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Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- A police sergeant from Trinidad who was indicted on charges he became a naturalized citizen through a sham marriage also is under investigation in the 2001 killing of an ex-girlfriend, authorities said Wednesday.

Federal and local law enforcement officials identified Sgt. Martin Peters as a key suspect in the brutal slaying of Juliette Alexander, an immigration officer, in 2001. Investigators hope Peters' arrest on federal charges will help crack the unsolved case, said Marc Raimondi, spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

''We want to see the murder solved and justice done,'' Raimondi said.

Peters, 41, was arraigned on Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan on immigration fraud and other charges and released on $20,000 bail.

Last year, Peters sued Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and the city, alleging he was wrongly placed on desk duty and denied a promotion following Alexander's slaying. Calls to both his criminal and civil attorneys were not immediately returned.

The body of Alexander, 29, a newly hired detention officer with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, was found in the foyer of her apartment building on Jan. 16, 2001. She had been shot several times in the back of the head.

A second victim described as a friend of Peters, Nigel Callender, was found inside the apartment with gunshot wounds. Callender _ who baffled investigators by initially identifying Peters as the shooter, then recanting _ also was arrested this week on immigration fraud charges.

At the time of Alexander's killing, police said she and Peters were feuding over custody and support of their two children. Officials ordered the sergeant to surrender his gun and badge and put him on administrative duty, but never charged him in the killing.

A recent follow-up investigation teaming internal affairs detectives with ICE agents revealed that Peters allegedly paid an American woman _ not Alexander _ $10,000 in the 1980s to marry him so he could become a citizen. He falsely claimed that he lived with the woman for three years before filing a naturalization application, which was approved.

When Peters joined the police force in 1995, he ''presented legitimate citizenship documents which he apparently obtained fraudulently,'' said Paul Browne, the police department's chief spokesman.

Separate charges allege Peters of conspiring to collect federal housing subsidies to which he was not entitled, and falsely reporting his household income and expenses in a bankruptcy filing.

Peters faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250 fine and loss of citizenship if convicted of naturalization fraud, and up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of bankruptcy fraud.

In a pending 2004 lawsuit, Peters alleges he was passed over for a promotion to lieutenant because he's black. The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, also claims police officials ''damaged the plaintiff's professional and personal reputation'' by labeling him a possible murder suspect.

Peters won custody of his children with Alexander _ a boy, now 13, and a girl, 9 _ in 2002 following a family court trial, according to the suit.
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