James Evans

Nekemar Pearson allegedly went missing on June 25, 1995. James Evans was subsequently convicted of his murder on that date, on the basis of confessions he purportedly made to jailhouse informants, who claimed that Evans confessed that he beat Pearson so severely that he broke his hand in the process. However a medical examination established that in fact his hand had not been broken after a documented fracture in 1993. The trial testimony of the state’s witnesses changed from their grand jury testimony.

State witnesses Tommie Rounds, Demond Spruill, and Larry Greer testified that Evans had confessed. Spruill was a serial informant according to an appeal ruling. Greer was a drug addict and admitted liar, who police officials paid cash for his false testimony, and threatened him with arrest if he didn’t cooperate.

Further, in 2001 a state appellate defender discovered highly exculpatory Brady evidence  : a police officer observed Pearson and another youth walking down the street on July 3,  1995 (ten days after Pearson allegedly went missing). The officer was certain that it was Pearson, because he was a liaison officer at the Alton high school  where Pearson attended, and the officer had several encounters with him.

Source

Discussion| Proposal Post

Advertisements

Alfred Trenkler

On October 28, 1991, a bomb exploded at the Roslindale home of Thomas L. Shay (“Shay Sr.”), killing one Boston police officer and severely injuring another.

The prosecution case was that Alfred Trenkler had built the bomb at the behest Shay Sr.’s son (“Shay Jr.”), who wanted to kill his father in order to cash in on an insurance policy.

In fact, it seems far more likely the bomb was related to Shay Sr.’s legal disputes, Shay Sr.  claimed his previous landlords were making threats on his life.

The case against Shay Jr. (who was convicted in a separate trial) and Trenkler was circumstantial. The government introduced a sales receipt for a toggle switch purchased in October 1991 at a Radio Shack store, however the jury never knew that the switch recovered at the scene was not a Radio Shack switch.

Discussion | Proposal Post

 

Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey – case update

A further 10 episodes of “Making a Murderer” on the cases of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey have been streamed on netflix.

They detail Kathleen Zellner’s re-investigation of the case, and the agonising twists and turns in Brendan Dassey’s efforts to have his confession thrown out as coerced.

Specifically, we learn that:

(1) The State’s theory of how the blood-spatter on the rear cargo door of Teresa Halbach’s car was deposited is not tenable. Also, the blood near the ignition key would not have been left by Avery turning the ignition, instead it was planted there.

(2) The hood-latch DNA could not have been touch-DNA, and the swab wasn’t from the hood-latch. Instead the sample swab was relabeled with a swab taken from Avery.

(3) Halbach’s body could not have been incinerated with a couple of tyres. Also, there is no stain. Expert Dr John DeHann is positive the burn pit is not the primary burn site.  (About 35 minutes in to Ep. 3). No photos of discovery of the bones, remains, not done, no documentation. This implies the remains were recovered elsewhere and not at the site where Steven Avery had a bonfire.

(4) Remains were allegedly discovered in burn barrel #2 many days after it had been previously been searched. Again, this implies the remains were in fact recovered elsewhere.

(5) There was a Brady violation ( withheld evidence ) concerning evidence that Halbach’s vehicle left the Avery property.

(6) The blood planted in Halbach’s car came from blood Avery deposited in his bathroom sink ( there was evidence of a break-in, he reported someone cleaned up the blood on Nov 3, on Friday morning the blood in his sink was gone ).

(7) Flakes of Avery’s blood recovered from the carpet of Halbach’s car must have been planted, not deposited there from his bleeding finger.

(8) The .22 bullet fragment recovered from Avery’s garage should have had bone fragments – it didn’t, meaning it could NOT have passed through Halbach’s head. Instead it had wood fragments. Zellner recreated how the .22 bullet fragment occurred. The DNA evidence ( Halbach’s DNA on the fragment ) was forged.

(9) Bryan should have been called as a witness to impeach Bobby, in fact Bobby saw Teresa leave and told Bryan, but Bryan was not called as a witness. We can infer that prosecutors scared Bobby enough with what he saw happened to Brendan, and material on Bobby’s computer would have given them plenty of leverage. ( Also, that was another Brady violation, the computer contents at the very least are impeachment information favorable to the defense ).

Discussion here

 

 

Antonio Williams, Kendrick Gillum, and Demarco T. Wilson

On February 1, 1997, Charles Newsome was shot in the back and arm while driving in West Memphis, Arkansas, and bled to death. Antonio Williams, Kendrick Gillum, and Demarco T. Wilson (WGW) were subsequently convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

The key witness was Frederick Ellis, who was a passenger in the car. In his first statement to police, he could not give the names of the shooters, but then a few hours later he identified Williams and Gillum, then five days later he identified Wilson and another person, who it transpired was in Kentucky at the time. Ellis testified that he had known WGW “pretty much” his entire life.

However Ellis and another witness Kevin Johnson, the only witnesses who identified WGW as the shooters, gave statements which were contradictory and also conflicted with other trial testimony – a defense witness testified the shooters were in another car and not on foot, whereas the State’s witnesses testified the shooters were on foot. In addition, Johnson did not did not give his statement until nine days after the shooting, when he could have talked to Ellis. Ellis and Johnson were both convicted felons, this was the  third Capital Murder trial where Ellis testified that year and after his testimony implicating WGW, the West Memphis Police Department dropped seven charges against him.

In summary the evidence suggests Ellis lied about who shot the victim, and named people in order to curry favour with the police, and perhaps to absolve himself from wrongdoing.

Discussion| Proposal Post

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Pape and Cristin Smith

Robert Pape and Cristin Smith were sentenced to life without parole in the 2006 triple murders of Jon Hayward, his girlfriend, Vicki Friedli, and her 18-year-old daughter, Rebecca “Becky” Friedli, in Pinyon Pines, California.

The victims were found murdered at their Alpine Drive home just north of Highway 74. Hayward and Vicki Friedli died of gunshots to the abdomen and head, respectively. Their bodies were discovered inside their burning home. Becky Friedli’s charred body lay outside in a wheelbarrow and her cause of death was never determined.

Robert was told certain aspects of the crime scene by Javier Garcia, such as the wheelbarrow and the bodies being too burned to identify. Javier testified that he did not know this information until a few days after the murders.

Post-trial discovery has revealed a tape of a Denny’s employee stating that Javier called her the next morning,  stating the facts about the wheelbarrow and the burned bodies.

Discussion | Proposal Post