After his confession in July prompted the reopening of the case, Bob Walker, the only known living witness to Miss Duke’s murder of her longtime designer, reacts to the Newport PD’s latest closing of the case.

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The Newport Daily News Dec. 5th, 2021

By Robert E. Walker As the only known living witness to Doris Duke’s murder of Eduardo Tirella in 1966, I contacted the Newport Police Department on July 1 and spent two hours the next day with Detective Jacque Wuest, the NPD’s “cold case detective” who then reopened what she called “the Duke case” after nearly 55 years.

I was therefore severely disappointed when I heard she not only closed the case but reached the stunning conclusion that “there is no new evidence that would change the previous conclusion in this matter” or “warrant further review.” That is simply untrue and there is a massive amount of evidence that Detective Wuest was aware of that proves it.

If you read “Homicide at Rough Point” by Peter Lance, the case for murder is clearly presented. In the book he reports, based on an interview with a Newport officer who was there on “the night of,” that the Chief of Police, Joseph Radice, walked Doris Duke “arm in arm” back into her estate. He ignored every proper protocol of homicide investigation, including dismissing the reports and actions of attending officers, took over the investigation and 96 hours later closed the case, declaring it an “unfortunate accident.” After reading Peter’s book this spring, I was compelled to come forward and testify to what was embedded in my mind from 55 years ago.

I was 13 years, 7 months old, The Newport Daily News paperboy for Rough Point. On the late afternoon of Oct. 7, 1966, I heard all of the events leading up to the murder and witnessed Doris Duke getting out of the car, standing stone cold staring down at the bottom of the car listening for signs of life and violently dismissing me three times as I offered her personal assistance, only to be told each time to “Get the hell out of here.”

The City Manager should direct the NPD to reopen the case, forever burying Chief Radice’s corrupt “accident” story and setting the record straight for Newport and its history. Eduardo was a wonderful man who didn’t deserve to die as he did.

Robert E. Walker is a resident of Newport and witness to events related to the death of Eduardo Tirella.

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