Tyrone Anthony Frazier, the Bethesda mail carrier accused of allowing his postal service jeep to be used in the assassination of Iranian exile Ali Tabatabai, was indicted yesterday on charges of an accessory to murder.
A Montgomery County grand jury returned the indictment yesterday morning charging the 31-year-old Frazier with being an accessory both before and after Tabatabai's July 22 slaying, and with making false statements to police during a 10-hour interrogation.
However, Frazier's attorney, former D.C. Superior Court Judge Harry T. Alexander, said yesterday he would seek to suppress all statements Frazier made during his police interrogation because Alexander said, Frazier had no lawyer and was coerced into giving evidence against himself.
"We will file motions for suppression of evidence, motions to dismiss the indictment and for the suppression of (Frazier's) pretrial statements," Alexander said.
His comments came after a scheduled pretrial hearing in Bethesda District Court was cancelled after Frazier's indictment, since the District Court has no jurisdiction over felony cases.
Frazier has been held without bond in local detention centers in Rockville and Annapolis since the day that Tabatabai was gunned down on the doorstep of his Bethesda home by an assassin posing as a mailman with a special delivery package.
Several hours after the murder, Frazier -- whose postal jeep had been found abandoned two blocks from Tabatabai's Bethesda home -- called his supervisors to say he had been kidnapped and his jeep had been hijacked.
He told the same story to police and FBI agents for 10 hours until, about 1 a.m. on July 23, he recanted and said he had lent the vehicle to an acquantance, Daoud Salahuddin, in return for $200 down payment and the promise of $300 more.
Police have charged that Salahuddin, also known as David Belfield, was the fake postman who killed Tabatabai with three shots from a 9 mm. handgun. Salahuddin was a close associate of Washington-based supporters of Irainian leader Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini. Tabatabai was an outspoken critic of the Khomeini government.
Law enforcement officials believe Salahuddin fled the country the night of the murder, taking a jet from New York's Kennedy Airport to Europe and arriving in Iran by Friday, July 25.