Note: In a subsequent story broadcast on WABC-TV in New York, Reporter Bob Miller confirmed this story. He said his source in the Prosecutor's Office had told him "both Carter and Artis had flunked" their lie detector tests.
By HARRY MARAVEL,
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who has proclaimed his innocence of a 1966 Paterson triple murder, failed a lie detector test on the morning of the murders, authoritative sources reported Wednesday.
John Artist, Carter's co-defendant in the subsequent murder trial, also failed the lie test, the sources said.
Results of the lie detector tests have not been made available to Carter and Artis or their attorneys, the sources said.
Carter and Artis were convicted of the June 17, 1966 triple murder in 1967. Both are serving life sentences.
Carter told The Herald-News last Thursday he will not take another lie detector test under any circumstances.
Within hours of the 1966 murders, John McGuire, and Elizabeth police officer, administered the tests to the two men.
In his report, McGuire concludes that Carter was "attempting deception to all the pertinent questions" concerning the murders, according to the sources. McGuire further concluded that Carter "was involved in the crime," the sources said.
Carter has not only proclaimed his innocence, but he has repeatedly asserted that he and Artis passed he lie tests. He did so in the interview last Thursday.
In his book, "The Sixteenth Round," Carter quotes McGuire as saying after the tests, "Both of them are clean. They had nothing to do with the crime."
During the interview with Carter at Trenton State Prison, The Herald-News offered to sponsor a second lie detector test for the convicted murderer.
"There's not reason to take another lie detector test ... I will not take a lie detector test under any circumstances," Carter said.
"As far as a lie detector test is concerned, I don not need that. We have enough (evidence) here. Let's deal with this," he said., gesturing to the documents spread before him.
Carter was also told Thursday that, according to information available at the time, the results of his lie detector test were questionable
Carter said, "Oh sure, they say that nine years (later), but they turned us loose (on the day of the murders). They turned us loose because this man (McGuire) laid these drafts (of the tests) on the table and explained to Capt. (John) Gourley and all the rest of the police that this is why these two men could not have committed this crime."
"...Now when they talk about the test was questionable, that's bull, see. What they are doing is trying, is taking things and not telling the truth about them, telling things that they want," he said.(A fuller account of the Carter interview will appear in a forthcoming series in The Herald-News.)
McGuire was contacted Wednesday and would not comment on the Carter-Artis tests or the amount of experience he has had in administering such tests.
Another lie detector expert, who is an acquaintance of McGuire, estimated that McGuire had two or three years experience with the device in 1966. The validity of the exam, he said, would hinge on "the competency of he examiner."
McGuire, he said, "had not been too active" in lie detector work and is not a member of the New Jersey Polygraph Association.
He thought it unusual that a State Police polygrapher had not been called in by the Paterson police.
"It just wasn't done the way it normally would be done," said the expert, who has had many years of experience with lie detectors. He said he was "quite surprised" at the way the police handled the tests.
After the shootings, witnesses saw two armed black men drive away from the Lafayette Grill in a white car with distinctive "butterfly" tail lights. That was shortly before 3 a.m. Based on that description, police apprehended carter and Artis minutes later.
A police reporter, dated June 17, 1966, said a .32 caliber shell and a .12 gauge shotgun shell were found in Carter's rented car. The defendants have argued that the shells were planted there by police.
Although they failed the lie detector tests, Carter and Artis were released on the day of the murders because the state's case at that point was circumstantial, according to sources close to the investigation.
In October 1966, Alfred Bello told police that he saw Carter and Artis leave the Lafayette Grill immediately after the shootings. Both men were armed, he said.
Bello and Arthur Bradley said they were in the area attempting to break into a sheet metal plan. Both have long criminal records.
It was only after Bello and Bradley gave their statements to the police that the case against Carter and Artis was presented to the Grand Jury and the men were indicted.
Last year Bello and Bradley recanted that testimony. Based on those recantations, Carter and Artis are seeking a retrial.
Superior Court Judge Samuel Larner, who presided at the Carter-Artis trial, said the recantations "lacked the ring of truth" and declined to give them a new trial. That decision is now under appeal.