By Ronald Koziol.
September 20, 1989
Several current and past officers of a northwest
Indiana laborers union local, whose secretary-treasurer was killed
last week when a bomb exploded under his pickup truck, were being
asked Tuesday to take lie-detector tests.
Merrillville Police Chief Jerry McCory said
most of the union officials questioned after the murder of
Joseph Bova have been cooperative. But he wants to "clear
some things up with certain people" and that`s why he was
asking for the polygraph examinations. "The tests we`re asking for should not
indicate that we have a suspect in the murder," said McCory,
who refused to be more specific.
Bova, 43, who was paid $20,000 a year as
secretary-treasurer of Laborers International Union of North America
Local 81 in Valparaiso, was killed last Wednesday when a bomb
detonated after he turned on the ignition in his truck. The blast
threw Bova 50 feet from his truck, which had been locked and parked in front of his home for three
McCory said some of those who were asked
to take the tests have refused. "But we still want to talk
to them further," he said. McCory conceded that the lie-detector tests
are not admissible in court but said they can serve as an investigative
So far, much of the investigation by police
and agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
has centered on Bova`s union activities. He was part of a new slate of officers elected
a year ago to head the local. For several years before that, Bova
was actively involved in the local and had served as one of three
auditors. Investigators in the U.S. Labor Department`s
racketeering section in Chicago said numerous other areas of Bova`s
life are also being examined.
One agent noted that Bova made only $20,000
a year in his union job and was not considered a top boss of the
local, which has only 800 members working as laborers in the construction
trades in northwest Indiana. In fact, at the time of the bombing, Bova
was on his way to work a second job as a union steward at a steel
company in Burns Harbor.
Chicago labor lawyer Bernard Mamet, who represents
several northwest Indiana trade unions, discounted a union motive
for the killing.
Information that could help to track down
the exact type and source of the explosives used is expected to
be available this week. Fragments of a sophisticated black powder
pipe bomb, about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide, are being analyzed
by federal bomb experts in Rockville, Md.
A $30,000 reward for information leading
to the arrest and conviction of the bomber has been offered by
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