Created: 03/17/2014 6:25 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Don’t talk to Richard Diab about justice. The former Albuquerque preacher was found not guilty of first degree murder last week, but this week he is on the streets, homeless and out of work. Diab was locked in the county jail for three years and eight months before standing trial. It took the jury less than two hours to find him not guilty.
The 59-year-old Diab was a preacher at a church ministering to street people along east Central Avenue for about 15 years, until one hot night in July 2010. Albuquerque police arrested Diab for the fatal stabbing of Angel Hernandez Gomez, a member of the church community, in Gomez’ apartment on Charleston Drive SE.
“I’m living the experience now on the opposite side,” Diab said while looking over the crime scene Monday afternoon. “The people that I used to serve and help – now I know what they’re going through, and it hurts.”
All along Diab has said he was asleep in the next room when two other men broke in and attacked Gomez. Diab said he sustained a stab wound while trying to help stop the attack, but police arrested him as the only suspect. He waited 44 months in the county jail before going on trial. The verdict was not guilty but the taste of freedom is bitter.
“I have nothing,” Diab said. “I had a job, I had a roof over my head, I had a car, I had a life, I had a wife. It’s all gone. It’s all gone.”
Nowadays Diab owns nothing but the shoes on his feet and the clothes on his back. He says he is looking for work every day and staying at a halfway house dormitory every night. He says he is especially frustrated because he gave police a detailed description of one of the attackers – a well-known and frequently arrested troublemaker in the neighborhood. Police and prosecutors repeatedly defended their investigation during the trial last week.