that his client acted in self-defense and that
he will file a motion to suppress the statement Rhone gave to Allegheny County
homicide Detective Robert Ladley and one other county detective.
Lillian Thomas of the Post-Gazette reported that in Rhone's January
16 confession, he said after running into Holmes on the street, that Holmes
accused him of stealing $40, and that while arguing,
Rhone. In the struggle, Rhone
says he got hold of the weapon and then shot Holmes in self-defense.
Ms. Thomas repeated the outrageous
rumor that Rhone was angry with Holmes because he believed Holmes had provided
information that led to the arrest of Rhone's half sister. Lillian Thomas
even went so far as to attribute the rumor to Holmes' father!
Joseph Rhone never mentions the half-sister, which is odd, since McKeesport
police Detective Joe Osinski was so certain she was the motive. He
shared his theory with county investigators as they arrived at the crime
scene. Officer Osinski must not have realized that if Rhone's half-sister
needed help in a legal matter, he didn't have to gun down his neighbors --
Rhone could simply have given Mr. Carsia a call.
How did this 20-year-old get a high-priced attorney over a $40 argument?
UPDATE -- January
The Missing Motive
Although the reason for
the murder may have been a revenge killing, or a bad
drug deal, or a deadly argument, police seem sure of one thing:
they've found the person who murdered Tommy Holmes. The
20-year-old suspect wasn't very hard to locate -- he was
already in jail at the time of the arrest.
On January 17th, Allegheny County homicide Sgt. Jeffrey
Korczyk said the previous arrest of a Braddock, PA. woman, on
information provided by Tommy Holmes, is probably what led to his killing
by the woman's half-brother,
Rhone, who also is known
Rhone/Nixon lived near Holmes on Shaw Avenue in
McKeesport. Holmes, who actually lived on Fairview
Street, died on nearby Madison Avenue.
Rhone/Nixon was charged with homicide on January 16, 2003.
McKeesport police arrested Makinma Gustave, 30, on drug possession charges
on January 8 -- the day before Tommy Holmes was killed. Police claim
Rhone/Nixon sought revenge, and dramatically walked
a few blocks and gunned Holmes down with a pistol.
Authorities claim the gun used to murder Tommy Holmes was
a silver .380-caliber
Rhone/Nixon, was arrested for
the murder while he was already in the Allegheny County Jail
on an unrelated charge. He had been there since January 15,
when he was arrested by McKeesport police on a terroristic threats charge
stemming from an incident earlier on Jan. 9. In that incident, police said,
Rhone/Nixon had displayed a silver pistol.
Joseph Rhone/Nixon, 20 apparently has a 19-year-old brother
known as Yusef with whom he lived.
Yusef told police his brother had a silver .380-caliber pistol, and that
on the day Mr. Holmes was shot, Yusef and Joseph had discussed how Tommy
Holmes had "set up" their half-sister. Yusef Rhone also told county detectives
that after Rhone/Nixon left their residence on foot, he heard gunshots
and then his brother returned home and confessed that he had just murdered
Sgt. Jeffrey Korczyk said Rhone/Nixon, confessed to detectives that
he had done the killing, but not because of his half-sister's arrest.
Rhone/Nixon said he and Mr. Holmes had argued over a drug deal of
some sort which apparently happened at some time in the summer of 2002, but
no details were offered.
Rhone/Nixon also oddly insisted that he shot Holmes in self defense.
Sgt. Korczyk dismissed the allegation as "self-serving" and "baseless."
Speaking of self-serving and baseless, although police have a confession
-- they have yet to recover the much talked of,
Evidence is scheduled
to be presented at a coroner's inquest on January 27, 2003.