MIAMI (CBSMiami) – High-powered Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred came to South Florida Wednesday because her client, Yovanka Bryant, “wanted the truth to be known” about her relationship with the Causeway Cannibal, 31-year-old Rudy Eugene.
Allred told the gathered media Bryant was being confused with another woman in the press and that “they contacted me” in regards to how she got involved as Bryant’s lawyer and that “I was happy to be here.” Allred also said Bryant believes the issue of cannibalism was important to address.
“This is a high-profile case,” Allred said. “She (Yovanka) wanted to have the truth come out about Rudy Eugene to have people understand him from her point of view. That is why I am here, to help her have a voice.”
Bryant said she met Eugene in March and that the two had been boyfriend-girlfriend for the last four months. Yovanka also said that she loved Eugene and had hope for their future together.
“Rudy and I never discussed cannibalism or voodoo,” Yovanka said. “I thought he would be a good father for my children. I wish the public knew Rudy the way I did.”
Bryant said at the news conference that she and Eugene had bible studies together and watched religious programming on television. She also said they studied the Koran as well. Eugene was carrying a Bible right before he attacked Ronald Poppo and police found a Koran in his car.
Bryant’s credibility may not be high after her press conference when it comes to Eugene and drug use. After initially denying that she ever saw Eugene drugs, she quickly backtracked.
“Rudy never drank alcohol or used drugs around me,” Bryant said. “I only saw him smoke marijuana once.”
The entire press conference was devoid of much detail. The hotel where the press conference ended up being held was initially told the room was going to hold a “seminar,” CBS4’s Gio Benitez discovered.
Allred said Eugene and Bryant’s relationship didn’t end until he died from being shot during the attack on Poppo. Allred said Bryant and Eugene were in communication the day before the cannibal attack, but declined to give details about what was discussed.
The Memorial Day “zombie attack” has become one of South Florida’s most notorious crimes and has captured headlines all over the world.
Surveillance video from The Miami Herald shows 65-year-old Ronald Poppo being attacked by Eugene in broad daylight alongside the busy MacArthur Causeway. Eugene was shot dead on the scene by a Miami Police officer when he refused to stop ripping at Poppo’s face with his mouth and even growled at the officer who ordered him to get off the homeless man.
Police have not released a motive for the attack on Poppo, who had been homeless for decades.
Eugene stripped off all of his clothes as he walked from Miami Beach to the mainland over the MacArthur Causeway before encountering Poppo and beginning the unprovoked, savage attack.
The assault continued for 18 minutes while drivers and cyclists streamed past. The first calls to police came in at 1:55 p.m. simply describing a “naked man.” One caller said Eugene looked like “Tarzan” swinging on a light pole. The more urgent calls came in at 2:05 p.m. describing the fight. While Miami Police have not confirmed the officer’s arrival time, a Miami Herald surveillance camera shows an officer arrived at 2:13 p.m. after several minutes of looking for the two men in the area.
Initial toxicology reports found that Eugene had recently smoked pot before the attack. But, a more in-depth toxicology screening will take upwards of two months to process.
Meanwhile, Poppo remains at Jackson Memorial Hospital facing months of treatment to rebuild his features and psychological care. The Jackson Memorial Foundation has set up a fund to assist him.
If you want to contribute, or would like more information, contact Neighbors for Neighbors at 305-597-4404.
“The man he was to me will never be forgotten,” Bryant said of Eugene. “I could always count on him to encourage me. I truly didn’t have a care in the world when I was with him…I wish the public knew Rudy the way I did.”
Allred said that Bryant has had no contact with anyone from Rudy Eugene’s family.