Authorities say Scott Sica (right) gunned down North Carolina polce Sgt. Gregory Martin in 1996.
Cape Coral, Florida (News-Press) -- A Cape Coral man arrested Wednesday and charged with the murder of a North Carolina police officer 16 years ago had never heard of the officer's death until he was taken into custody last week, his lawyer said today.
Stu Pepper, who is representing Scott Vincent Sica, 36, said Sica was shocked by his arrest and is still in the dark as to what evidence authorities have against him.
"He feels very bad for the family (of the officer)," Pepper said. "Anytime someone's murdered unjustifiably, it's a tragedy and that's how he sees it."
On Oct. 5, 1996, Sgt. Gregory Martin, 30, a three-year veteran of the Jonesville Police Department, spotted a man authorities now believe to be Sica standing behind a strip mall near the highway.
The man drove off and Martin pulled him over around 2:40 a.m. A state trooper found Martin lying on the side of the road, shot in the head multiple times at close range.
Sica is charged with first-degree murder.
Authorities in North Carolina have not said much about what led them to Sica 16 years after the fact, but have stated they obtained information and physical evidence.
They day before he was arrested, authorities brought Sica in to take hair samples and fingerprints, Pepper said.
But, Pepper noted, Sica had already served time in federal and state prisons, so authorities should have had that information on file.
Arrested in 1998, Sica was convicted of two armed bank robberies in Tennessee, sentenced to nearly 10 years and ordered to pay $10,000 restitution.
While serving that sentence, authorities connected him to an armed robbery at a Home Depot in North Fort Myers and he served time in a Florida prison before finishing his federal stint in 2006 and spending the next five years on supervised release.
"He finished his probation and went about living an overall happy life in Lee County," Pepper said.
He said Sica admitted to his previous crimes but had nothing to do with shooting Martin.
"He said, 'I'll do time for something I did, but I won't do time for something I didn't do," Pepper said.
Sica, who assisted his father in his electrical business and occasionally chartered cruises for a living, isn't a murderer, Pepper said.
"He told me he's never killed anyone in his life," Pepper said. "He's a nice little man. He reminds me of a leprechaun."
Sica is set to be extradited to North Carolina in the next few days, which he is not contesting, Pepper said.