Armored Car Shooting Victim Picks Wrong Defendant

Times Staff Writer

The trial of two brothers charged in the shooting of an armored car guard in Glendale got off to a rocky start this week when the guard identified the wrong man as his assailant.

But two other prosecution witnesses on Tuesday pointed out Alfred Anthony Giordano, 32, as the man who shot the guard at close range with a military-style assault weapon on Dec. 31, 1987, and then sauntered away.

Giordano and his brother, Peter Paul Giordano, 25, are each charged with attempted murder and attempted robbery in the shooting of the guard. They are being tried in Pasadena Superior Court.

Testifying from his wheelchair Tuesday, the guard, Howard White, bared his chest, revealing some of the five bullet wounds he suffered in the attack. White was shot when he and the driver of a Sectran Armor Transportation Co. vehicle were making a delivery to the Valley Check Cashiers at 6344 San Fernando Road. White, 32, of Hawthorne was shot in the abdomen, head and hip and was left paralyzed from the waist down with only limited use of his arms and hands.

A day earlier, White had stared at the two brothers, wheeling his chair forward for a closer look before confidently pointing out Peter Giordano as his assailant. Alfred Giordano is charged with firing the shots that critically wounded White. Peter Giordano is charged with driving the car that took the brothers away from the scene. The two have similar facial features, hair styles and dark mustaches.

The misidentification by White was part of a day of testimony which Deputy Dist. Atty. Joanne Glidden called frustrating.

Earlier in the day, Glidden's lead witness, Amparo Rey, said she could not remember the details of an incriminating conversation she had with Alfred Giordano days before the shooting. Rey told police investigators last year that, over dinner at the home where they both lived, Giordano told her that he intended to rob an armored car. But under questioning by Glidden this week, Rey repeatedly said she no longer remembered Giordano clearly voicing his intentions.

"He didn't really specify, you know, 'I'm going to rob it tomorrow, I'm going to rob a truck,' " Rey said. "We were talking about armored trucks, but it wasn't like . . . he was going to rob one."

Pointed Out Defendant

Rey, a bank teller, lived at Giordano's aunt's home, where Alfred Giordano was staying in the weeks before the shooting.

On Tuesday, several witnesses pointed out Alfred Giordano as the man they saw at the scene of the shooting.

A Los Angeles man who had just cashed a $10 lottery ticket when he happened upon the shooting scene testified that he was standing four feet from Anthony Giordano when he saw Giordano raise a military-type weapon and shoot White. The man, Gannon Gray, said he ran for shelter inside the check-cashing store.

Another witness, Sherry Slavek, pointed out Alfred Giordano as the man she saw walk away from the shooting scene holding a gun. Slavek was in a convenience store making a purchase when Giordano walked by, she said.

Bag Had No Money

Glidden told the jury of eight men and four women last week that she would prove that Alfred Giordano is the man who approached White as he was heading back to the armored car. Glidden quoted Giordano as saying at the time, "Give me your money or I'll blow your head off." He then shot White and left him lying on the ground, taking a money bag that turned out to have no money in it, the prosecutor said.

Giordano's wife, Kimberly, was a key witness for the prosecution in a preliminary hearing last year. At the hearing, Kimberly Giordano testified that Giordano told her days after the shooting that he had shot an armored car guard. Kimberly Giordano, who was divorced from her husband at the time, also testified that she helped her husband saw down an Uzi-type weapon in the days after the shooting and watched him bury the gun in their back yard. The gun has not been recovered.

May Renounce Testimony

But the Giordanos have since reconciled, and Kimberly Giordano said in a pretrial hearing last week that she may renounce her previous testimony when she is called by the prosecution to testify in the trial. At a pretrial hearing last week, she testified that the investigating officer in the case, Joseph Jiminez, had sex with her and coerced her to implicate her husband.

Alfred Giordano's attorney, Robert C. Swanson, said in his opening statements that Kimberly Giordano's testimony will prove that the Glendale Police Department investigation that led to the arrest of the two brothers was tainted by impropriety.

Kimberly Giordano also testified at the preliminary hearing that Jiminez gave her $2,000 as an advance on the reward money offered by the armored car company for the apprehension of White's assailant.

Glendale Police Sgt. Dean Durand said an internal investigation is being conducted into the allegations.

Swanson said he would prove that the evidence presented by prosecutors in the case was not enough to convict Alfred and Peter Giordano in the holdup.

The Giordanos are being held at the Los Angeles County Jail. If convicted, they could each be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

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