Kimberly Renee Poole was celebrating her third wedding anniversary with her husband Brent Poole, when the couple were robbed on a beach soon before midnight on June 9th, 1998. Brent was shot twice in the head, and died soon after.
Police rapidly focussed on a theory that the shooter was John Boyd Frazier, and Kimberly had conspired with John to have her husband murdered. Kimberly had briefly left her husband and gone to live with John a month earlier, before reconciling with her husband.
Kimberly was subject to extremely coercive Reid interrogation tactics, and after many hours, after being accused of “obstructing justice”, on being told the only way she could keep her two year old child Katie was to agree to the police theory, she made damaging admissions.
The police built their case on
(i) A questionable eyewitness identification from a couple who were paid a substantial amount of money by Brent’s family.
(ii) A witness who saw a car resembling John’s car parked outside the Poole home on three nights before the murder.
(iii) The testimony of alternative suspect Bruce Wolford, who was a friend of John, and a bartender at the Silver Fox where Kimberly worked. Wolford testified that John tried to fight Brent on May 30 in the parking lot of the Silver Fox. Wolford also claimed that he overheard Kimberly telling John of her plans to go to Myrtle Beach with Brent on June 9.
However, eyewitness Chris Hensley who had seen the shooter close-up (ten feet), told police the composite he made didn’t resemble John in any way. Instead, it resembled alternative suspect Bruce Wolford.
Kimberly and John were convicted in separate trials. A juror at Kimberly’s trial has written about how jurors were coerced into reaching a verdict. John’s conviction was overturned, due to him being denied an expert to challenge the eyewitness identification, but he was again convicted after a retrial. Kimberly was sentenced to life without parole.
It has recently been discovered that Wolford was stalking Kimberly, he had installed spyware on the Poole’s computer. Kimberly’s attorney has since been disbarred. A recently filed appeal cites ineffective assistance of counsel, based on several grounds.