Osceola County Laborer Cleared in Home-Invasion Case

By Phil Fernandez | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted July 27, 1991

Authorities dropped charges Friday against an Orlando man four people had identified as one of the people who robbed, hogtied and blindfolded them in an Osceola County home July 6.

Investigators say they are convinced the man was at work when the robbery occurred.

" Thank God, I'm out of here," said Luis Mojica, 29, moments after being freed from the Osceola County Jail, which had been his home for nine days. "I'm innocent. "

Mojica's release is the latest twist in the early morning robbery of the home of Steve and Terry Griffith. The couple told police their Lakeshore Boulevard home was invaded by two men in suits who carried briefcases and revolvers.

A 15-year-old girl who was visiting the home said she was raped.

Mojica was arrested July 17 after Terry Griffith spotted him at a Calico Jack's restaurant in Kissimmee and told Osceola deputies he was one of the men who broke into her home.

Three other people who said they were in the Griffith home during the incident also pegged Mojica.

But Mojica was working on a labor pool job at the Dolphin Hotel at the time the Griffiths were robbed, said Mojica's attorney Mark NeJame of Orlando.

Evidence presented by NeJame convinced prosecutors and deputies to drop the charges.

"His bosses and his work records show he was at work," said sheriff's Commander Jack Pate. "There's no way he was any place else."

The Griffiths, however, say they still believe Mojica is their man.

"They all picked him out, " said Steve Griffith.

Griffith said he is unhappy with the investigation: "I've given them lead after lead and they've come up with absolutely nothing."

Investigators said they've been checking leads from a list of names suggested by the victims and residents who telephoned deputies with information. They also canvassed houses along East Lakeshore Drive to determine whether neighbors saw anything.

The Griffiths say two men armed with revolvers forced their way into the house about 7:30 a.m. July 6, minutes after Steve Griffith left for work.

Once inside, the gunmen rounded up Terry Griffith, the couple's three children - ages 3 to 16 - and the 15-year-old visitor, the couple told police. The victims said they were hogtied and blindfolded in a bedroom.

Source: Orlando Sentinel