Three Mexican soldiers have been charged with killing an American and planting an assault rifle on him to make it appear that he attacked them first.
New York native Joseph Proctor, 32, was found dead inside his crashed van just outside of Acapulco in August. He had multiple bullet wounds and an AR-15 rifle in his hands.
Police said Proctor died in a gun battle with an army patrol. They claimed Proctor fired on the troops, and they simply defended themselves.
Joseph's mother, Donna Proctor, never believed the story. She said Proctor, who had recently moved to the town with his girlfriend, hated guns. She wanted the truth, which meant fighting her way through Mexico's secretive military justice system. After pressuring U.S. diplomats and congressmen for help, she finally got answers.
She told the Associated Press that the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City sent her a document from the Mexican Defense Department outlining the facts of the case.
According to the document, the soldiers tried to stop Proctor and inspect his vehicle. They claim he sped away, prompting one of the soldiers to shoot at him, hitting his car. The soldiers chased down the car and fired again, "wounding the driver who nonetheless continued to drive away, fleeing, crashing the car three kilometers down that road," the document said.
A superior officer in the patrol told the battalion commander what happened. The battalion commander sent another officer to the scene with the AR-15 rifle "in order to be placed in the vehicle, using the hands of the deceased to try to simulate an attack against military personnel," the document says.
Three soldiers are charged -- one with the shooting, two with planting the gun.
This answers some questions, but not all. His mother still wants to know if he really refused to stop for police, and if he did, why?
Proctor said her son complained about being shaken down by Mexican police and soldiers but also spoke of being friendly with soldiers on the base near the home he was building.
"I hate the fact that he died alone and in pain an in such an unjust way," Proctor said. "I want him to be remembered as a hardworking person. He would never pick up a gun and shoot someone."