David Thorne

David Thorne is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for allegedly hiring an acquaintance to kill the mother of his son, however, he never hired anyone nor did the acquaintance do the crime.

Sometime between the evening hours on March 31, 1999 and 12:00 p.m. on April 1, 1999, Yvonne Layne, a mother of 5, was murdered in her home with one solid and steady slit to her throat.

David Thorne was convicted of complicity to aggravated murder/murder for hire on January 25, 2000 by a 12 person jury.

The police investigating the crime had tunnel vision throughout their investigation, narrowing in on David from the beginning.

The investigators were unable to get David to confess, so instead they went after his acquaintance, Joseph Wilkes, who was barely 18 years of age and a high school dropout.  After a lengthy interrogation, during which they told Joseph that David was “next door ratting him out”, he confessed, utilizing the story that the police had fed to him to what the police were telling him happened.  Joe took a plea deal and David went to trial.

Despite the lack of physical evidence of either Joe or David being at the scene and a poor police investigation, with very weak circumstantial evidence, an innocent man was convicted.

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David Randoph Blue

258979_527450830601714_1900953050_oDavid R. Blue DC 12974712 161S is incarcerated at Suwannee Correctional Inst. Annex, Florida.

Mr. Blue was tried for the same crime three times. The first trial ended as a “hung” jury, the second trial was “not guilty”. The state of Florida dropped the charges in Pensacola and then invoked the “Williams Rule” and retried him in Key West where he was found “guilty” by a jury of 6. Jury selection could not come up with 12 jurors who did not read the “Key West Citizen’s” inflammatory article posted the day before jury selection. His appeals have gone for naught and he remains in jail for something he did not do.

David did not receive a fair trial.

1. There was judicial prejudice by the presiding judge, who has since been removed from the bench, who allowed the violation of Mr. Blue’s constitutional rights:

  • Amendment V: “nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life and limb”
  • Amendment Vl: “right to a speedy trial”
  • Amendment Vlll “excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, ( $1 million) nor cruel and unusual punishments ( Four life sentences plus 80 years in the Blue case the punishment is not befitting the crime)

2. The district attorney reintroduced the accusers perjured and rehearsed testimony after they were found to have lied during the first two trials. The transcripts from the first trials mysteriously disappeared and were not available for Blue’s defense, The Williams Rule is a venue used by the state of Florida to circumvent Amendment V and retry defendants numerous times for the same crime.

3. Mr. Blue has not been afforded a speedy trial in that the state is continually requesting continuances because there is no hard evidence supporting the allegations that came about years later when “Oprah” offered money for revealing “dark secrets” and the defendants took the opportunity to accuse David Blue.

The state of Florida built their case on the testimony of witnesses who were proven to lie during the first two trials, where David Blue was found “NOT GUILTY”.

4. The state of Florida is not living up to it’s own policy of incarcerating the elderly in a senior facility and have Mr. Blue, aged 70+, with a heart condition, in poor health and in a wheelchair as the result of a vein being hit during a medical procedure.

David Blue was a licensed Captain involved with the movement of boats and yachts and was frequently gone for weeks and sometimes months at sea up and down the coast. On several occasions I assisted Blue on deliveries as well as other marina members. Some of the accusers’ testimony conflicted with dates where he was gone on deliveries when he supposedly perpetrated the events as claimed by his accusers.

Mr. Blue was a good father to the plaintiffs, Lauren and Lindsey Jaramillo for the period 1997 to 2001 until the mother packed up the girls and moved in downtown Key West with her boyfriend, later moved to Tampa area. The mother/wife testified that she had not seen any wrong doing. The Blues divorced and and a few years later Mr. Blue remarried.

Source: an email dated October 13, 2015, from a neighbour who knew David at the marina at the US Naval Air Station Key West.

=====

David Blue was accused of sexual battery, about 10 years ago ( in 2005? )

The witness ( the alleged victim ? ) said it occurred in Key West and Pensacolo, but her statements changed.

The prosecutor has been lying ( I am not clear how ).

It appears he was aquitted in 2007:

Not Guilty 2007

But somehow this acquittal was ignored ( Update, seems he was tried in another county on similar charges ).

A document dated 2009, apparently an appeal:

Opinion Filed 2009

A motion for a rehearing, apparently David was Pro Se ( without a lawyer ):

Motion for rehearing 1

Motion for rehearing 2

Motion for rehearing 3

David won a ruling from Third District of Appeal in February 2015

Message from Marisela Blue, October 10, 2015 [ edited for clarity ]

Hi I really need your help the Florida people only working with DNA, they never answer to me, and the Key West court today sent my husband a letter with no day or signature, they sent a motion from my husband to another county, because they don’t want to answer, please we need a lawyer, this is a big case.

David Blue is a veteran of the Navy, 21 years as military and 10 as civilian. If he could tell everything that he knows about the corruption in the judicial system and in the prison, we can help others, also if you don’t help he is 73 years and he is really sick.

In 2010 I called a friend of mine who worked in the college and she help me a lot. I told her that

  1. In 2005 Oprah said on TV that she would give $100 000 to a person that gave her a sex offender.
  2. My husband’s daughter Lauren Jaramillo said in the court that she wants to take him for everything that he has.
  3. She also wanted the $100 000 that Oprah offered.

My friend said last week the Oprah boat was in the water behind her house and the police come to the building and said they did not open the windows looking for the boat( this was the week before the court), the order for this has to come from the judge, and the judges in the case was David Audlin, he has to retired in 2012 (he was the chief of the court and he still has 2 years more) and what he said on the internet is a lie.

Also Oprah’s people were in my husband’s court, the first investigator in the case was Mandy Cuervo and he is the father of Lauren Haramillo’s best friend, where Lauren was living at that time.

The prosecutor Tony Guirao en Pensacola lied about a book that they said that my husband showed to Lauren, that book was in Key West and he flew the investigator to Pensacola with the book.

Also my husband asked for a speedy trial in Pensacola and he [Guirao] violated, that after he set up the case and Lauren didn’t want to come to the court again, he supposed to closed the case, my husband was not guilty, but he nolle prosequi the case.

This case is really difficult, we need an experienced attorney, they don’t want David out and they dismiss everything that my husband doing because he is no a lawyer. I had sent you more email.

Please George don’t let my husband died in Prison.

Also the rehearing of the case was cancelled in August 24,and September 6, 9 pm somebody came to the prison to pick up David for the rehearing, they never transported prisoner at night.

Please help us. God Bless you . Gracias Shalom My English is no good sorry, I need my husband, please….

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Kimberley Long

Kimberly Long spent the day of Oct. 5, 2003, bar-hopping around the Corona area with her boyfriend, Oswaldo “Ozzy” Conde, and their friend, Jeff Dills.

The three ended the day at a bar called Maverick’s and then went to the home she shared with Long, around 11 p.m. There, she and Conde got into a fight, after which Long left with Dills to cool off.

She returned home around 2 a.m. on Oct. 6. During a recent phone interview from the California Institution for Women in Corona, about 65 miles from Palm Springs, Long choked back tears while talking about that night.

“I remember walking through the door, and it was unlocked when I came in. I saw a light on in the back. I kicked off my shoes, and I saw Ozzy on the couch, and I called his name,” said Long, who was an emergency-room nurse at the time. “I walked over to the light to turn it on, and when I did that, I turned around, and I saw a big blood stain on the couch. I saw him and I realized that something went wrong.

Kimberley called 911, but was later charged and convicted of murder. The prosecution alleged Kimberley killed Conde and then changed her clothes before dialing 911, however while there was reportedly blood on every wall of the living room, there was no blood on Long or her clothing. The drains inside and outside of the house were dry, indicating there wasn’t an attempted cleanup.

Kimberley Long’s first trial ended in a hung jury, with nine of the 12 jurors voting to acquit. In 2009, her second trial ended in a guilty verdict for second-degree murder—even though the judge himself stated he would have acquitted her. Two alternate jurors also reportedly said later that something must have gone wrong during deliberations, because the evidence against Long was very thin. She was given a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

Kimberley has the support of the California Innocence Project.

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Conviction overturned, released on bail June 2016

Aaron Finley

Aaron Finley was wrongly convicted of murder on the accusation of the true killer, bribed with a reduced sentence, and a very dubious identification that placed him in a car with the killer before the murder. The indictments of the killer and Aaron do not agree on the cause of death, and Steven Hayne’s autopsy report was not entered as evidence. Aaron also had an alibi which could have been confirmed by the prosecution based on a laundry ticket.

Aaron Finley was was indicted on April 12, 1996 and later convicted for the November 16, 1994 murder of George Monsour, during the commission of an armed robbery, and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of early release.

On November 16, 1994, Willie Davis went to the home of George Monsour, the victim, and pretended to be interested in purchasing Monsour’s car, an antique Chevrolet Impala. Davis agreed to purchase the car for $1,800.00 and he left to supposedly get the money. He returned to the Monsour home and Mr. Monsour went with Davis for a test drive. They left the Monsour home between 11:00 and 12:00.

Monsour’s body was found in Warren Lake in Lauderdale County in the early hours of November 17, 1994. Willie Davis confessed to the crime and led the police to the body. At the crime scene, the police found many personal items of Monsour’s scattered around the site of the murder.

The case against Aaron ( Source )

Willie Davis testified against Aaron at trial. Davis alleged that he and Finley drove Monsour to Warren Lake, that while they were driving down the interstate, he and Aaron stopped to switch who was driving the car. That at this time, while they were outside of the car and out of Monsour’s hearing range, that they decided to rob Monsour.  That Finley parked the car at Hillcrest and eventually forced Monsour by gunpoint down to Warren Lake. That it was at this point that Finley beat, kicked and eventually drowned Monsour. That he (Davis) took Mr. Monsour’s wallet while Finley was holding Monsour’s head under the water.

Rita Crane, a sister of one of the investigating officers, testified that she saw the Impala with Monsour and three black males on Interstate 20 on November 16, 1994, around noon. She identified Davis as the driver of the vehicle and Finley as one of the passengers in the vehicle. She further testified that she knew Monsour but did not realize at the time that he was in the vehicle.

The defense case

Aaron Finley and Stacey Armstrong (Davis’ cousin) were released in 1995 after not being indicted three times due to lack of evidence, but Willie Davis remained incarcerated and was convicted of the murder of George Monsour. However in April of 1996 Aaron Finley was indicted for capital murder. Willie Davis had made a deal with the district Attorney to testify against Aaron Finley to have his sentence be life in prison instead of the death penalty.

Willie Davis’s testimony and statements changed numerous times, and is not credible.

It’s implausible that Rita Crane could have identified Aaron in the Impala on Interstate 20 around noon.

Example Impala

Aaron, who was age 20 at the time, told detectives that on that morning of the murder he went to Perfection Cleaners to leave some clothes to be cleaned, there was a ticket made out which would have been in the possession of the cleaners, however this this was not available at trial to corroborate his alibi. The owner of Perfection Cleaners called the detective and told him he found the records concerning the date and time Aaron dropped his clothes off but no one ever came to pick the records up.

Aaron does not deny that he was in the car later that day, in the evening, and this is how he came to be a suspect.

There was no forensic evidence at the scene to link Aaron to the murder, only the testimony of Davis and the very doubtful sighting by Rita Crane. Furthermore, Rita Crane’s testimony was inconsistent and contradictory to statements she had made before and during trial ( see appeal ruling ).

Aaron has been supported by the Mississipi Justice Project.

Some documents are available here. In particular, the indictments do not agree on the how the victim died. Aaron’s indictment says “drowning”, but Davis’ indictment says “beating and shooting”. In addition, there is a reply to a request for the autopsy report which claims it is not a public record.

Also, a mysterious anonymous letter dated 27 March, 2006, claiming the crime was committed by Willie Davis and three others.

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Willard O’Neal

Willard O’Neal, 48, was convicted in 2004 of one count of first-degree murder and one count of shooting with intent to kill and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Bruce Chamberlain was killed on December 23, 2001 outside his bar, the Trapeze Lounge and Gildardo Rueda was injured.

The Oklahoma Innocence Project says the state’s case against O’Neal “rested on witnesses who gave false testimony and a ballistics expert who improperly testified regarding a gun that was mishandled by two law enforcement agencies.”

“My client had an alibi at the exact time the crime was taking place and the DNA evidence at the scene was not attributable to Mr. O’Neal,” said Christina Green, O’Neal’s attorney and interim legal director at the Oklahoma Innocence Project.

“To make matters worse, the state withheld DNA and other evidence from my client’s original trial attorney, in violation of his 14th amendment right to due process. As a result, he was ultimately convicted. The fact that the state failed to disclose all of their evidence, as requested by Mr. O’Neal’s original defense attorney, is a miscarriage of justice that should be rectified.”

Source

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PA Innocence Project Helps Lewis Fogle, Freed 34 Years After His Conviction Due to DNA Exclusion

Fogle’s wife has always stood by him, the couple married just before his conviction. “He’s my husband and I love him,” said a tearful Deb Fogle, “It’s been a long, long process.”

News Report August 13, 2015

Dare to Think

Lewis Fogle was yet another victim of incentivized testimony.  Fogle, a Pennsylvania man, was imprisoned 34 years ago for the rape and murder of a teenage girl mostly based upon the testimony of jailhouse snitches.  A judge this week vacated the conviction for the 1976 rape and murder of Deanna Long.  Prosecutors have not decided whether or not they will retry Fogle.  The Pennsylvania Innocence Project pressed police to dig out physical evidence that could be retested for DNA.  The Indiana County prosecutor’s office agreed to retest the items.

The DNA test excluded Fogle, who was serving life in prison, as the source of sperm found on the victim.  Prosecutors subsequently agreed to overturning Fogle’s conviction.  Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said his investigators are now combing through the remaining evidence to see if they have a strong enough case to retry Fogle.  Dougherty said that he believes Fogle…

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Davontae Sanford

No one in Wayne County’s legal system can even pretend at this point that Davontae Sanford committed the four murders he supposedly confessed to when he was 14-years-old.

The real murderer has admitted he was hired to carry out the drug hit, and Sanford, now 22, played no role.

Why Sanford, then an illiterate and partially blind teen, confessed is anyone’s guess. That he was so eagerly believed by cops and prosecutors and has been kept behind bars for so long despite the compelling evidence of his innocence speaks to a prosecutorial culture that leaves no room for admitting a mistake was made.

So at great expense to taxpayers, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy continues to fight to keep Sanford locked up.

Meanwhile, confessed hitman Vincent Smothers says he committed the 2007 murders in a drug house on Runyon Street in Detroit, and even told cops where to find the .45 caliber pistol used in the slayings. Smothers is serving time for other homicides.

Attorneys for the University of Michigan’s Innocence clinic and a similar project at Northwestern University were in court this week with a mountain of evidence that Sanford was wrongfully convicted.

Source: Detroit News April 17, 2015

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Detroit man who confessed to quadruple homicide at age 14 to be freed June 8, 2016

When Innocence Is No Defense

The horrific truth – if your lawyer isn’t diligent at trial, you may have no recourse later, even when strong evidence of your innocence is later found.

Wrongful Convictions Blog

The ancient Greek playwright, Euripides, once wrote, “Ours is a world in which justice is accidental, and innocence no protection.”

Interestingly, there is an op-ed piece in the NY Times today with the title “When Innocence Is No Defense.”

This quote from the article: “What is most troubling (about the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision) is that the issue of innocence becomes irrelevant if there has been a failure of due diligence. In effect, the ruling elevates finality over justice to the point that an innocent person can be imprisoned, even executed, because of errors made by his lawyer. Absent a constitutional safety net, an innocent person convicted after a procedurally adequate trial is out of luck.” (Highlighting is mine.)

See the NY Times op-ed piece by Julie Seaman here.

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Capital Punishment and the State of Criminal Justice 2015

The American Bar Association has released a new publication, “The State of Criminal Justice 2015”.

The 76 page chapter devoted to capital punishment is available here ( via the Death Penalty Information Center ). It’s a treasure trove of information about problems in the implementation  of the death penalty.

Arizona is mentioned several times.

  • A paragraph on crooked “rock star” prosecutor Kenneth Peasley.
  • The Arizona Republic’s four part series on prosecution misconduct is mentioned.
  • The Debra Milke case is mentioned.

No mention of the cases of Jodi Arias or Shawna Forde, as this is a backwards-looking study, but there is an ongoing investigation into the conduct of the prosecutor Juan Martinez in the Jodi Arias trial.

Johnny Hincapie

On September 2, 1990, 18-year old Juan Carlos “Johnny” Hincapie was part of a large group of teenagers leaving a Midtown subway for a concert. Unbeknownst to Johnny and the group, six of the youths ran back into the subway, robbing and murdering 22-year old Brian Watkins. Johnny and his friend Luis Montero, who were last seen leaving the subway while the crime took place, were brought to the precinct, and beaten in an effort to force them to make a false confession. At the subsequent trial:

  • • The six culprits had said no one else was involved
    • No witness could positively place Johnny at the crime
    • No physical evidence – no blood, no weapon, no fingerprints
    • The Watkins family could not identify Johnny during multiple line-ups.
    • Luis Montero, who was kept in prison for 18 months after refusing to make a false statement, was exonerated.
    Johnny’s false confession was used as evidence against him.

Post conviction numerous witness statements, physical evidence, and Luis Montero’s key testimony has been obtained. These key pieces, along with the contested forced confession, form the basis of Hincapie’s actual innocence claim.

Here is some newspaper coverage of the hearings thus far:
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/man-prison-subway-murder-support-witness-article-1.2122087

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/new-witness-johnny-hincapie-article-1.2161036

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/inmate-claims-cops-beat-admitted-1990-murder-article-1.2128301

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Judge Orders New Trial for Johnny Hincapie, Convicted in 1990 Subway Killing Oct 6, 2015

John Hincapie’s exoneration shows false confessions and convictions can be prevented, say advocates Oct 7, 2015

Charges dropped Jan 25, 2017

Gerald Marshall

Gerald Marshall was convicted of murder and sentenced to death after the manager of a restaurant persuaded him to take part in a staged fake robbery to defraud the business that went disastrously wrong.

Ronald “Bo” Worthy entered the restaurant, and shot employee Christopher Dean who had placed the money in a safe and was unable to open it.

Worthy and another co-defendant then conspired to place the blame on Gerald, whose involvement in the conspiracy was minimal.

While Gerald was involved in the conspiracy, his trial was unfair and the jury were given a false picture. His sentence is grossly unjust.

For a full description of the case please see here.

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Richard Raugust

“In recent years, a legal team assembled by the Montana Innocence Project has been mounting a case for Raugust’s innocence, fighting to secure a new murder trial by arguing that if jurors heard newly presented evidence that has emerged since Raugust’s conviction they would not reasonably believe he could have committed the crime, that the facts support his alibi, and that key state witnesses – including the man they say pulled the trigger – colluded to spin a web of lies, framing Raugust for Tash’s murder.”

Source : News aticle 29 August, 2015

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Conviction overturned November 16, 2015

In 2012, the Montana Innocence Project appealed Raugust’s conviction, saying that new evidence implicates another killer, and that if Raugust were granted a new trial, a jury would agree.

The new evidence challenges key testimony provided by the state’s sole eyewitness, a man the Montana Innocence Project asserts is the true killer, and claims that the testimony of a sheriff’s deputy would have supported Raugust’s alibi but was never divulged prior to trial.

Diane Fleming

Diane Fleming was a Sunday school teacher and a mother, who loved her husband and her family. She is a very kind lady who helped and fed the homeless for many years. One day her husband Charles became very ill and she called 911. Her husband was admitted to the hospital and he died after two days. The medical authorities and the police alleged that Diane poisoned her husband with methanol. She was arrested, indicted, and convicted for killing her husband.

Seven years later, Dr. Al Bayati was contacted about the Fleming case. He spent 400 hours investigating the case and his findings clearly reveal that Charles Fleming died as a result of adverse reaction to medication and supplement and misdiagnosis.

Source

Read the full report here.

Abstract:

Charles (Chuck) Fleming’s acute illness developed on June 12, 2000 induced by the ingestion of toxic doses of creatine monohydrate and high levels of propylene glycol (PEG). Chuck was taking several medications contained PEG that increased creatine bioavability and caused acute renal failure, severe hypophosphatemia, and ketoacidosis. Chuck’s serum phosphorous level was 0.1 mg/dL (normal range: 2.8-4.9 mg/dL) and his hypophosphatemia caused hemolytic crisis. Chuck’s red blood cell count and hemoglobin levels on June 13th were reduced by 27% of those measured on June 12th.

The bleeding, edema, and necrosis observed in Chuck’s brain were caused by the high doses of heparin and sodium bicarbonate given in the Hospital. Chuck developed acute cardiac dysfunction due to hypophosphatemia, hypokalemia, hypomagnisemia, metabolic acidosis, and metabolic alkalosis. Chuck suffered from cardiomegaly and pulmonary atrophy as a result of the chronic use of corticosteroid medications. Chuck’s heart and right lung weights were 183% and 84% of normal average weight for age, respectively.

The treating physicians and the medical examiner did not measure formic acid in Chuck’s blood, urine, stomach contents, or tissues. The blood methanol measurements reported on June 12th and 13th represent a false positive. It is likely that the four bottles of Gatorade containing methanol presented in court are not the same bottles of Gatorade that Diane and Chuck spiked with creatine monohydrate on June 11th. The commonwealth’s allegation against Diane that she poisoned her husband with methanol is not supported by medical and scientific facts, which support Diane’s innocence.

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People wronged by the criminal justice system face a long road to compensation

“Even if Bennie Starks was completely innocent; even if the police manufactured evidence against him, lied to the grand jury, and lied at trial; even if expert witnesses practicing a unscientific form of analysis falsely implicated him; even if he lost 20 years of his life due to all of this, no one is liable. Bennie Starks doesn’t get to collect a dollar from any of them.”

From article People wronged by the criminal justice system face a long road to compensation by Radley Balko, July 30, 2015