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Former UCSD student Eric Volz accused of murder in Nicaragua

Damning testimony from alcoholic drug dealer and petty thief

— In February, a Nicaraguan court convicted former UCSD student Eric Volz of murdering a beautiful young Nicaragüense he had previously lived with. She was found dead early on an afternoon last November, strangled and hog-tied on a dress- shop floor in the village of San Juan del Sur. The court sentenced Volz to 30 years in prison. "I saw the trial on tape," says Kensington videographer Kevin Carpenter, "and my only reactions were shock and disbelief."

Carpenter and Volz met in a 2002 telemedia class at Southwestern College. "I was about seven years older than most kids in the class, who didn't seem to know what they wanted to do yet in life," Carpenter tells me. "Since I already had video experience, I would try to help the more serious students. And Eric was one of them. You could see that he knew exactly what he wanted to do. He had gone to Central America once already to work on a surfing documentary. He was always a self-confident person, and a lot of ambition showed clearly in his personality."

The two became friends and started spending time together outside of class. After Volz went to Nicaragua in 2005, they talked several times by phone. "Eric had a World Phone," says Carpenter. "Or it may have been Skype, a voice-over-Internet protocol that allows you to avoid telephone charges."

Aisha Carabello met Volz in 2004 when they were students together at UCSD. Volz was majoring in Latin American cultural studies, while Carabello studied education. Today she lives in the Bay Area, where she is a preschool teacher.

"I liked Eric right away," Carabello tells me by phone from Berkeley, "and since I was looking for a roommate at the time, I invited him to move in as soon as a friend introduced him to me. That was in November. Then, when he announced he was leaving for the Dominican Republic in early 2005, I was very disappointed. We were not romantically involved, but he had become one of my best friends even though he had only lived at my place for a little more than two months. Now he wanted to surf in the Caribbean. And he loved to travel." Volz stayed briefly in the Dominican Republic before moving on to Costa Rica and finally to the small Nicaraguan coastal village of San Juan del Sur, famous in the surfing community for its fine waves. Carabello says she stayed in monthly contact with Volz by phone.

Moving on so abruptly is characteristic of Volz, according to Carabello. It helps to explain a few things, she says, that have intrigued watchers of Volz's case in Nicaragua. Shortly after his arrival in the country, Volz started dating Doris Jiménez, who worked as a waitress in one of the village's restaurants. Soon they moved in together, and Volz helped Jiménez with a business plan to start up a small dress shop. Meanwhile, Volz worked as a Century 21 real estate agent and earned enough money to start a business that fit his interests. He was successful in getting a little magazine called El Puente (the Bridge) off the ground. The magazine is devoted to promoting "smart growth and ecotourism" in Central America.

A Century 21 Web advertisement, El Puente's Web homepage, and recent Nicaraguan history suggest that Volz had entered turbulent waters. "Imagine if you could have bought beachfront property with stunning ocean views in Malibu or San Diego 100 years ago at amazingly low prices," reads the Century 21 ad. "Come see for yourself why Nicaragua is one of the most beautiful and safest countries in the world."

On El Puente's homepage we find the following: "Growth also brings to mind the region's rising tourism and development, which are two timely issues we keep an eye on. Much of our content deals with the socio-economic effects of tourism and development on contemporary society in Central America. From the explosion of surf culture to the anxiety experienced in small coastal towns because of the oncoming waves of foreigners, construction, and the almighty dollar. Society is reacting and evolving."

And less than a month before Jiménez's murder, the Sandinista party's Daniel Ortega was reelected as Nicaragua's president after 16 years out of office. Ortega was the Marxist firebrand who provoked the ire of U.S. president Ronald Reagan, leading him to support a terrorist opposition movement in the now-infamous Iran-Contra fiasco.

In the summer of 2006, Volz left San Juan del Sur to set up offices for his magazine in Managua, Nicaragua's capital. At the same time, Volz has told reporters and the Nicaraguan court, he and Jiménez agreed to split up and go their own ways after a relationship of one year. They remained friends, said Volz. But Jiménez would stay to operate her dress shop in San Juan, where she met a new Nicaraguan boyfriend. At the time on November 21 that Jiménez was killed in her shop, El Puente staff members say that Volz was working in their magazine offices in Managua, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Juan.

In the weeks following Jiménez's death, the Nicaraguan press, especially the left-leaning newspaper El Nuevo Diario, characterized Volz as the jealous boyfriend. Jiménez's mother and a close girlfriend testified in court that the victim had told them of Volz's jealousy and that shortly before her death someone had been following her.

MSNBC's Keith Morrison claims Volz reported that while he lived in San Juan, villagers had been resentful toward Jiménez. "There were a lot of people," Morrison quotes Volz as saying, "that were envious of the fact that she was dating me." When the reporter asked further whether Jiménez wanted to continue their relationship and move to Managua with the American, Volz said, "She wasn't invited."

Both comments fueled speculation that Volz gives off an arrogance that might have rubbed Nicaraguans wrong. Former roommate Carabello understands the perceptions. But she thinks the comments have to be understood in the context of great emotion. "Eric does have a kind of cockiness," she says. "He and I used to joke about it, how some people seemed to comment on his being cocky." But Carabello describes Volz as a "carefree, free spirit, kind and gentle. And he is not the jealous type at all. At the time I got to know him he was just coming out of a relationship. I detected no traces of jealousy in him."

The Nicaraguan court that eventually convicted Volz did not allow Volz's alibi to be entered as legal testimony. In contrast to the case against him, that alibi seems incontrovertible. It is well stated by Noah Goodman, the managing editor of El Puente magazine, in his MySpace blog and a letter he sent to his friends. Goodman was Volz's friend and former colleague on several documentary projects in San Diego. He, too, graduated from UCSD. In El Puente's early start-up period, Volz asked Goodman to come down to Nicaragua to take over the managing editor job.

Goodman begins his letter by describing the success El Puente had begun to show. "All of this was thrown to a halt, though, when on the afternoon of November 21 we received a call that Doris Ivana Jiménez, Eric's former girlfriend, was found dead in her store in San Juan del Sur." At first, writes Goodman, "they were saying it was a suicide," and word came that "a crowd had gathered in front of her store where her dead body lay as people gawked and waited for the police to arrive."

In Managua, Volz rented a car and drove immediately to San Juan. When he got there, Volz wanted to help in any way he could, writes Goodman. "Eric was in the middle of the whole situation, working with the police, spending time with the family, and trying to figure out what had happened. He insisted on helping pay for Doris's body to be sent to Managua to get a more professional autopsy than the coroner in Rivas (the district seat about 30 minutes outside of San Juan) was able to provide and for the funeral, which was to be held two days later.... After [Jiménez] was buried, Eric had gone to the police station to continue to discuss the case with them. Upon arriving there, the police announced that they were arresting him for the murder of Doris and hauled him away in handcuffs. We were shocked and afraid for Eric."

That night in Managua, writes Goodman, "we [the magazine's staff] were told that all of us might be wanted as accomplices to murder, [so] we left the office to stay at a friend's house and [tried] to figure out what we were going to do.... We didn't know how to react and were genuinely afraid of being caught up in a witch hunt that could put us all behind bars.... The next morning, we piled into a cab and headed for the El Puente office, which was also where [Eric and I] lived. We knew that the police would be waiting for us and we were nervous as hell, but also knew that we had nothing to hide. When we showed up, Martha, the maid who worked at the office, informed us that the police had already tried to enter the house, but that she hadn't let them in because they didn't have a search warrant, but that they were sitting on the corner watching the house. We sat in the house trying to keep ourselves busy...but all the while waiting for the police to come barging in.

"The lawyers that were helping Eric told us to gather all the people that had been in the house on the day that Doris was murdered and that they would send someone to pick us up and transport us to Rivas where Eric was being held so that we could make statements as to Eric's whereabouts on that day. All in all there were 10 people that had seen Eric in Managua [at the time of Doris's murder], including myself. I was there when he awoke around 9 in the morning and came out of his room across the hallway from mine...and was with him the whole day until he left for San Juan around 5 pm after we heard the news of Doris's death."

Goodman goes on to list the other people who had seen Volz that day, including "all the workers at El Puente, a representative of Etica y Transparencia, the group that oversaw the [latest] Nicaraguan elections, an internationally known Nicaraguan journalist who has worked with the New York Times and BBC among many other publications, and the hair stylist who had arrived for a previously set appointment to cut hair at the house and was with us when we received the call. We were sure that this would be more than ample evidence to prove that Eric had been nowhere near the scene of the crime [on the day of the murder]...."

But in Rivas the arraignment and preliminary hearing went forward. Goodman and his friends went to the preliminary hearing on December 7, but neither they nor representatives from the U.S. Embassy were allowed in the courtroom. At the same time, writes Goodman, "a mob of several hundred angry people had amassed outside of the courthouse calling for them to bring out the gringo so that they could deliver 'justice' upon him. We had gotten word the day before that cars with loud speakers mounted on top had been driving through town calling for people to come out to the trial, and that buses had been hired to transport them from San Juan to Rivas. In the days between the arraignment and the preliminary hearing a well-planned smear campaign had hit the pages of El Nuevo Diario, one of the two national newspapers, printing complete lies about Eric (including such gems as they found three fake passports on Eric, that he had confessed to the crime but the U.S. Embassy had stepped in and told him to retract his statement, and that his family had tried to bribe Doris's mom with $1 million to silence her).

"Doris's mom, who had worked for the Sandinista party organizing rallies, with the help of one of El Nuevo Diario's 'journalists'...had started to do everything in their power to convince the public of Nicaragua that Eric was guilty....

"[After the hearing]... despite the previous knowledge that there would be a mob waiting for Eric upon his departure from the courthouse, the police failed to provide any real security for Eric. The original plan for getting Eric out of there was for me to go running out the front of the courthouse and distract attention while they moved him in a car of one of the girls that worked with him.... The police stated that they had no cars available to transfer him to the jail. When confronted by the mob (where at least one person was spotted brandishing a pistol) as they moved into the streets with Eric, the police disappeared, leaving Eric and the chief of security of the U.S. Embassy to flee for their lives, ducking into the back of a nearby casino and eventually taking an hour to move the two blocks from the courthouse to the police station."

Between the preliminary hearing and Volz's trial in February, a judge granted "release to house arrest," writes Goodman. But then, "Doris's mom came out with an article detailing the history of corruption of the judge who had allowed this to happen, moving the Supreme Court to carry out an investigation against the judge (eventually costing him his job), and setting a precedent for what happens to anybody that dared to rule in Eric's favor.

"When the trial date came around, the judge appointed to oversee the case mysteriously became sick...taking all her days of leave and making them postpone the court date and find another judge."

In the meantime, Volz's defense team, including both American and Nicaraguan attorneys, collected phone records showing that on the day of the murder Volz had made phone calls from Managua. The records also showed that as Volz drove to San Juan after getting the bad news, communications towers getting closer and closer to his destination were routing his cell phone calls.

The primary testimony the prosecution used against Volz came from Nelson Dangla, an alcoholic well known in San Juan del Sur as a drug dealer and petty thief. The Nicaraguan prosecutor originally included Dangla in a group of four men, including Volz, who were suspects in the case. But the court decided to give Dangla immunity from prosecution if he would talk about what he knew. In court, barely able to slur his words, Dangla testified that he saw Volz and another man, Julio Chamorro, also a well-known local criminal, taking something out of Jiménez's dress shop and putting it into a car around the time of her murder. (Along with Volz, Chamorro was convicted of Jiménez's murder and given a 30-year prison sentence.)

As the trial got under way, wrote Goodman, the new judge "declared the testimony of Ricardo Castillo, the noted journalist who was with Eric in Managua at the time of the murder, could not be true because it conflicted with Dangla's story. Dangla said he had seen Eric at the scene of the crime. The judge then remarked that 'obviously someone had put a lot of effort into finding alibis' for Eric (as if to say that we paid people off to testify in Eric's defense)." In addition to favoring Dangla's testimony over Castillo's, the judge also dismissed the exculpatory phone records as indicating only that somebody, not necessarily Volz, was using the phone.

Nowadays the only word friends receive from Volz has been indirect. It comes during the prison interviews done by such major media players as MSNBC and Dateline. On May 5, CNN televised Rick Sanchez speaking with the prisoner by phone. Volz, who sounded resolute despite his circumstances, told Sanchez that he's confident a Nicaraguan appeals court will reverse his conviction.

On April 27 Kevin Carpenter, Volz's former classmate at Southwestern College, organized a musical benefit at the San Diego Sports Club in Uptown to help the prisoner's parents pay for the mounting expenses of defending him. Volz's mother and stepfather, Maggie and Dane Anthony, live in Nashville, Tennessee. At the benefit, the Truckee Brothers, Pete Stewart, and Long Live Logos performed. The San Diego Padres donated a "VIP package" to sell raffle tickets at the door.

And Aisha Carabello, Volz's former roommate in Ocean Beach, is putting together another benefit for Volz in San Francisco in June.

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— In February, a Nicaraguan court convicted former UCSD student Eric Volz of murdering a beautiful young Nicaragüense he had previously lived with. She was found dead early on an afternoon last November, strangled and hog-tied on a dress- shop floor in the village of San Juan del Sur. The court sentenced Volz to 30 years in prison. "I saw the trial on tape," says Kensington videographer Kevin Carpenter, "and my only reactions were shock and disbelief."

Carpenter and Volz met in a 2002 telemedia class at Southwestern College. "I was about seven years older than most kids in the class, who didn't seem to know what they wanted to do yet in life," Carpenter tells me. "Since I already had video experience, I would try to help the more serious students. And Eric was one of them. You could see that he knew exactly what he wanted to do. He had gone to Central America once already to work on a surfing documentary. He was always a self-confident person, and a lot of ambition showed clearly in his personality."

The two became friends and started spending time together outside of class. After Volz went to Nicaragua in 2005, they talked several times by phone. "Eric had a World Phone," says Carpenter. "Or it may have been Skype, a voice-over-Internet protocol that allows you to avoid telephone charges."

Aisha Carabello met Volz in 2004 when they were students together at UCSD. Volz was majoring in Latin American cultural studies, while Carabello studied education. Today she lives in the Bay Area, where she is a preschool teacher.

"I liked Eric right away," Carabello tells me by phone from Berkeley, "and since I was looking for a roommate at the time, I invited him to move in as soon as a friend introduced him to me. That was in November. Then, when he announced he was leaving for the Dominican Republic in early 2005, I was very disappointed. We were not romantically involved, but he had become one of my best friends even though he had only lived at my place for a little more than two months. Now he wanted to surf in the Caribbean. And he loved to travel." Volz stayed briefly in the Dominican Republic before moving on to Costa Rica and finally to the small Nicaraguan coastal village of San Juan del Sur, famous in the surfing community for its fine waves. Carabello says she stayed in monthly contact with Volz by phone.

Moving on so abruptly is characteristic of Volz, according to Carabello. It helps to explain a few things, she says, that have intrigued watchers of Volz's case in Nicaragua. Shortly after his arrival in the country, Volz started dating Doris Jiménez, who worked as a waitress in one of the village's restaurants. Soon they moved in together, and Volz helped Jiménez with a business plan to start up a small dress shop. Meanwhile, Volz worked as a Century 21 real estate agent and earned enough money to start a business that fit his interests. He was successful in getting a little magazine called El Puente (the Bridge) off the ground. The magazine is devoted to promoting "smart growth and ecotourism" in Central America.

A Century 21 Web advertisement, El Puente's Web homepage, and recent Nicaraguan history suggest that Volz had entered turbulent waters. "Imagine if you could have bought beachfront property with stunning ocean views in Malibu or San Diego 100 years ago at amazingly low prices," reads the Century 21 ad. "Come see for yourself why Nicaragua is one of the most beautiful and safest countries in the world."

On El Puente's homepage we find the following: "Growth also brings to mind the region's rising tourism and development, which are two timely issues we keep an eye on. Much of our content deals with the socio-economic effects of tourism and development on contemporary society in Central America. From the explosion of surf culture to the anxiety experienced in small coastal towns because of the oncoming waves of foreigners, construction, and the almighty dollar. Society is reacting and evolving."

And less than a month before Jiménez's murder, the Sandinista party's Daniel Ortega was reelected as Nicaragua's president after 16 years out of office. Ortega was the Marxist firebrand who provoked the ire of U.S. president Ronald Reagan, leading him to support a terrorist opposition movement in the now-infamous Iran-Contra fiasco.

In the summer of 2006, Volz left San Juan del Sur to set up offices for his magazine in Managua, Nicaragua's capital. At the same time, Volz has told reporters and the Nicaraguan court, he and Jiménez agreed to split up and go their own ways after a relationship of one year. They remained friends, said Volz. But Jiménez would stay to operate her dress shop in San Juan, where she met a new Nicaraguan boyfriend. At the time on November 21 that Jiménez was killed in her shop, El Puente staff members say that Volz was working in their magazine offices in Managua, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Juan.

In the weeks following Jiménez's death, the Nicaraguan press, especially the left-leaning newspaper El Nuevo Diario, characterized Volz as the jealous boyfriend. Jiménez's mother and a close girlfriend testified in court that the victim had told them of Volz's jealousy and that shortly before her death someone had been following her.

MSNBC's Keith Morrison claims Volz reported that while he lived in San Juan, villagers had been resentful toward Jiménez. "There were a lot of people," Morrison quotes Volz as saying, "that were envious of the fact that she was dating me." When the reporter asked further whether Jiménez wanted to continue their relationship and move to Managua with the American, Volz said, "She wasn't invited."

Both comments fueled speculation that Volz gives off an arrogance that might have rubbed Nicaraguans wrong. Former roommate Carabello understands the perceptions. But she thinks the comments have to be understood in the context of great emotion. "Eric does have a kind of cockiness," she says. "He and I used to joke about it, how some people seemed to comment on his being cocky." But Carabello describes Volz as a "carefree, free spirit, kind and gentle. And he is not the jealous type at all. At the time I got to know him he was just coming out of a relationship. I detected no traces of jealousy in him."

The Nicaraguan court that eventually convicted Volz did not allow Volz's alibi to be entered as legal testimony. In contrast to the case against him, that alibi seems incontrovertible. It is well stated by Noah Goodman, the managing editor of El Puente magazine, in his MySpace blog and a letter he sent to his friends. Goodman was Volz's friend and former colleague on several documentary projects in San Diego. He, too, graduated from UCSD. In El Puente's early start-up period, Volz asked Goodman to come down to Nicaragua to take over the managing editor job.

Goodman begins his letter by describing the success El Puente had begun to show. "All of this was thrown to a halt, though, when on the afternoon of November 21 we received a call that Doris Ivana Jiménez, Eric's former girlfriend, was found dead in her store in San Juan del Sur." At first, writes Goodman, "they were saying it was a suicide," and word came that "a crowd had gathered in front of her store where her dead body lay as people gawked and waited for the police to arrive."

In Managua, Volz rented a car and drove immediately to San Juan. When he got there, Volz wanted to help in any way he could, writes Goodman. "Eric was in the middle of the whole situation, working with the police, spending time with the family, and trying to figure out what had happened. He insisted on helping pay for Doris's body to be sent to Managua to get a more professional autopsy than the coroner in Rivas (the district seat about 30 minutes outside of San Juan) was able to provide and for the funeral, which was to be held two days later.... After [Jiménez] was buried, Eric had gone to the police station to continue to discuss the case with them. Upon arriving there, the police announced that they were arresting him for the murder of Doris and hauled him away in handcuffs. We were shocked and afraid for Eric."

That night in Managua, writes Goodman, "we [the magazine's staff] were told that all of us might be wanted as accomplices to murder, [so] we left the office to stay at a friend's house and [tried] to figure out what we were going to do.... We didn't know how to react and were genuinely afraid of being caught up in a witch hunt that could put us all behind bars.... The next morning, we piled into a cab and headed for the El Puente office, which was also where [Eric and I] lived. We knew that the police would be waiting for us and we were nervous as hell, but also knew that we had nothing to hide. When we showed up, Martha, the maid who worked at the office, informed us that the police had already tried to enter the house, but that she hadn't let them in because they didn't have a search warrant, but that they were sitting on the corner watching the house. We sat in the house trying to keep ourselves busy...but all the while waiting for the police to come barging in.

"The lawyers that were helping Eric told us to gather all the people that had been in the house on the day that Doris was murdered and that they would send someone to pick us up and transport us to Rivas where Eric was being held so that we could make statements as to Eric's whereabouts on that day. All in all there were 10 people that had seen Eric in Managua [at the time of Doris's murder], including myself. I was there when he awoke around 9 in the morning and came out of his room across the hallway from mine...and was with him the whole day until he left for San Juan around 5 pm after we heard the news of Doris's death."

Goodman goes on to list the other people who had seen Volz that day, including "all the workers at El Puente, a representative of Etica y Transparencia, the group that oversaw the [latest] Nicaraguan elections, an internationally known Nicaraguan journalist who has worked with the New York Times and BBC among many other publications, and the hair stylist who had arrived for a previously set appointment to cut hair at the house and was with us when we received the call. We were sure that this would be more than ample evidence to prove that Eric had been nowhere near the scene of the crime [on the day of the murder]...."

But in Rivas the arraignment and preliminary hearing went forward. Goodman and his friends went to the preliminary hearing on December 7, but neither they nor representatives from the U.S. Embassy were allowed in the courtroom. At the same time, writes Goodman, "a mob of several hundred angry people had amassed outside of the courthouse calling for them to bring out the gringo so that they could deliver 'justice' upon him. We had gotten word the day before that cars with loud speakers mounted on top had been driving through town calling for people to come out to the trial, and that buses had been hired to transport them from San Juan to Rivas. In the days between the arraignment and the preliminary hearing a well-planned smear campaign had hit the pages of El Nuevo Diario, one of the two national newspapers, printing complete lies about Eric (including such gems as they found three fake passports on Eric, that he had confessed to the crime but the U.S. Embassy had stepped in and told him to retract his statement, and that his family had tried to bribe Doris's mom with $1 million to silence her).

"Doris's mom, who had worked for the Sandinista party organizing rallies, with the help of one of El Nuevo Diario's 'journalists'...had started to do everything in their power to convince the public of Nicaragua that Eric was guilty....

"[After the hearing]... despite the previous knowledge that there would be a mob waiting for Eric upon his departure from the courthouse, the police failed to provide any real security for Eric. The original plan for getting Eric out of there was for me to go running out the front of the courthouse and distract attention while they moved him in a car of one of the girls that worked with him.... The police stated that they had no cars available to transfer him to the jail. When confronted by the mob (where at least one person was spotted brandishing a pistol) as they moved into the streets with Eric, the police disappeared, leaving Eric and the chief of security of the U.S. Embassy to flee for their lives, ducking into the back of a nearby casino and eventually taking an hour to move the two blocks from the courthouse to the police station."

Between the preliminary hearing and Volz's trial in February, a judge granted "release to house arrest," writes Goodman. But then, "Doris's mom came out with an article detailing the history of corruption of the judge who had allowed this to happen, moving the Supreme Court to carry out an investigation against the judge (eventually costing him his job), and setting a precedent for what happens to anybody that dared to rule in Eric's favor.

"When the trial date came around, the judge appointed to oversee the case mysteriously became sick...taking all her days of leave and making them postpone the court date and find another judge."

In the meantime, Volz's defense team, including both American and Nicaraguan attorneys, collected phone records showing that on the day of the murder Volz had made phone calls from Managua. The records also showed that as Volz drove to San Juan after getting the bad news, communications towers getting closer and closer to his destination were routing his cell phone calls.

The primary testimony the prosecution used against Volz came from Nelson Dangla, an alcoholic well known in San Juan del Sur as a drug dealer and petty thief. The Nicaraguan prosecutor originally included Dangla in a group of four men, including Volz, who were suspects in the case. But the court decided to give Dangla immunity from prosecution if he would talk about what he knew. In court, barely able to slur his words, Dangla testified that he saw Volz and another man, Julio Chamorro, also a well-known local criminal, taking something out of Jiménez's dress shop and putting it into a car around the time of her murder. (Along with Volz, Chamorro was convicted of Jiménez's murder and given a 30-year prison sentence.)

As the trial got under way, wrote Goodman, the new judge "declared the testimony of Ricardo Castillo, the noted journalist who was with Eric in Managua at the time of the murder, could not be true because it conflicted with Dangla's story. Dangla said he had seen Eric at the scene of the crime. The judge then remarked that 'obviously someone had put a lot of effort into finding alibis' for Eric (as if to say that we paid people off to testify in Eric's defense)." In addition to favoring Dangla's testimony over Castillo's, the judge also dismissed the exculpatory phone records as indicating only that somebody, not necessarily Volz, was using the phone.

Nowadays the only word friends receive from Volz has been indirect. It comes during the prison interviews done by such major media players as MSNBC and Dateline. On May 5, CNN televised Rick Sanchez speaking with the prisoner by phone. Volz, who sounded resolute despite his circumstances, told Sanchez that he's confident a Nicaraguan appeals court will reverse his conviction.

On April 27 Kevin Carpenter, Volz's former classmate at Southwestern College, organized a musical benefit at the San Diego Sports Club in Uptown to help the prisoner's parents pay for the mounting expenses of defending him. Volz's mother and stepfather, Maggie and Dane Anthony, live in Nashville, Tennessee. At the benefit, the Truckee Brothers, Pete Stewart, and Long Live Logos performed. The San Diego Padres donated a "VIP package" to sell raffle tickets at the door.

And Aisha Carabello, Volz's former roommate in Ocean Beach, is putting together another benefit for Volz in San Francisco in June.

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