Authorities in Florida said the stage is set for a trial in the 1994 murder of a deCordova man’s daughter who allegedly was involved in a child custody dispute with the suspect.
Florida resident Clifford Brett Friend is indicted on a first-degree murder count in the alleged death of 35-year-old Lynne Anne (Allen) Friend.
She is the daughter of Bennie Allen, a deCordova resident since 1985. Her body has not been found.
Recently, authorities released an explosive sworn statement from a man who said Friend told him he had choked Lynne to death, and also told him that, “she (Lynne) wasn’t taking him (the son)” before he helped him dispose of her body.
“That’s very good news to me,” Bennie Allen said Monday. “But (there’s) nothing I can do but sit and watch,” Allen said Monday, noting that, at age 81, he won’t be making the trip to Florida for the trial when it starts early next year.
The man who gave the sworn statement, Alan Martin Gold, also detailed how he helped Friend dispose of a bag that the suspect said contained Lynne’s body.
Florida Assistant State Attorney Michael Von Zamft interviewed Gold on May 21, more than 14 months after Friend’s March 7, 2012, indictment. Because of his involvement in the case, authorities agreed to give Gold immunity – except for potential perjury. That’s according to documents released by Ed Griffith, public information officer for Florida State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
Rundle told the Miami Herald after Friend’s indictment that she had hoped Gold would agree to come forward.
Gold said during his sworn statement that on the night of Aug. 28, 1994, he was home in bed – sick with the flu – when he got a phone call from Friend, someone he had known for about 10 years. Friend told him that he had “a serious problem” and needed his help.
When Gold arrived at Friend’s home, he saw a large equipment bag inside the house.
“(Friend) said that Lynne had come over to get money, they were arguing over the child and visiting and vacation times,’” Gold told Von Zamft. “(Friend) said he basically lost it; he grabbed her (Lynne) from the back, knocked her to the ground and choked her.”
Von Zamft asked, “And by ‘choked her’ you mean he strangled her to death?”
“Yes,” was Gold’s answer.
Gold said he helped Friend take Lynne’s car to a street and disabled it by cutting one of the tires.
Then, Gold said, he went with Friend in a boat – nicknamed Villain – that they co-owned. Gold said he drove the boat about 7 or 8 miles out from Indian Creek Canal, and helped Friend dump the bag into the Atlantic Ocean.
Soon after that, the boat was stopped by Customs Marine Enforcement, leading to Rundle’s statement in March that “Clifford Friend and an associate were seen out on the Atlantic apparently dropping a large package from a boat.”
Gold said that about 2-1/2 to 3 years after the body was dumped, he contacted Friend because of money the suspect owed him. At the time of the interview, Gold said 13 or 14 years had passed without having any contact with Friend.
Asked to describe his relationship with Friend, his former son-in-law who is now 57, Allen said, “antagonistic.” He said he and his son, Lynne’s brother Larry Allen, tried to warn her to stay away from Friend after their divorce, which happened a couple of years before her disappearance.
“We warned her several times,” Bennie Allen said. “She called me and said she was moving out and I told her, ‘I don’t want to know where you’re going and I don’t want you to tell (Friend) where you’re going.’ She said, ‘I can handle him. He’s just all talk.’”
Allen said Lynne was planning to marry an architect from Tennessee, and they intended to move there.
Allen said she got permission from court to take (her son) Christian with her, but it never got that far.
Lynne Friend, who graduated from high school in Shreveport, La., never lived in Hood County, her father said.
Griffin said that Friend’s trial could start in four to six weeks.
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