Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Miami Herald, August 7, 1976, "Bomb Trial: No Witness for Defense" by Joe Crankshaw.

The trial of three men charged with the May 6 attempted bombing of a Little Havana bookstore came to an abrupt end at 1:45 p.m. Friday when state prosecutors announced that they had completed their case.

Assistant Public Defender Mel Black, defending Antonio Rafael de la Cova, and attorney Nathan Kurtz, representing Blas Jesus Corbo, asked Dade Circuit Court Judge Ellen Morphonios for a directed verdict of acquittal on several technical grounds.

Black and Kurtz then announced that they would put up no further defense and offer no witnesses because the state had not provided them with all the available evidence prior to the start of the trial last Monday.

Judge Morphonios then instructed the attorneys for state and defense to prepare their final arguments for delivery to the jury and the charges, which she would read to the jury before it retires to reach a verdict.

Earlier Friday, an FBI informant swore that de la Cova planned the bombing of a Little Havana adult bookstore on May 6 "to keep the town hot."

But Miguel Angel Peraza, 36, father of four, said that de la Cova did not define what "hot" meant.

Peraza, who has been identified by FBI agents as a confidential informant for them, was the main witness in the trial of de la Cova and Corbo, who are charged with attempting to bomb the bookstore, arson, possession of unregistered explosives, transportation of unregistered explosives and possession of an unregistered firearm.

A third defendant in the case, Gary E. Latham, pleaded no contest, was adjudged guilty and faces 35 years in prison on the same charges.

Peraza, a heavy-set, small man with neatly combed hair, maintained a calm composure during more than two hours of questioning by Assistant State Attorney George Yoss, Assistant State Public Defender Mel Black and attorney Nathan Kurtz.

Peraza told the jury that he suggested an April demonstration against Libros Para Adultos, 3458 SW Eight St., an adult bookstore.

Peraza said he and Jim Garland, whom Peraza described as a "so-so anti-Communist," arranged for the demonstration and brought him de la Cova.

The informant also told the jury that that attempt on the bookstore with a bomb first was discussed at his home at 11:30 p.m. May 4. He said de la Cova came to the house, told him of the plan and showed him the bookstore.

Peraza said he informed the FBI the next morning and was told not to touch any evidence that might be handled by Corbo, de la Cova or Latham and to "be careful of myself."

Peraza recounted how he rode with de la Cova to Latham's Boca Raton apartment to watch the manufacture of the bomb by de la Cova, went to Florida Atlantic University and watched de la Cova and Latham prepare proclamations claiming credit for the bombing and went south to pick up Corbo in Miami Beach.

Peraza said that no one spoke to Corbo of the bombing incident until he got into the car.

Asked if Corbo protested the plan, Peraza said the only objection that the defendant made was that the bomb was too small.

Copyright (c) 1976 The Miami Herald

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Miami Herald, August 6, 1976, "A Day Costs Latham 15 Years" by Joe Crankshaw.

One day cost Gary Latham, 22, Fort Lauderdale, an additional 15 years in prison for the attempted bombing of a Little Havana adult bookstore last May 6.

Latham Thursday entered a plea of no contest to charges that he, Antonio Rafael de la Cova and Blas Jesus Corbo tried to bomb the bookstore at 3458 SW 8th St. Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Morphonios said Latham could expect a sentence of 35 years in prison.

Latham started to enter a guilty plea on Wednesday that would have resulted in a 20-year sentence, but he stopped because he found out he would have to testify against de la Cova, who is his friend.

But Thursday morning, acting under pressure from his family, Latham stood with his attorney, Alfonso Sepe, and Assistant State Attorney Hank Adorno and changed his innocent plea to no contest.

De la Cova tried twice to talk to Latham before the plea was changed, but was rebuffed by the attorneys. Latham never looked at his friend, was fingerprinted and taken from the courtroom before the jury arrived.

De la Cova stopped Sepe. "Dr. Sepe," he asked, "why did you do that?"

"I had to think of Gary," replied Sepe.

"But you never lost a case," protested de la Cova.

"I didn't win this one," said Sepe walking out of the courtroom, leaving only de la Cova and Corbo when a curious jury entered in a few moments.

Sepe said the state's decision to call Miguel Angel Peraza, 35, a confidential informant for the FBI who was with the trio at the bookstore May 6, may have affected Latham's decision.

Peraza, whom FBI agent George Kiszynski said received about $3,900 this year for his work, is expected to be the main witness called to the stand this morning. Latham may also testify.

State Public Defender Mel Black, representing de la Cova, said he did not know if de la Cova would change his plea.

Corbo showed no emotion at the change, and his attorney, Nathan Kurtz, continued to highlight the fact that none of the witnesses knew Corbo would be on the bombing attempt and that none of his fingerprints were found on any of the evidence. Corbo says he only went along for a ride with Latham, de la Cova and Peraza.

Peraza, who was granted immunity against prosecution on charges that he unlawfully possessed dynamite during a fake bomb attempt on his wife's car last fall, gave attorneys a lengthy sworn statement Wednesday night.

The statement is expected to be incorporated into his testimony before the court today.

Peraza's lengthy sworn statement says that he gained de la Cova's confidence by pretending to be a terrorist, although he never encouraged the defendant to commit any acts of violence.

Peraza said he began working for the FBI about three years ago to combat pro-Castro activists. He said he believes de la Cova to be Communist because he "hated this country" and often "hummed a Cuban Communist hymn."

In the statement, Peraza said he thought de la Cova was a defector from pro-Castro ranks but still a Communist. Despite this view, he says he was with de la Cova and Corbo when fire bombs were thrown at the residence of Vicente Dopico, an employee of Areito, a Spanish language magazine favoring a middle of the road policy with Castro.

Peraza says that a Boca Raton synagogue was an alternate target for the trio, the night the assault on the bookstore took place, and that other persons were also targeted for bombings.

Ironically, de la Cova has said he believed he was also fighting Communists and often rode around Little Havana spotting pro-Castro sympathizers for the FBI.

But the lengthy, two-volume deposition, also shows that Peraza took a polygraph of lie detector test to determine his truthfulness at the West Palm Beach Police Department. He passed most of the test, but flunked, according to his own statement, the portion in which he said he did not plant a stick of dynamite on his own car.

Peraza told the attorneys that he believed that agent Kiszynski was the person who told Metro police to search the Peraza home for dynamite, thus setting him up for an arrest on the fake bomb charge.

Two FBI laboratory experts testified they found fingerprints from de la Cova and Latham on the evidence, but none from Peraza. Defense attorneys have maintained that Peraza supplied the materials and explosives and built the bomb which was to have been used May 6.

State Attorney George Yoss said the state may wind up its main case today.

Copyright (c) 1976 The Miami Herald

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Miami News, August 6, 1976, "FBI Informer Ties 2 to Firebombing" by Hilda Inclan.

FBI informant Miguel Angel Peraza has told authorities that two of the three men standing trial for attempting to bomb a Little Havana adult bookstore, threw firebombs into the home of an Areito magazine staffer almost three weeks before they were arrested at the bookstore on May 6.

One of the two, Antonio Rafael de la Cova, 25, already faces charges for the attempted firebombing at the home of Vicente Dopico as well as for the attempted bombing of the apartment of Eliseo Perez-Stable, another staffer of Areito, regarded as a pro-Castro magazine by some exiles here.

But Peraza, 34, said in a sworn deposition Wednesday night that both de la Cova and Blas Jesus Corbo, 20, threw the firebombs into Dopico's house on April 17. None of the firebombs nor the pipe bomb planted outside Perez-Stable's apartment went off.

Peraza, who was working for the FBI as a confidential informant on April 17, said he remained in a car outside Dopico's house while de la Cova and Corbo left with the firebombs and returned empty-handed minutes later.

According to Peraza, de la Cova later returned to the scene in his motorcycle out of curiosity to find out whether police had come out to check the bombs.

Peraza, who is due to testify this morning, said in his deposition de la Cova masterminded the attempted bombing of the bookstore. He also said de la Cova, Corbo and Gary Latham, the third defendant, had also considered bombing a synagogue in Fort Lauderdale and had planned another bombing (he did not mention the site) for May 20, Cuba's Independence Day.

(Latham, in his second turnabout in the trial, yesterday agreed to testify against his co-defendants.)

Peraza said de la Cova introduced him to Corbo in April.

Peraza, who has been accused of fomenting the bookstore crime by de la Cova's attorney, Mel Black, denied prodding the three arrested men to commit crimes.

"I let them think I was following them," he said. "I let them think I was a terrorist. I couldn't let them think I was a priest either."

De la Cova, a history buff who collected data on ati-Castro organizations and police officers alike, bought a pipe in a Lindsley Lumber store in Fort Lauderdale with $5 he borrowed from Peraza sometime in April, the informant said.

He added that he saw de la Cova making the pipe bomb later droppped in front of the bookstore. He said de la Cova assembled the device May 5 inside Latham's Boca Raton apartment under Latham's supervision.

Peraza said he couldn't find out where the trio had obtained the explosives used to manufacture the bomb or those stored in the apartment.

De la Cova, 25, in turn, is expected to testify that Peraza planned the entire bookstore operation and furnished the explosives. Black has been basing his client's defense on FBI entrapment.

FBI Agent George Kiszynski testified yesterday that Peraza's reliability had been tested against other informants. He said Peraza, who had been employed by a Spanish-language newspaper and later by a magazine, had been cooperating with the FBI as a volunteer since 1973, furnishing information on Castro-Communist infiltration in Miami and had never sought or received any payment.

But, Kiszynski added, he paid Peraza a total of $3,900 in expenses so far this year.

Latham, 22, spent a good deal of time last night giving a sworn deposition on the bookstore incident to the prosecutors, Assistant State Attorneys George Yoss and Hank Adorno.

Latham yesterday agreed to testify against his co-defendants if the state asked him. It was his second turnabout in plea-bargaining negotiations with the state. He pleaded no contest to five of six charges which, in all, carry a maximum sentence of 35 years.

In return, the state dropped one charge against him for possession of explosives with intent to harm, carrying with it a maximum sentence of 15 years. The agreement also stipulated that the state sentence was to run concurrently with whatever federal sentence is handed down. All three defendants face similar federal charges on Aug. 31.

Latham had already pleaded guilty in federal court in exchange for a maximum concurrent sentence of 12 years.

Had he stood firm on the first guilty plea he entered before Circuit Court Judge Ellen Morphonios Wednesday, he would have spared himself a possible 15 years in jail.

At that time, the state was willing to drop another charge against him for placing an explosive device with intent to harm, which carried with it a maximum 15-year sentence.

The reason the state was less willing to drop that charge yesterday was that Latham was not needed as badly as a witness.

"Yesterday he had a lot more to give us before we gave immunity to Peraza and obtained his deposition," Yoss explained.

Latham withdrew his first guilty plea when he realized that his friend, de la Cova, was not going to enter a similar plea - a situation which would have forced Latham to testify against de la Cova.

Latham's mother, father and two sisters talked to him briefly yesterday and apparently persuaded him to negotiate again. De la Cova was visibly angered by the move, while Corbo remained aloof.

Judge Morphonios asked Latham yesterday if he fully understood the terms of his plea and warned him that he could get the maximum sentenced on the five charges - 35 years - and probably would.

He said he understood.

Copyright (c) 1976 The Miami News
The Miami News, August 4, 1976, "Bombing Trial Defense Keys on Informant" by Hilda Inclan.

At least two of the three men charged with attempting to bomb a Little Havana adult bookstore on May 6 appear to be trying for acquittal by discrediting an FBI informant whose tips led to their arrest.

The trial moves into its third day today with lawyers for all three men - Antonio Rafael de la Cova, Blas Jesus Corbo and Gary Latham - still trying to subpoena the elusive informant, Miguel Angel Peraza.

De la Cova's lawyer, Mel Black - who is basing his client's defense on entrapment by the FBI - blamed Peraza for "fomenting and creating the crime."

After recounting the series of bombings, assassinations and attempted assassinations that have rocked Dade County's Cuban community in the past two years, Black told jurors in his opening statement late yesterday that the defendants were "simple fall guys" of police and the FBI to ease public pressure for arrests.

Black said Peraza had both furnished the dynamite and made the bomb used in the attempted bombing.

Latham, however, in a statement after his arrest, said the explosives were provided by a woman and a black man in the Cuban community. His statement did not mention Peraza, who is white.

It is expected that the leading FBI agent on the case, George Kiszynski, will testify this week and clarify the informant's role in the case.

Attorneys and prosecutors, meanwhile, agreed yesterday on a jury panel of four men and two women after two days of challenges and deliberations. Witnesses for the state were expected to start testifying today.

Circuit Court Judge Ellen Morphonios denied a motion by the defense attorneys to have the trial moved to a different county because of what they claimed has been "excessive pre-trial publicity prejudicial" to their clients.

Assistant State Attorney George Yoss told the newly impaneled jurors that the dynamite found inside the pipe bomb allegedly dropped by de la Cova in front of the bookstore matched that found in the refrigerator of Latham's Fort Lauderdale apartment the day after their arrest.

Yoss said the informant made it possible for police and FBI agents to move in on the three men, preventing "what would have been a terrorist act."

"These three men acted in a clandestine, calculated planned effort to eradicate from the Cuban community an adult bookstore," Yoss said. "They took it upon their own hands to do so with a pipe bomb."

He said evidence would show that Latham signed out a typewriter at Florida Atlantic University - where he was an A-student in physics - the evening of May 5. It was used to write communiques - each to be called "proclamation of resistance" - were to be mailed after the bombing took place, he said.

He said police found numerous items used to make bombs as well as books on how to make them in Latham's apartment.

Nathan Kurtz, the attorney for Corbo, who was arrested with Latham inside a car near the bookstore, claimed that his client was picked up that night by the other two defendants and Peraza.

Corbo, he said, could not have seen the package de la Cova was carrying under his coat allegedly containing the bomb or a concealed .38-caliber gun because de la Cova sat in the front seat while Corbo sat in the rear of the car.

Copyright (c) 1976 The Miami News

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Miami Herald, August 3, 1976, "Jury Selection to Resume in Bookstore Bomb Trial" by Joe Crankshaw.

Selection of a jury for the trial of three men charged with the May 6 attempted bombing of a Little Havana adult bookstore continues this morning before Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Morphonios.

Five jurors tentatively were selected for the panel Monday even though defense attorneys for Antonio Rafael de la Cova, Blas Jesus Corbo and Gary E. Latham had claimed impartial jurors would not be found in Miami.

Attorneys on both sides provided two surprises after it became apparent that no plea negotiations were going to develop.

Assistant State attorney Hank Adorno revealed that Miguel Angel Peraza, a confidential FBI informant who was with the three defendants at the time of the alleged attempt, would not be called as a main witness in the case.

Adorno did not provide any information as to why Peraza would not be called, and attorney Alfonso Sepe said he expects that Peraza may be called as a witness by the defense.

Sepe also added a surprise by announcing that his client, Latham, will withdraw a guilty plea he entered in U.S. District Court to charges related to the bombing attempt.

Latham, de la Cova and Corbo are scheduled to go on trial on the federal charges Aug. 31 before U.S. District Judge C. Clyde Atkins.

Sepe, Assistant Public Defender Mel Black, representing de la Cova, and attorney Nathan Kurtz representing Corbo, spent Monday morning putting motions before Judge Morphonious.

The attorneys individually and collectively asked the judge to delay the case to allow more time for preparation of their defenses, and for a change of venue to move the trial out of Dade County.

The attorneys also asked that the judge compel the prosecutions to provide them with all statements made by their clients at any time and on any subject.

Adorno argued that the state had released all statements pertinent to the trial and that the other statements still held dealt with other crimes, including homicides, now under investigation by the Metro Public Safety Department.

"They are entitled to all statements made by their clients," ruled Judge Morphonious, giving the defense one of the two favorable rulings it received during the morning.

The other favorable ruling came when Judge Morphonious said she would reserve judgement on changing the site of the trial until it could be determined if selection of a jury would be possible.

Defense attorneys had argued that pretrial publicity, which they said included 65 articles in a three-month period plus numerous radio and television broadcasts, had "poisoned the mind of the community" and also provided inaccurate information.

To back up their contention, Black called Gordon Winslow, a deputy court clerk, who repeated statements made ealrier that he had given de la Cova a copy of an FBI report that had been given to Winslow by Alan J. Weberman, Yippie spokesman and author.

And Black called Mrs. Ethel Latham, mother on the defendent, who testified that she had never seen a Nazi flag displayed in her son's apartment in Boca Raton. FBI agents reported finding a Nazi flag in the apartment.

The FBI report and the Nazi flag were mentioned in news stories quoting officials as saying they did not know how the report got into de la Cova's hands. Weberman and Winslow came forward after the stories were printed.

But Judge Morphonious ruled that the selection of a jury would go forward. "I am not going to order a change of venue at this time. I believe that the publicity prior to the trial has not prejudiced the public's mind and that a jury can be selected," she said.

If convicted on the seven-count [?], alleging conspiracy to commit arson, unlawful possession of expolsives, attempted arson and possession of an unregistered concealed firearm, the three could receive up to 45 years in prison.

Federal charges, covering possession of unregistered firearms or destructive devices and conspiracy to explode a destructive device, carry a maximum sentence of 35 years.

According to investigators, de la Cova, Latham and Peraza, met in Boca Raton, drove to miami Beach and picked up Corbo, then went to the Libros Para Adultos, 3458 SW Eighth St. and attmepted to place a pipebomb at the door about 1:30 a.m. May 6.

A posse of FBI agents, Miami and Metro police were waiting to arrest them.

Copyright (c) 1976 The Miami Herald

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Miami Herald, May 22, 1976, "Bomb Suspect Had Secret FBI Report" by Gene Miller and Joe Crankshaw.

FBI agents, searching the home of the man they say dropped a pipe bomb in front of a Little Havana bookstore, discovered one of their own secret FBI reports, federal records revealed Friday.

Agents hauled out 70 boxes and listed the evidence: everything from a paybooth telephone to sex manuals.

They also found copies of the private correspondence of a federal court judge, confidential police investigative reports, jail records, a dart board, a harmonica, and a copy of the death certificate of murdered Rolando Masferrer.

These are among the worldly possessions of Antonio de la Cova, 25, a brilliant graduate history student at the University of Miami who lived a bizarre double life in a Le Jeune Road apartment.

FBI agents also searched the Boca Raton apartment of Gary E. Latham, 22, a near-genius physics students on the honor roll at Florida Atlantic University.

They found, among other things: gelatin explosives wrapped in a newspaper in a refrigerator, electric blasting caps, an M-K2 grenade, a box of latex surgical gloves.

Latham and de la Cova, along with Blas Jesus Corbo, 20, an escaped thief on the run, were the three suspected bombers arrested at 1:30 a.m. May 6 outside Libros Para Adultos, an adult book shop at 3508 SW 8th St. They are in jail awaiting trial.

U.S. Magistrate J.V. Eskenazi issued search warrants last week. Friday, FBI agents filed an inventory of what they found. They found lots.

But the FBI wasn't saying what it all means - if the FBI knows itself. "I don't have the foggiest idea how my report got there," said agent Francis E. Gibbons.

The report was of agent Gibbons' interview with Max (Gorman) Gonzalez on Nov. 1, 1968, after Gonzalez and 12 other "adventurers" got caught in the British Honduras with an arsenal of guns. Gonzalez later said the CIA duped him. Gonzalez and Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis were buddies. They were found guilty in 1973 of illegally transporting stolen cars into Mexico in 1968.

Equally mystified was U.S. District Judge C. Clyde Adkins. He received a letter from David W. Costa, acting director of the Drug Enforcement Administration, on March 10, 1975. "I don't even remember the letter," said Adkins. "I'll have to have my clerk look it up."

How a copy of the letter got into de la Cova's apartment was unexplained. So were copies of eight Metro police booking and investigative reports involving Cuban exiles arrested on bombing and extortion charges. One man they identified by his nickname - Torpedo.

The FBI haul included more than 40 cartons of de la Cova's books, "The Politics of Assassination," "Che Guevara, Guerrilla Warfare," "The Coming Destruction of Israel," and "Bomb Threats and Search Techniques," published by the U.S. Treasury Department.

De la Cova's library also contained books on rock singer Cat Stevens, Beatle John Lennon, the Mafia, Shakespeare, Bob Dylan and "The Joy of Sex." Much of the material seized bore directly upon violent death, war, and revolution.

He had three police report copies on the murder of Ramon Donestevez, shot to death in his Homestead boatyard April 13, newspaper clips on WQBA newsman Emilio Milian, whose legs were blown off April 30 by a car bomb, and the death certificate of Rolando Masferrer, who was also blown up by a car bomb.

De la Cova also collected telephones. Agents carted off seven of them, including a Princess, a red one, two black ones, two wall phones, and one from a paybooth. They also seized a handwritten list: "Calls Who Don't Answer."

Apparently de la Cova logged terrorist activities all over the world. He had an alphabetical [?] from A to G. The FBI didn't [?] to Z.

Some of the evidence appeared to be more of a personal nature: a Scrabble set, chess set, 24 tape recordings, a bank book, broken alarm clock, and his family tree.

De la Cova's personal items showed scholarship, too. He had a 30-page typewritten manuscript entitled, "The Moncada Attack." This was Fidel Castro's emergence as a revolutionist in Oriente Province in 1953.

Catalogued by the FBI was a numerical code for sending secret messages, 14 teletype messages on Far East matters, and lists of individuals engaged in pro and anti-Communist activities.

Included was a newspaper clipping headlined "What You Should Know Before You Buy A Gun." From a closet, an agent took a .22 caliber Ruger carbine with ammunition, clips, and sight mounts. When captured by a 30-man posse of law enforcement officers, de la Cova dropped a .38 caliber revolver on the sidewalk.

There were numbered receipt stubs from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexica. This is a university where Mexican police killed students last year, quashing a Communist uprising.

One intriguing find was a book, "Coup D'Etat in America," subtitled, "The CIA and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy," written by Yippie Alan Jules Weberman and leftist Michael Canfield. Both authors wrote inscriptions to de la Cova, who assisted them with the book.

From Latham's Boca Raton apartment, the FBI carried off explosives and a suitcase full of books, including "Methods of Electronic Audio Surveillance."

They also found "Bombs and Bombing," by Thomas G. Brodie, who happens to be Metro's bomb disposal expert. Brody defused the pipe bomb that didn't go off at the adult book store.

Bomb material found at Latham's apartment ranged from special non-spark tools and empty coffee cans to BB shot, smokeless black powder, and big firecrackers.

From the same apartment, the FBI took a large bottle of liquid mascara and a bottle of liquid of spirit gum, which actors used to paste on false beards.

From de la Cova's apartment at 960 Le Jeune Rd., the FBI took a brown paper sack full of long brown hair.

The suspects are charged with conspiracy, as well as possession of firearms, attempted arson, attempt to violate the civil rights of another, and interfering in interstate commerce. The commerce was in dirty books.

Circuit Court Judge Ellen Morphonios set trial on state charges for Aug. 2.

Copyright (c) 1976 The Miami Herald.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Miami Herald, May 8, 1976, "Contrasting Bomb Suspects: 'Braggadocious,' 'Hermitish'" by Edna Buchanan.

A pro-Arab, anti-Castro militant who wore knee-high boots and a beret on the Florida Atlantic University campus where he penned "violent oriented" letters to the school newspaper, Antonio de la Cova, 25, used to brag that he knew a lot about violence in Miami.

Thursday, de la Cova was one of three college students charged with the attempted bombing of an adult bookstore in Miami.

De la Cova once claimed he was shot at in an FIU [Florida International University] campus parking lot.

He was wearing a Palestine Liberation Organization armband at the time, he said in his complaint to campus police. He said he shot back four times with a .22-caliber pistol he kept in his car. Campus Security Lt. George Harper said no arrests were made in the May, 1974 incident and no evidence was ever found to substantiate the report.

A masters candidate in history at the University of Miami, de la cova was fired from a teaching job at Miami's Inter-American Military Academy last January for failure to keep control of his eighth-grade students.

He sometimes wrote for Libertad, the Spanish-language newspaper whose editor, Rolando Masferrer was killed by a car bomb last Oct. 31.

His most recent effort, an article in issue No. 180, dated Jan. 2, 1976, was a chronological account of terrorist violence, including Miami's 47 bombings and 33 attempted bombings since January, 1975. Federal agents now say de la Cova had first-hand knowledge of some of those bombings.

Lucila Masferrer, widow of the slain editor, said the slightly built De la Cova who was an admirer of her husband: "Was constantly asking questions and carrying notes and clippings. It never occurred to me that he could be violent..."

A different viewpoint came from FAU history professor Dale Hoak who taught de la Cova, admired his intellect but wrote the University of Miami recommending against de la Cova's acceptance into the master's program because of his penchant for violence.

"I told them I would be apprehensive about admitting him," professor Hoak said Thursday. "We had meetings in our department trying to seek his expulsion from campus, but we had problems, legally, about getting evidence. Some of my colleagues felt personally threatened. I tried to completely separate his politics from his academic performance, but at the same time, his political activities seemed to border on the violent."

Hoak said de la Cova "would flaunt, he would imply he was either involved or had direct knowledge of some of the right wing anti-Castroites in Miami - destructive activities. He said he had participated in a raid on some Cuban ships at sea. He was braggadocious..."

Fellow students say de la Cova's FAU friends were mostly Arab students in the chemistry department.

In one letter to the school newspaper he wrote: "I believe everyone has a right to his own homeland."

Friends say de la Cova had visited Northern Ireland several years ago, witnessed a fatal bombing and had expressed a "fear of bombs" since.

He played the guitar and harmonica at a campus coffee house following his trip - singing a song he wrote condemning such violence.

"I'm baffled," Mrs. John Latham said softly. Her straight-A, college student son, a 1972 graduate of Fort Lauderdale's Stranahan High School, was being held in lieu of $200,000 bond on bomb charges.

The slightly built, bespectacled 22-year-old lived quietly in a small ground-floor apartment at 1721 NW 15th Vista in Boca Raton for nearly two years.

Neighbors described him as quiet, "straight-looking" and almost "hermitish."

A physics student, young Latham has 50 credit hours accumulated at Florida Atlantic University where he carries a perfect 4.0 average.

FAU declined to discuss Latham's scholastic achievements further, based on his right to privacy under the Buckley Amendment. School officials sent letters to all 4,000 FAU students advising them of their rights to privacy. Only 27 said they wanted privacy protection. Latham was one of them.

FAU physics department chairman James B. McGuire called Latham a good student and echoed Mrs. Latham's bafflement.

"This simply doesn't fit with anything he did in class."

Little is known about Blas Jesus Corbo, 21, student at the north campus of Miami-Dade Community College, except that he swore under questioning Thursday that he was unaware of any bomb plans, that attempts had been made to recruit him into an activist group, but that he was only along for the ride that ended in his arrest.

Corbo told U.S. Attorney Robert Rust that he was returning home from a date Wednesday night when Antonio de la Cova met him near his apartment and invited him for a drive.

"Ride where?" Corbo said he asked.


"What's that mean?" Corbo said he answered.

"You know, around. We do it a lot," he quoted de la Cova. "You know, we get something to eat and things."

He knew nothing of the bomb, he says, until he saw them take it out of the Ford Pinto and go to the adult book store.

He was in the car when police closed in.

Havana-born Corbo has lived in Dade County for 10 years. Persons at the 660 Collins Ave. address he gave say they never heard of him.

Copyright (c) 1976 The Miami Herald