Seeking Justice Series Highlights Unsolved Murder: The Death of Whistleblower Dawn Pasela
Seeking Justice Series Highlights Unsolved Murder: The Death of Whistleblower Dawn Pasela
- Series begins Wednesday February 28 at 7 PM EST and tells the story of Dawn Pasela, who was found dead under suspicious circumstances as she was set to testify about misconduct by federal and state prosecutors in Cleveland, Ohio
- Program follows newly discovered evidence and a 2023 Sheriff investigation that the local police ignored procedures, failed to collect multiple cell phones or any evidence, erred in not investigating Dawn’s missing computer and failed to take any action to reopen the case – even after a directive to do so
- The series includes EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS with the Pasela family, Attorney Kim Corral and never before heard audio recordings
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CLEVELAND, OHIO – February 9, 2024 – FreeTonyViola.com, along with Uncovered.com and Seeking Justice, jointly announced that an upcoming YouTube Live Series will commence February 28 at 7 PM Eastern Standard Time and reveal mounting evidence that the death of whistleblower Dawn Pasela was the result of foul play, and to examine new clues and fresh witness statements about Dawn’s death. To watch the series trailer, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSgNXqGdljc
Born in 1985, Dawn graduated at the top of her class at Cleveland State and at Cuyahoga County Community College, and was hired by Prosecutors Dan Kasaris and Mark Bennett as Office Manager of a multi-jurisdictional Mortgage Fraud Task Force.
One of the cases 1,000 cases prosecuted by the Task Force was that of real estate broker Anthony Viola, who was indicted in both state and federal court for stealing $46 million in what prosecutors claimed was the “nation’s largest mortgage fraud case.” Viola maintained his innocence, and when Bennett and Kasaris became concerned their high-profile case was about to fall apart, they took the extraordinary step of directing Dawn to pose as a graduate student studying criminal justice and working with local defense attorneys on similar cases, then offer to assist Viola’s defense. Pretending to be a paralegal, Dawn recorded a series of post-indictment conversations with Viola so prosecutors could obtain confidential defense trial strategy information. Kasaris and Bennett also ordered Dawn to donate funds towards Viola's legal fees so they could use her cancelled checks to identify the law firm's bank account. During this undercover operation, Dawn became concerned that these actions were wrong and that prosecutors were withholding key evidence in many Task Force’s prosecutions.
Viola was convicted in federal court but subsequently exonerated at a second trial after Dawn provided Viola with exculpatory evidence prosecutors failed to produce before the first trial. Dawn had offered to testify about prosecutorial misconduct but was found dead in her apartment under suspicious circumstances, including:
- Three cell phones were found in her apartment – including one with an outbound call long after the supposed time of Dawn’s death
- The heat in her apartment was set very high to accelerate body decomposition
- Her computer, containing evidence in a myriad of criminal cases, was missing.
- Even though the heat was cranked up, the window in her apartment was left open, and could have been used by an assailant to exit her apartment
- Dawn’s blood alcohol content close to .60 was inconsistent with the police photos taken at the scene
More recently, evidence mounted that Dawn’s death was the result of foul play, and that multiple individuals had reason to harm her, including:
- In 2020, Facebook messages from the wife of Dan Kasaris established that Kasaris was having an affair with government witness Kathryn Clover, who testified in dozens of criminal cases on behalf of prosecutors. New records also confirm that Kasaris destroyed his own computer the day Dawn died.
- In 2020, the Justice Department blamed Mark Bennett for making false statements about evidence in Viola’s case. Bennett was fired by the Justice Department and suspended from the practice of law, Disciplinary Counsel v, Bennett, case number 2022-034; DOJ Inspector General Report Number 21-005.
- In 2022, Task Force Chairman Donald Cleland stated that Dawn possessed hard drives from the Task Force that contained evidence in hundreds of state and federal criminal cases -- establishing that many individuals could have harmed Dawn in an effort to obtain key evidence.
- Records obtained in 2023 establish tht the Parma Police didn’t call an ambulance to Dawn’s apartment but a mortuary service.
- A 2023 review of Dawn’s case by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office established that the Parma Police violated procedures and failed to collect cell phones or any evidence. Police also failed to canvass the area around Dawn’s apartment, interview witnesses, obtain surveillance video, or coordinate any investigation with the Medical Examiner’s Office.
- In 2023, Dawn’s friend Jason Samide confirmed that Dawn reached out to him shortly before her death, asking for his help
- In 2023, new evidence indicated that Marty Maurer was the last person to see Dawn alive and may possess critical information about what happened to Dawn. Maurer has refused to cooperate with any investigation.
- Despite specific directives by the County Sheriff to the Parma Police, that department refuses to follow any recommendations or turn the file to another investigative agency.
Viola is represented by Yale University Law School and Cleveland-based Attorney Kimberly Kendall Corral, who are pursuing litigation in which former federal prosecutor Mark Bennett was blamed for making false statements about evidence, and where the government has been ordered to produce the voice recordings made by Dawn, Viola v. Department of Justice, et. al., case number 22-2186, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Attorney Corral is also representing the Pasela family and has requested a new investigation into Dawn’s death.
STATEMENT FROM SEEKING JUSTICE SERIES CREATORS ANDREA CIPRIANO, DANA POLL AND LEXI KAKIS
"Dawn’s loved ones have spent more than a decade searching for the truth. They’ve experienced heartache, unimaginable pain, and ongoing grief. When we learned about Dawn’s story, we knew she was an advocate to her core. But, her work was left unfinished. We feel compelled to carry her torch, seeking justice. It’s never too late to uncover the truth."
STATEMENT FROM ATTORNEY KIM CORRAL
"Our investigative agencies should be accountable to the people. In 2023, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's office identified serious deficiencies in the Parma Police Department's investigation of the death of Dawn Pasela. More importantly, they identified necessary investigative steps that should be taken now. Parma must refer this investigation to an outside law enforcement agency. We will not allow this injustice to continue. I stand proudly with Dawn's family because what they are asking for is reasonable and there is no legitimate purpose not to fairly investigate Dawn’s death."
STATEMENTS FROM THE PASELA FAMILY
Mrs. Karen Pasela, Dawn’s Mother, said, “We went to the Parma Police close to two years ago in good faith and provided them with a great deal of evidence that required a new investigation. We provided city officials details about the theft of Dawn’s computer from her apartment, autopsy photos showing bruising on her neck and her broken necklace, transcripts detailing conversations about Dawn’s ‘murder’ and records that Dan Kasaris destroyed his own computer on the very the day Dawn died. In July of 2022, the Parma Police promised to turn this file over to Ohio BCI’s Cold Case Unit, but then gave us one excuse after another as to why that wasn’t done, leaving us to investigate this case on our own. We hope that more people will come forward and share what they know.”
Dawn’s Father, Mr. Edward Pasela, added: “The first thing Parma Police told us was that this case was above their pay grade and was too political because it involved prosecutors. If they felt that way, we hoped they would step aside and refer this case to another agency who could take a hard look at the facts, but the city refuses, leaving us with a cruel choice: either forget about our daughter or continue to seek a proper investigation into all that’s occurred. And we are going to do all we can to hold anyone who hurt our daughter accountable.”
STATEMENT FROM TONY VIOLA
“Dawn helped me and wanted to help many others, and If it wasn’t for her, I’d still be in prison now. I am extremely grateful for the support of so many people seeking justice for Dawn. Anyone who has any information about what happened to Dawn should contact us or submit an anonymous tip through our website.”
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE IS AVAILABLE
Uncovered.com, the nation’s largest database of cold cases, features Dawn’s case on their website and is providing investigative resources and assistance, details at https://uncovered.com/cases/dawn-pasela.
To subscribe to the YouTube Channel or to watch the series live or after each broadcast, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/@SeekingJusticeShow
To learn more about Dawn, or to review the County Sheriff’s directives to the Parma Police, or review other source documents, kindly visit www.JusticeForDawn.com. To learn more the criminal prosecution of Tony Viola, or to review court filings by Yale Law School or Attorney Kim Corral, please visit www.FreeTonyViola.com.
ABOUT FREETONYVIOLA.COM: FreeTonyViola.com’s mission is to shine a bright spotlight on the ‘win at all costs’ tactics, prosecutorial overreach and misconduct the United States Department of Justice employs when prosecuting American citizens. Tony Viola was investigated by the Cuyahoga County Mortgage Fraud Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional task force comprised of state, local and federal agencies, and prosecuted in parallel federal and state cases. He lost the federal case but was exonerated at a subsequent state trial. The website, originally created to solicit leads for Tony’s investigative team, has evolved into a tool to keep the public informed about critical developments in his case, and to share information that could potentially assist others who have been wrongfully ensnared by our criminal justice system. For additional information, visit http://www.FreeTonyViola.com, friend us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tony.viola.9212, or follow us on Twitter @TonyViola.
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