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Attorneys to give closing statements in Claude Bird case Wednesday

Bronx resident Claude Bird, a 42-year-old Jamaican national,

Bronx resident Claude Bird, a 42-year-old Jamaican national, is on trial on six armed robbery counts. In this photo released Monday, May 17, 2010 by the Nassau County Police Department, he is shown in photos from 1993, left, and from his mug shot after being arrested. Photo Credit: AP

Attorneys will present closing arguments Wednesday in the trial of a Jamaican national accused of being a gunman in a 1993 robbery that netted $241,000 -- a crime called the biggest bank heist in Nassau's history.

An attorney for Claude Bird, 42, of the Bronx, rested the defense's case after testimony from false-confession expert Melissa Russano.

The Roger Williams University professor testified that a high risk for a false confession would exist if a 20-year-old prisoner gave a statement when he'd been denied food and water, held 10 to 15 days in "draconian conditions," and already was coerced into one confession. That scenario fits what the defense says happened to Bird after his 1994 arrest in Jamaica.

But Russano also testified true confessions are more common than false confessions.

A retired Nassau detective had testified that Bird waived Miranda rights and seemed relieved when confessing to him in a Jamaican jail in 1994 about the Lake Success robbery.

A different judge threw out the confession Bird first gave Jamaican authorities, because of conditions that "shock the judicial conscience."

Police arrested Bird in 2010 after they said he spent years as a fugitive following his escape from a Jamaica jail. The defense says a Jamaican judge let him go after getting no justification for his detention.


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