Selwyn Days

Selwyn Days was accused of killing 79-year-old millionaire Archie Harris and his 35-year-old home health aide, Betty Ramcharan. Selwyn confessed to police after a seven-hour interrogation and nearly 14 hours in custody.

In 2003, Days’ first trial ended in a hung jury, but he was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder at his second trial in 2004. He was sentenced to 50 years, and his conviction was upheld by the appellate court.

Days appealed that conviction, claiming that his counsel was ineffective. Westchester County Court agreed in 2009, vacating the judgment and ordering a new trial.

The third trial again ended with a hung jury in 2011, but he was found guilty in his fourth trial.

In September 2015, the conviction was overturned based on the Westchester County Court’s decision in 2011 to bar expert testimony on the issue of false confessions.

The appellate court, noted the lack of physical evidence or eyewitness testimony linking Days to the murders, as well as the videotaped confession, in which officers “repeatedly employed suggestive and leading questions, fed the defendant specific details related to the crime scene, and used rapport-building techniques.”

The appellate court also said that “significant concerns” were raised by the fact that only the last 75 minutes, the confession, of the seven-hour interrogation were videotaped.

Days’ two experts in false confessions, Dr. Jessica Pearson and Dr. Richard A. Leo, had determined Days to be particularly vulnerable to false confessions, based in part on his low intelligence and history of mental illness, according to the ruling.

In August 2017, Selwyn was tried for a fifth time.

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Ryan Mickey

Ryan Mickey was railroaded by the system for doing CPR wrong on a sick child that had a brain injury from the child’s Father Nicholas Bradley. This Coward beat up his pregnant wife and put her in the hospital for 3 weeks, Causing a subdural haematoma in his unborn child and received only a 4 year sentence. Ryan got together with the child’s mom a while later. Because this brain injury was so severe, it had reopened 16 months later with no warning. The symptoms were flu like and a nurse practitioner misdiagnosed this child with a severe flu. A few days later she went into respiratory distress and Ryan called 911 and began CPR… Because he did what anyone else with any kind of morals and a heart would’ve done, he lost his freedom & life from lying, crooked cops and DA…

Instead of doing the right thing and letting him go, they offered Ryan a deal to cover their own asses, which Ryan refused to sign.

He is a hero sitting in prison for helping someone! Ryan has already lost 11 years of his life due to this terrible injustice!! The Innocence Project is working on bringing him home right now.

Website : http://www.ryanmickeyisinnocent.com/

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Michael Cope

On July 22nd, 1993, William Hamilton died after a struggle with Michael Cope. Hamilton owned a jewelery shop, had money, and was a mentor in an after school program. But also, he was molesting boys including Michael. Hamilton would give boys marijuana or cocaine. Hamilton would also have Michael and others hide jewelry, claim he was robbed, get insurance money, and then the boys would take him the jewelry back and he would sell it.

Michael had become addicted to drugs, and went to the jewelry shop to see if he could get some. When he went to leave, Hamilton jumped on his back and tried to choke him. Michael saw a knife, grabbed it and stabbed Hamilton. While they were struggling, they fell onto glass case and both got cut. A piece of glass went into a main artery eventually causing Hamilton’s death, from blood loss, after Hamilton chased Michael out of the door.

Michael had a court appointed lawyer that did not defend him. Michael told him every single detail of that day and the time leading up to that day and his lawyer withheld that information. He told Michael to plead guilty and take a deal. He was only 20. He was young and scared and thought his lawyer knew what to do. Michael was sentenced to 20 years to life.

Michael is now aged 44 and has served 24 years in prison for a defending himself from a pedophile. A petition calling for his release has more than a thousand signatures.

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Kimberly Renee Poole

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.

Anthony Burries

On May 18, 2014 the body of Tina Holt was found in her apartment at approx . 8:30am.

Anthony Burries immediately became the only person OPD detectives were interested in. Anthony had been convicted approx 2 years prior and served his time for a domestic dispute with the victim. It was his only domestic and he plead guilty. Prosecutors used that to conviction to sway the jury’s emotions. The only witness they had was an ex girlfriend that changed her stories throughout the police interviews, but only after they informed her of his many girlfriends. She then said that on Friday May 16 at 3am she took him to Tina’s apt complex where he exited the car and was gone for 2-5 minutes. There was never evidence that she took him there. There was no DNA or blood evidence found in her car and when it was our attorneys turn to have the car processed they had sold the car from evidence holding.

Evidence of innocence:

1). The medical examiner stated in his testimony that the victim had been dead for 12-18 hours, a time of death late Saturday or early Sunday, NOT early on Friday as the State claimed.

2). Text messages received from victim after they claim she was already dead.

3). Eyewitnesses in victims apartment they claim stopping and speaking with her after police claim she was dead.

4). State witness has come forward since and given signed affidavit that prosecution told her to lie on the stand.

5). Anthony’s motion tracker on his phone shows he’s home when police claim he committed murder.

6). A boyfriend that lived under her claimed that he had just ate big meal with her Friday at 1:30 am. Medical examiner testified that there was only coffee colored fluid in stomach. Anthony was on video Friday May 16, in a bar till 3 am. Left extremely intoxicated according to bouncers. There was never a murder weapon found and they never tested the vaginal swabs or other items for DNA. His first lawyer did not build a case to prove his innocence because he said that dead people don’t talk to other people nor do they text.

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Corey Walker

Corey Walker and Lorenzo Johnson were convicted for the December 1995 murder of Tarajay Williams.

On August 5, 2013, Johnson’s new attorney, Michael Wiseman filed a third PCRA petition for a new trial, this time presenting “a case of actual innocence.” The filing contains new sworn affidavits from a police detective, from people who had knowledge of the murder and the real killer(s), evidence that Johnson was “not in Harrisburg the night Williams was killed” but rather New York, and “newly discovered information” discrediting witnesses’ testimonies.

In fact, there were no witnesses to the murder. In addition, Carla Brown, the main prosecution witness, was a confirmed drug addict who had motive to testify in order to secure favorable treatment from the police and had initially provided to police multiple versions of the events. It was discovered that police “worked on” her for months until she gave them the version of events that were propounded at trial. Carla Brown now admits that she lied at trial. Other witnesses admit they were coerced into lying or staying silent, threatened by detectives with being falsely charged with crimes or promised leniency. For example, witness Brian Ramsey stated in a post-conviction affidavit that he falsely testified to seeing Johnson outside the bar that night, and that he only saw Walker in the crowd: “I actually never saw Mr. Johnson.” New evidence points to the actual perpetrators, as those who were previously held as witnesses are in fact now suspects.

Source: https://freelorenzojohnson.org/about/

In July 2017, Johnson was freed after a plea deal was agreed.

Proposal post

Ralph Trent Stokes

On March 11, 1982, two men robbed Smokin’ Joe’s Korner, in Philadelphia.  Armed with guns, and wearing masks, the men entered the restaurant before it opened, herded the employees into the walk-in refrigerator and threatened to kill them if they failed to cooperate.

One of the men shot and killed two of the employees Mary Louise Figueroa and Eugene Jefferson.  Two other employees were threatened but not shot. However, when a United States Postal Service employee happened onto the scene, he was killed by a shot in the head.

Both Ralph Trent Stokes, age 19, who had worked at the restaurant, and Donald Jackson were arrested and charged with the murders. Threatened with the death penalty, Jackson testified that Ralph was the shooter, in exchange for a guilty plea to second-degree murder and a life sentence. Ralph was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death.

One witness, Donald Blackson, testified that he had not signed a statement incriminating Ralph, and contrary to the statement he did not remember talking to Ralph on the day of the murders.

Prosecutor Roger King failed to disclose exculpatory results of laboratory testing on items seized from Ralph’s home. King then made argument to the jury, and presented other evidence, which was completely rebutted by the undisclosed lab reports. King lied to defense counsel, the court and the jury.

More information is available at http://www.ralphtrentstokes.org

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James Joseph Olague

James Joseph Olague, Ernesto Duran Arellano and  Oscar Hurtado Cervantes  were wrongly convicted in the shooting death of of Robert Stepper and Eric Folsom, and attempted murder of Vicki Folsom and Jessica Valdez on Halloween 2002.

All three defendants testified at trial and denied any involvement. The police pressured alleged accomplices to make false confessions consistent with the prosecutions theory.

According to defense attorney Rod Beede, the jury deliberated for 30 days during the guilt phase of this trial. At one point, he said, they were split 8-4 for acquittal.

From the same article “Was Oscar Cervantes Wrongfully Convicted of Being the Shooter in 2002 Halloween Homicide?”

Quote

There was an individual named Rudy Gonzalez, who the defense believed was either involved or knew who was involved in the shooting. However, the judge denied them the ability to call Mr. Gonzalez to the stand to put forward an alternate theory of the crime.

“Much more substantially than that,” Mr. Beede continued, “when eyewitness identification was a big issue – but there was a lot of debate as to whether calling a memory expert, an eyewitness identification expert, was something that a court should permit.”

They filed a motion to do that, retaining one of the most prominent eyewitness experts in the country to come and testify that the identification was false. The judge denied the motion to put this expert on the stand.

Mr. Beede noted that “subsequent to that, the Supreme Court has held that failure to put an eyewitness identification expert on the stand is ineffective assistance of counsel.” But they didn’t get that opportunity because the judge denied the motion.

Christina Marie Marten was barely 18 years old at the time and made a statement incriminating these defendants. She went to trial before the three main defendants went to trial. “She was offered a plea bargain, accessory after the fact, which basically was a time-served sentence if she would testify at Oscar’s trial to which she testified to a grand jury. When it came time for her to do that, she couldn’t bring herself to do it.”

Because of that she went to trial separately and was convicted and is now doing a life sentence without parole for a story she recanted.

“The eyewitness identification in this case was completely fabricated,” he said. “The two girls that were the survivors of these shootings had been shown Oscar’s picture at least a half dozen times.”

“But the most outrageous thing that happened in the case, of all the outrageous things that happened in the case, was that Nate Easlon, purported to be an eyewitness to the shooting – he was arrested down in Solano County and they made a deal with him to testify.”

“Nate Easlon wrote a letter to my co-counsel and I, and said he not only fabricated the entire story but that his attorney and Jim Walker, who was trying the case with Jeff Reisig, had told him to fabricate. Had gone down to Solano County, met with him, told him that he was going to get a life sentence or worse if he didn’t come through.”

End Quote

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Joel Atkin

On April 25, 2009, Joel Atkin was calling 911 to ask for help when he shot and killed Jayson Sack, who had aggressively approached him. Jayson was drunk, with a blood alcohol content of .14 and hydrocodone at recreational levels.

According to Joel, Jayson had a knife, but the jury did not hear that fact, after his attorney suggested that testifying to that might not help his case.

The 911 tape recording was twenty-five to forty seconds shorter than the actual call. This gap, according to Joel, omitted his claim that Jayson Sack was carrying a knife.

Joel’s lawyer failed to present medical evidence showing the injuries he sustained in the scuffle with Jayson, which showed that he suffered a nasal septum fracture and a possible petechial brain hemorrhage, from suffocation. This would have confirmed testimony from his witnesses that Jayson placed him in a headlock.

Thus in spite of acting in self-defense, Joel was convicted of third degree murder, aggravated assault, and recklessly endangering another person.

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Kevin Brian Dowling

Kevin Brian Dowling was convicted of robbing and later murdering Jennifer Myers. According to a Federal appeal filed in 2015 :

Quote

This case presents a textbook example of how a tunnel-visioned police investigation coupled with overzealous and unscrupulous prosecutors can result in the conviction of an innocent person.

On August 5, 1996, Jennifer Myers was robbed at gunpoint in her frame gallery, where she was the sole proprietress. She thought she knew her attacker and initially did not want the police to be contacted. A disgruntled business partner was implicated, apparently on the theory that the robbery was staged as an intimidation tactic.

On November 29, 1996, with no tangible results in their investigation, the police visited Ms. Myers for a follow-up interview. When pressed, she told police that two weeks earlier she thought she observed someone who looked like the attacker working at a convenience store. She explained then that her failure to timely notify the police was due to her lack certainty that he was the perpetrator. The police investigated and when they observed a car of comparable make to the one ostensibly observed near the gallery, they promptly arrested the car’s owner,  Petitioner, Kevin Brian Dowling.

Mr. Dowling was a  married father of three children, with no criminal record, and a lengthy career in operations management.

When Myers was later found murdered, suspicion turned almost exclusively to Petitioner, with the authorities ignoring other likely suspects including: an admitted robber with an identical modus operandi to the perpetrator and who was then on the loose; the victim’s husband who “discovered” the body, and suspiciously, in the immediate aftermath of the murder, dispossessed himself of a weapon of the same caliber as the murder weapon (which the Commonwealth’s expert could not exclude as the weapon used to kill Myers); and the disgruntled former business partner. Because there was little evidence implicating Petitioner in the murder (for which Petitioner was tried separately and sentenced to death) the prosecution sought to bolster the robbery case through coaching of witnesses, renewed reliance on hypnotically refreshed identifications, and a blatant attempt to pollute the jury pool through biased and frequent press appearances (as the trial court found).

In addition, prosecutors contemptuously ignored court rulings and admonitions in order to ensure that the jury heard prejudicial and inadmissible evidence. Against this onslaught, the Commonwealth provided Petitioner with a host of Strickland-deficient lawyers, who collectively did virtually nothing Strickland requires, resulting in no defense being presented at trial and the waiver of virtually all of Petitioner’s claims of error, including ineffectiveness of trial counsel.

End Quote

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Jermaine Smothers

On May 11, 1995, Jermaine was accused of shooting and killing Ernesto Flores, a prominent member of the Mesa Locos gang.  Jermaine consistently maintained that he did not shoot and kill Ernesto.  Despite passing a polygraph examination prior to trial and despite the exceedingly unreliable eyewitnesses who claimed that they saw him shoot Flores, he was convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.  The trial judge gave him a sentence of 29 years-to-life.

Jermaine’s claims of innocence fell on deaf ears until an unlikely ally appeared.  It all started in 2001 when an Oceanside Police Department homicide detective inadvertently stumbled upon evidence that Jermaine was, in fact, not the shooter in the Flores murder.  At the time, the detective was working on an unrelated homicide.  During the course of her investigation, she came into contact with several people who said that Jermaine was locked up for a crime he did not do. In 2005, she began looking further into Jermaine’s case.  Her supervising Lieutenant told her to leave the matter alone and shot down her pleas to reinvestigate Jermaine’s case.  Undeterred and convinced of Jermaine’s innocence, the detective went directly to the original prosecutor and investigating officers in the hopes that someone would do the right thing.  Unfortunately, the original prosecutor and investigating officers were defensive and nothing ever came of these efforts.

Still undeterred and in an effort to set the record straight and do the right thing, the detective dedicated the next several years to uncovering the truth about the murder.  She interviewed several witnesses who told her who the real shooter was.  Further, the critical eyewitnesses against Jermaine admitted they lied at his trial.  In 2008, the detective presented the case to the California Innocence Project, shortly before her retirement.  Since that time, both she and the California Innocence Project have jointly investigated Jermaine’s case and uncovered further evidence of innocence.  Jermaine will soon be presenting his case to the courts.

Source: California Innocence Project

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Michael Ardis Bell

PhotoCroppedOn October 19, 1994, the Westside High School girls volleyball team played against the King Drew Medical High School girls’ volleyball team at the Rancho Cienega Recreation Center’s gymnasium, Los Angeles, California.

Darnell “Ricky” Pryor went to watch the game with his friends, Willie Bell, Kerry Bell. and Herron Freeman. Willie’s fiancee, Maura Sparks, played on the Westside High team.

Shortly after the second game started, a gang of young men attacked Ricky and his friends, and subsequently Ricky was shot. Paramedics took Ricky to UCLA. Medical Center, Ricky died as a result of gun shot wounds. A fatal wound entered his chest, lung, heart and liver. Ricky also had gun shot wounds in his left thigh, right forearm and left arm.

Michael,  age 17, was not at the gym, he was working at a car wash, nevertheless he was identified as being one of the young men who attacked and killed Ricky. He had an alibi witness, and a time card confirmed his alibi, however the judge did not allow the time card into evidence.

Michael was convicted and sentenced to 15 years to life, plus a one year enhancement based on the use of a firearm by a principal. Following the trial, Kendall Mosley confirmed that he was at the fight, and stated that Michael was not there.

According to an appeal brief brief (pages 15-16):

“The evidence against appellant was far from overwhelming. None of the witnesses placed appellant in the hallway area where the shots were fired. Although several witnesses placed appellant at the gym during the time of the fight that preceded the killing, their identification testimony was far from compelling. For example, one of the eyewitnesses, Williams, clearly testified that he did not identify appellant as a participant in the fight at the gym although he had earlier said that appellant’s photograph “resembled” one of the suspects.”

“The identification evidence is additionally undermined by inconsistencies between witness descriptions of suspects at trial and police officers’ understandings of descriptions made by witnesses close to the time of the crime.”

“For example, Willie Bell denied having given officers a description of a suspect who  was 6’3″ or 6’4″ tall and weighed about 200 pounds. The officer, however, testified that Willie Bell gave such a description. It is very probable that the jury would have reached a more favorable result if the court had admitted defense Exhibit A (a copy of appellant’s time card). This is especially true where, as here, the record contains many indications that the case was a very close one.”

“The closeness of the case against appellant is further reflected in the relatively lengthy period of deliberations before the jury could reach any verdict. The jury  deliberated for more than eleven hours on this one-count case against one  defendant. There were no special circumstances or similarly complex allegations for the jury to consider before reaching its verdict. It simply took a significant amount of lime to deliberate before it could reach any verdict in this relatively short case.”

“The excluded defense Exhibit A (the copy of appellant’s time card for the week including the date and time of the murder) would have strengthened appellant’s alibi defense substantially. Although there was other evidence in the form of  Foster’s testimony to support the alibi defense, it was important to corroborate  Foster’s testimony.”

Documents:

Appeal Brief

Pro Se Appeal and other documents

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Serghei Comerzan

23-year-old Serghei P. Comerzan was accused of second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and resisting arrest over the 2015 death of Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper James Bava, 25.

Comerzan, who was operating a motorcycle, allegedly led Trooper Bava on a chase after Bava attempted to perform a routine traffic stop. Bava reportedly clocked Comerzan going 105 miles per hour. During the chase, Officer Bava’s patrol car was reportedly traveling at speeds exceeding 135 miles per hour.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a Highway Patrol car in pursuit of a vehicle when it went off the road and into a treeline before rolling over and bursting into flames.

After jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on Friday, May 26, 2017, Comerzan’s lawyers said they would seek to have the case dismissed

The case hinged on the prosecution proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Comerzan was aware of Trooper Bava in pursuit behind him, a claim he and his defense team have fervently denied.

Source: http://www.kmzu.com/attorneys-serghei-comerzan-expected-file-dismissal-charges-following-hung-jury-last-month/

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John Bradley Atkinson

In July 2005, John Atkinson and Deborah Campbell met, and after some time he moved in with her and they lived together.

In January 14, 2008, Mr. Atkinson allegedly drove at Ms. Campbell in a dump truck. It is agreed the truck got stuck. According to Mr. Atkinson he was reversing the the truck, and was not driving at her. She says the truck came within 10 feet of her before it got stuck.

In April 2010, Ms. Campbell was injured while assisting Mr. Atkinson with a tree cutting job, spent some time in hospital, and her relationship with Mr. Atkinson ended.

Some time, well after the relationship ended (August 26, 2010, p. 28), Detective Conway, during an interview about truck registration, asked Ms. Campbell if Mr. Atkinson ever hurt her. She said something to the effect of “Well he tried to kill me with a dump truck”.

Following this allegation, Mr. Atkinson was subsequently charged and convicted at a bench trial of offences relating to the events on January 14, 2008. At the same trial He was acquitted of other charges relating to allegations about other events  in May 2006, and July 2010.

There is no evidence that Ms. Campbell ever said to anyone else prior to the interview with Detective Conway that Atkinson tried to kill her that day, and her account of events appears to be contradicted by reliable evidence which shows the truck was reversed into the place where it became stuck, and not driven forward.

Given Ms. Campbell’s suspect memory of the events on January 14, 2008, it seems quite plausible she was simply frightened by a near accident, and Mr. Atkinson had no intention of hitting her with the dump truck. Ms. Campbell made no other allegations of physical domestic violence, making it implausible that he should attempt to kill her with a dump truck.

There is a website with a good number of documents about the case.

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Mark Carver

Mark Carver is serving a life sentence without parole after his 2011 conviction for strangling Irina Yarmolenko. Her body was found near her car in Mount Holly, on the banks of the Catawba River. Carver and his cousin were fishing downstream at the time.

Chris Mumma, executive director of North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, is seeking a new trial, arguing that Carver received an inadequate defense and that key pieces of evidence used to convict him would not stand up to updated testing and new information uncovered in the case. In particular, Mumma claims that far more conclusive testing and reporting of DNA will undermine the prosecution’s contention that Carver’s genetic material was found on Yarmolenko’s car.

She also says Carver’s statements to police indicating that he knew the victim’s height can be challenged by interrogation video – never seen by a jury – that shows he was coached into giving the description by a detective.

In 2016, the Charlotte Observer published “Death by the River,” a six-part series raising questions about Carver’s guilt.

Source: Defense in disputed murder case wants Gaston DA punished for withholding evidence June 14, 2017

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DeShon Thomas

In 2011, seventeen-year-old, DeShon Thomas, was a full-time freshman at Tallahassee Community College seeking an Associate in Arts Degree in Paralegal Studies. DeShon also worked part-time at Taco Bell. He was also a former boyfriend of Laqecia Herring (possible father of her unborn baby).

In Tallahassee, Florida, on January 27, 2011, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell opened up an investigation into the double homicide of 20-year-old, Laqecia Herring, and her brother, 17-year-old, Sterling Conner Jr. Both victims were found murdered in the living-room of the townhouse that they shared with their mother and other siblings—including Ms. Herring’s toddler daughter. Ms. Herring was pregnant at the time of her murder.#

On October 18, 2013, DeShon Thomas was convicted on Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder and Solicitation to Commit 1st Degree Murder.

There was no evidence connecting DeShon to the murders. The one witness testimony that the prosecutor needed was that of DeShon’s former co-worker/friend who had been manipulated by officials. Feeling defeated, on December 17, 2013, DeShon pled “No Contest” to Possession of a Firearm by a Juvenile Delinquent (a gun that had nothing to do with the murders, was obtained illegally, and was not in Deshon’s possession).

On April 26, 2017, DeShon (Pro Se) filed for Post-Conviction Relief. On May 1, 2017, a judge ordered the State Attorney’s Office to show cause why an evidentiary hearing should not be held—giving the State Attorney’s Office 60 days to respond. In June 2017, an evidentiary hearing was granted.

DeShon wrote to his mother asking her to find an attorney to argue his case. She in turn promised him that she would do her best. Today, DeShon’s mother is asking for any assistance in helping DeShon regain his freedom.

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Michael Stone

Michael Stone was convicted of the 1996 killings of Lin Russell and her daughter Megan, six, and the attempted murder of Megan’s sister Josie, nine, on a remote footpath near Canterbury, UK in 1996.

Stone consistently maintained his innocence, but was convicted mainly on the testimony of a jailhouse informant who claimed he confessed through a heating pipe between the cells. At the first trial two other informants also claimed he confessed, but one retracted and the other was discredited.

There was no forensic or eyewitness identification to connect Stone to the crime. Eyewitnesses saw a beige car used by the killer, but Stone drove a white car. Stone was a heroin addict, with a record of violence and stealing from garden sheds, but the remote rural location is a very unlikely place for a burglary or robbery.

A forensic specialist has said that advances in DNA techniques not only confirmed no link between Stone and the crime, but showed the likely presence of another man at the scene. Samples obtained from the family of Levi Bellfield, who was convicted for the murder of schoolgirl Millie Dowler and two women, showed a possible but unprovable link to him.

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Kevin Keith

Kevin Keith was convicted for the 1994 shootings in Bucyrus, Ohio that killed three people and wounded three others.

Several alibi witnesses placed him more than 30 minutes away at the time of the shootings.

Keith was convicted due to testimony from G. Michele Yezzo, a now-discredited forensic analyst, who claimed that tires previously on Mr. Keith’s girlfriend’s car left the tire tracks in the snow at the scene.

Retired FBI Special Agent William Bodziak has concluded that Yezzo’s forensic conclusions were wrong, it could not have been Keith’s girlfriend’s car that made the snow impressions, and snow imprints did not exclude the alternate suspect whom the police simply failed to investigate.

Source: article by Jason Flom, June 2, 2017. Jason Flom is president of LAVA Records and a founding member of the Innocence Project’s board of directors.

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Kris Helton

Kris Helton was convicted in 1992 for the murder of twenty-two month old Marshall Gunderson.   At the time of Marshall’s death, Kris was living with Marshall’s mother, Marcella Gunderson and her three sons, Michael, age four, Matthew, age six, and Marshall.

However gastric contents evidence, and the observations of a doctor who examined Marshall after he was rushed to hospital, suggest that Marcella lied about what took place, and Marshall died much earlier than she claimed.

The Third District Court of Appeal in Miami, Florida unanimously reversed Kris’ wrongful conviction for first-degree murder — with directions to discharge him outright — because the purely circumstantial evidence adduced at trial didn’t preclude the reasonable possibility that the crime wasn’t committed the crime “hours earlier” than alleged by the prosecution, when Kris was not at home.

Later, though, Judge Gerald Cope and Judge Alan Schwartz granted a motion for rehearing filed by the State of Florida, withdrew the three-judge panel’s original, unanimous opinion; and issued a split opinion affirming Kris’ conviction based upon an entirely new analysis of the circumstantial evidence.

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Wrongly Convicted Group – Third Annual Review

Since the second annual review, 20 cases have been featured, bringing the featured total to 161 cases, and 39 cases have been adopted, bringing the adopted total to 90, and the overall total to 251. One featured case was removed from the list.

Sadly Billy Wayne Cope died on February 9, before he could be exonerated.

Jimmy Dennis and Rodricus Crawford were exonerated from death row. Michael Amick and Jason Sadowski were exonerated after retrials. Other exonerations (or time-served plea deals) during the year were Lorinda Swain, Jerome Morgan, Davontae Sanford, Ingmar Guandique, Darryl Howard, Robert Jones, Charles Johnson, Larod Styles, Michael Peterson and Chris Tapp.

In addition, Courtney Bisbee, David Mark Temple, Lamarr Monson, John Horton, Rodney Stanberry, Patrick Pursley and Emerson Stevens were released either on bail, parole or time-served.

See the Featured and Adopted case list for full details.

There is now a spreadsheet with contact and birthday information for each featured or adopted case, to help letters and cards to be sent on holidays or birthdays, many thanks to Kaylene for organising this.

Thank you again to everyone for proposing and voting on featured cases, let’s hope that at least some of the many wrongly convicted people we support are freed in the coming year.

George