JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After a judge's ruling Wednesday, Channel 4 is able to release details of how a 9-year-old was lured away from her parents into the bathroom of a Southside Boulevard Best Buy store last month.
Days after James Tadros' arrest Aug. 23 on charges including attempted murder, WJXT obtained the arrest and booking report fully detailing what investigators say he told them. The public defender and state attorney asked Judge Adrian Soud to block the station from reporting details from the report that Tadros' defense attorney said contained a confession.
WJXT fought in court and a judge ruled that the government cannot stop the station from reporting on the full contents of the document that details what Tadros is alleged to have told police. Because of the graphic nature of those comments, we are not quoting all of the words attributed to Tadros, but we felt the public should know details of how Tadros told police he lured the girl into the restroom.
"I put the cell phone in the bathroom and asked the girl to get it for me," Tadros told detectives. The police report goes on to quote Tadros as saying, "The violent rage was in control, I wasn't in control."
Channel 4 crimes analyst Ken Jefferson says that ploy -- asking the girl to retrieve his phone -- is something to learn from. He says even adults could fall for that line.
"Most adults won't analyze it either," Jefferson said. "Just because of the kindness in most people's hearts, they're going to be willing to oblige him."
The officer says Tadros also told him about how the 9-year-old victim fought off the attack.
"She put up too much of a struggle and then fist fight," the report quotes Tadros as saying.
Jefferson said that's exactly what the girl needed to do, and the struggle is what drew the attention of store customers and employees that led to her rescue -- and Tadros' arrest.
"He thought it would be just an easy, frightful child that he got a hold of, and he'd be able to do whatever he wanted to do," Jefferson said. "But she changed his whole thought process as to what do that particular day. She decided that she wanted to live."
Channel 4 fought for the right to share this information so the public has knowledge to protect themselves and their families from an attack like this and to preserve the ability of a free press to report information without government censorship.
We are not airing many of the statements made by the accused, because of their graphic nature and the fact it could be damaging to his right to a fair trial.
Tadros remains in the Duval County jail and is due back in court on for arraignment on Monday.
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