Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Monday, March 23, 2015


            Unit 1012 send our utmost condolences and love to the family members of Jeffrey Uber who was killed ten years ago on this date, March 23, 1995. We also wish his twin brother, Wayne all the best in his fight for victims’ rights. We will never forget Jeffrey.

            Let us remember how Jeffrey lived on this earth, see the words in bold blue ink.

Man's Body Is Identified
Boca Resident Was Missing Last Week
March 30, 1995|By JOSE LUIS SANCHEZ Jr. Staff Writer

Family members and investigators had little to say on Wednesday about how Jeffrey Uber died. But his twin brother Wayne spoke fondly about how Jeffrey Uber lived.

The Sheriff's Office confirmed on Wednesday that the body found in a Boynton Beach storage unit on Tuesday is that of Uber, 33, a Boca Raton landscape worker who disappeared on Thursday.

"This is very hard to take," Wayne Uber said. "The whole family has been on a emotional rollercoaster."

Jeffrey Uber's brother and sister described him as a family man who often did errands for his parents and loved to play with his nephews.

"Family was everything to him," Wayne Uber said of his brother, who lived with his parents.

But it was Jeffrey Uber's trusting, good natured personality that may have been at the root of problems he was having with an acquaintance, Wayne Uber said. His brother would not elaborate, except to say his brother "may have been taken advantage of by someone."

Deputies would not comment on whom they were talking to in connection with the investigation.

Jeffrey Uber was a fun-loving uncle who would take his nephews on trips to the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, his siblings said.

"He was definitely into bugs and birds and nature," Wayne Uber said.

"He would pick up bugs with his bare hands and show them to my kids and they would think he was so cool," said his sister, Lisa Ferrara.

He would joke with his identical twin brother, while poking fun at himself.

"God you're ugly," Jeffrey would say. And he was enthusiastic about his work and boasted of the training certificates he would receive, his brother said.

Jeffrey Uber had been working for Trugreen ChemLawn in Mangonia Park for the past seven years. He was last seen there last Thursday morning. He arrived for work, hopped into a lawn chemical truck and headed to his first assignment at Boca Pointe. He never made it.
Boynton Beach police found the truck a day later behind the Holiday Inn on Congress Avenue.

Dozens of Uber's friends and family launched a search on Sunday. They combed parking lots at the Boynton Beach Mall and at Palm Beach International Airport, handed out fliers and inspected trash containers

The body was found about 5 p.m. on Tuesday inside a storage unit at Stor-All Systems, in the 4300 block of Hypoluxo Road, just east of Military Trail, Palm Beach County sheriff's officials said.

Jeffrey Uber grew up in the University Park neighborhood in Boca Raton, where he earned spending money by mowing lawns with his brother. After graduating from Boca Raton High School, he studied business at Palm Beach Community Community College. He also attended Florida State University.

Man Gets Life For Murder, Robbery

Guilty Plea Upsets Victim's Family      

April 3, 1996|By MIKE FOLKS Staff Writer

The family of Jeffrey Uber found no justice in Courtroom 10G on Tuesday.

Uber's family hoped to see Michael Diffenderffer, 27, be tried for murder, then watch him be sentenced to die in the electric chair.

Instead, as the trial was to open on Tuesday, Diffenderffer waived his right to a jury trial, entering guilty pleas on charges of first-degree murder with a firearm, robbery with a firearm and three counts of credit card fraud.

He received two life sentences to be served consecutively.

"Obviously, this is not what we wanted," Uber's twin brother, Wayne, said. "He's the person who killed my twin brother. I'll never forgive him. Maybe heaven will; maybe hell," he said.

Uber's sister, Lisa Ferrara, wept as she spoke of her frustration.

"My brother died a very cruel, undignified death," she said. "My brother is dead, and he's alive. My brother never had a choice."

Prosecutors were prepared to prove that Uber, 33, of Boca Raton, was killed for his credit cards, shot three times and stuffed in a storage bin while his assailant went on a spending spree.

Diffenderffer's defense attorney, Barbara Heyer, said her client pleaded guilty but denied he killed Uber. Instead, he blamed a friend, Clifford Anderson, she said.

By pleading guilty and putting himself on the mercy of the court, Diffenderffer hoped to escape the death penalty, Heyer said.
Had her client gone to trial, Heyer said she would have presented mitigating evidence during the sentencing phase that could have swayed the jury to choose life over death.

The mitigating evidence would have shown that Diffenderffer had been sexually abused by his birth father from the ages of 4 to 13; had been diagnosed with an attention deficit disorder; and was in a mental hospital between ages 14 and 17.

Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Virginia Gay Broome had two options: She could have had a jury weigh his fate or she could have sentenced him so he'd never get out of jail.

She chose the latter.

Broome sentenced Uber to life in prison with no chance of parole for first-degree murder. She did the same on the robbery with a firearm charge, ordering the sentences to run consecutively, and she gave Diffenderffer credit for time served on the credit card fraud charges.

In outlining what the state would have presented at trial, Assistant State Attorney Kirk Volker painted Diffenderffer as a man who liked "the good life" and killed to gain Jeffrey Uber's credit cards.

Volker said Uber was last seen alive on March 23, 1995, when he went to his job at TruGreen Chemlawn in Mangonia Park, a business where Diffenderffer once worked with Uber.

Within hours of his disappearance, Uber's family, coworkers and friends reported him missing to police. They launched a search of their own, handing out fliers with Uber's picture on them.

Detectives soon learned that Uber's credit cards had been used on the day of his disappearance by Diffenderffer and Anderson to charge more than $734 in clothes at a Boynton Beach men's store; a $4,408 ski trip package to Steamboat Springs, Colo.; $108 for food with a $95 tip at the Boynton Ale House; and to purchase a large truck bed toolbox.

The next day, a third credit card belonging to Uber was used at the Boynton Ale House. Two drinks totaling $6.66 were purchased and a $30 tip was left. The same day, Uber's TruGreen Chemlawn truck was found in a Holiday Inn parking lot.

By March 26, 1995, the family's fliers had paid off. A manager at the Boynton Beach Mall clothing store remembered making the sale but did not think it was Jeffrey Uber who made the purchases. His description of the man he served led Uber's boss to realize it was Diffenderffer, an employee who had been fired months earlier.
As the investigation moved forward, police found Uber's body stuffed in the truck toolbox, hidden in a Lantana commercial storage bin. He'd been shot three times.

Detectives later arrested Diffenderffer, who had rented the storage bin just before leaving his ski condo in Colorado on March 28, 1995.

Anderson goes to trial this month for a charge of being an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. If convicted, he could face a maximum five-year sentence.

For Wayne Uber, his brother's death signals a need for more safeguards on credit cards to render them useless if stolen. He suggests a program to use personal identification numbers, like those in food stores around the country.

"My brother was killed for three credit cards. I want to know why they can't do something to protect people," Wayne Uber said. "My brother was not the first person to be killed for credit cards, and he won't be the last until something is done."

DOC Helps Honor Victims of Crime
By Bryan Bass

RALEIGH -- More than 100 people gathered at the Capitol on April 10 to honor victims of violent crime, focus attention on victims' loved ones and promote healing.

The ceremony, "Stars in the Sky," marked the start of National Crime Victims Rights Week in North Carolina. A week is set aside once a year to honor and commemorate victims of crime. This year's theme, "Dare to Dream," was chosen in recognition of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, which became effective in July. As a result of the legislation, victims have the right for information and notification from the time a crime occurs to the end of their involvement with the criminal justice system.

As part of the ceremony people affected by crime were invited to speak.

Jeffrey Kulp, whose wife was killed by a drunk driver in 1998, said "Every great crusade begins with one person's dream." He went on to say that he would like more attention placed on "the people not with us in hopes that no one else will have to endure what we have."

Kulp is now raising his two young daughters alone.

Wayne Uber's twin brother was murdered by a co-worker in 1995. He said, "The lesson I've learned is that it (violent crime) just doesn't make sense." Uber said he would like to see more of an effort to keep habitual offenders incarcerated, a greater amount of communication, and new legislation and financial relief to help victims.

During the ceremony, Attorney General Mike Easley read a proclamation from Governor Jim Hunt designating April 9 to 15 as Crime Victims' Rights Week.

After the ceremony, Karen Taylor George, DOC victim services administrator, said, "The Department strives to provide services to victims and we recognize the importance of victims. This week we hope to bring attention to recent legislation for victims and how we can help victims."

Department of Correction joined an interagency effort to host the ceremony. The agencies included the Attorney General's Office, North Carolina Victim Assistance Network, Wake County District Attorney’s Office, Coalition Against Sexual Assault, MADD NC State Office, State Capitol Police, Raleigh Police Department, Wake County Sheriff's Department, and the U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern District.

NAACP against death-penalty bill change
Posted May 28, 2009
Updated September 9, 2009

— The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is taking a stand against changes by the state Senate to a bill designed to prevent racial bias in the death penalty.

The Racial Justice Act would allow a death row inmate to appeal his conviction if race played a role during trial. Two weeks ago, the bill cleared the chamber with an amendment that would restart executions by allowing doctors and nurses to be present. The change would remove a legal obstacle that has halted executions for two years.

The NAACP and other religious groups oppose this addition to the bill.

“I am opposed to the Racial Justice Act," said Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger.

Berger, who added the amendment to the bill, said he did so because the act places "another potential hurdle from carrying out death sentences and gives defendants a second bite at the apple.”

Rev. William Barber, with the state chapter of the NAACP, disagrees with Berger. He and others began pushing for the Racial Justice Act after three black inmates, who sat on death row for a combined total of 40 years, were exonerated.

They say the intention of the act is to give defendants in capital murder cases the right to challenge their prosecution on racial bias grounds. However, Barber says state legislators have now changed the original purpose of the bill.

"Ultra conservatives and others used it as a pretext for restarting the death penalty, rather than staying focused on the real issue, which is racial justice," Barber said.

Supporters of the death penalty say, even with the changes, the bill will create another loophole for defendants to slow cases.

"It's intended to halt the system. It will make capital punishment unenforceable,” said Wayne Uber, a death penalty supporter.

Uber, a Chapel Hill resident, has personal reasons for supporting the death penalty. His twin brother, Jeffrey, was murdered in Florida.

"I do something everyday to honor my brother's memory,” he said.

Uber said he believes cases with racial bias should be appealed. But he also thinks current legal wrangling on the issue hurts victims' families.

"The main thing behind a lot of that frustration is just fear,” Uber said.

Barber said he plans to keep fighting for the bill to be passed without the amendment, and insists race is a factor.

"In North Carolina and throughout the South, we have killed innocent black men and have placed black men on death row because of their race, or because of the race of the victim,” Barber said.

The bill will go before another committee of state legislators Wednesday.

Death penalty foes to march to N.C. coast

Posted June 14, 2009

— The Sojourners for Abolition and Reconciliation started their annual march Sunday to protest the death penalty.

“I don't think that it's the state's place to take life,” death penalty opponent Mary Rider said.

Last year, the Christian-based group walked 300 miles from Raleigh to Washington, DC. This year, they are walking from Raleigh to the North Carolina coast and back.

“That will bring a kind of a ripple effect where people will hear our message who might not have heard it otherwise,” Rider said.

“We're not trying to impose our view on anybody, but we really do want to talk to people,” said Scott Bass, SOFAR walk organizer.

Wayne Uber, a Chapel Hill resident, has personal reasons for backing the death penalty. His twin brother, Jeffrey, was slain in Florida over some credit cards, and the killer received a life sentence.

“There are people out there who have strong feelings about this, but they haven't been here. They haven't seen what other victims go through. They just aren't qualified to comment on it,” Uber said.

The state is under a moratorium on executions because of problems with lethal injection as the execution method.

“The death penalty is not the solution that helps anybody, but only adds more violence to situations that are oftentimes senselessly violent and tragic already,” Bass said.

There are 167 inmates on death row in North Carolina, according to Death Penalty Information Center.

The SOFAR marchers will be back in Raleigh in about two weeks to rally in front of the General Assembly.

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