Category Archives: 1. Case Status

If a Case does not have a Status, it should be taken as simply “Appeal”.

Jerome Kowalski

On May 1, 2008 Richard and Brenda Kowalski were found dead at their Livingston County home in rural Michigan. Both had been shot. In the 911 call, their adult son named his uncle, Jerome Kowalski, as a suspect.

Jerome was addicted to alcohol, and after being questioned by police began to think it was possible he committed the crime but didn’t remember. When he was told the murder weapon was a 0.38 gun rather than the 9mm gun he owned, he realised he couldn’t have done it.

Lead detective Sean Furlong  started accusing Jerome’s sons of committing the murders. Jerome denied it. Furlong then threatened to bring them in for questioning.

Jerome claimed he didn’t want his sons to go through what he was going through, so he finally gave police a signed confession.

At trial, forensic pathologist Werner Spitz testified the time of death was in the middle of the night, when Jerome was working security at a military base.

Jerome’s attorneys expected to get the confession thrown out, but this was denied by Livingston County District Court Judge Theresa Brennan, who also refused to allow an expert on false confessions to testify, calling the expert witness “unreliable and irrelevant.”

However, Brennan was having an affair with the lead detective, failed to recuse herself and lied about the affair. She has now been removed from office by the Michigan Supreme Court, and pleaded guilty to a charge of perjury ( other charges were dropped ).

Jerome’s attorneys have requested a false confession expert be allowed to testify at the new trial, scheduled to take place in January. Shiawassee County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart will rule on the motions on December 17, 2019. The retrial is set for January 20, 2020.

Excellent 3-part documentary ( with transcripts ) here: https://truecrimedaily.com/2017/06/07/judge-detective-love-affair-could-derail-double-murder-conviction/

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Xavier Walker

In July 2018, after serving nearly nearly two decades in prison for a 2000 murder, Xavier Walker won a new trial.

Walker had several alibi witnesses ready to testify that he was at home when Mark Madjak was gunned down in West Garfield Park. Walker, then only 19, also had a witness whom he’d told police had beaten him before he confessed, as well as photographs showing his injuries.

But none of that evidence was brought out by his lawyer at the time, and Walker received a 35-year prison sentence for murder. State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office agreed to vacate his conviction and 35-year sentence, though Walker remained at the Cook County Jail on a no-bond order from Judge Alfredo Maldonado.

Assistant Public Defender Harold Winston said that he did not know whether prosecutors intend to take the case to trial again, but he said that he’s confident the evidence will show Walker is not guilty.

For details see https://chicago.suntimes.com/?post_type=cst_article&p=1236571

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Exonerated December 2019, exoneration report here.

Rodney Franck

In April 2015, Rodney Franck intervened to stop a brutal assault on 54-year-old Christopher Brewster, who was left in a coma and died in June 2015. Subsequently, the perpetrator of the assault, Spencer Pell, bragged about the attack to more than 10 individuals before giving a voluntary confession to police.

Despite overwhelming evidence that Pell was the assailant, Franck was subsequently charged with murder. His trial is set for August 2018.

For more details see http://www.usobserver.com/prosecutor-disregards-confession-of-killer/

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John Kunco

In 1991, John Kunco was convicted of raping and beating a 55-year-old woman the previous December.

The victim claimed that her assailant’s voice sounded like the voice of a former maintenance worker in her apartment building named “John.” But she also said she had only spoken to Kunco once, never saw her attacker, and only identified Kunco based on his voice, and even then, not based on Kunco’s voice itself, but on a detective’s imitation of Kunco’s lisp.

The state’s case depended on the testimony of two bite-mark analysts. The police collected more than 40 other samples of forensic materials, including blood, hair and clothing fibers. None of it implicated Kunco. The bite-mark testimony was the only physical evidence linking him to the crime.

In 2009, DNA excluded Kunco as the source of biological material found on a lamp cord used to strangle the victim. His appeal was denied. In 2016, after two bite-mark skeptics within the ABFO submitted affidavits that were critical of the bite-mark testimony, the State’s experts submitted their own affidavits retracting their testimony and analysis. In May 2018, Kunco’s attorneys announced that they believe new DNA tests have exonerated their client.

Source: “Yet another bite-mark conviction is unraveling” Washington Post, May 21, 2018

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Update May 23, 2018 : New trial awarded

 

 

Dana Chandler

Dana Chandler was convicted in 2012 of the murder of her ex-husband, Michael Sisco, and his girlfriend, Karen Harkness, on July 7, 2002.

The prosecution case was entirely speculative. There was no evidence to place her at the scene, no forensic evidence to link her to the crime. She did make a credit-card purchase of two gas cans on the day before the murders, which the prosecution suggested were to help conceal her long trip to commit the murder, however they would not have been sufficient to complete the round trip. Police could not confirm her alibi, but videos of the locations she visited were not complete.

In addition, the prosecutor told the trial jury that Sisco secured a court protective order in 1998 to shield him from Chandler, but there was no evidence for the claim.

The prosecutor made other claims that were either false or unsupported by evidence.

Discussion | Proposal Post

Update April 6, 2018 Conviction Overturned Ruling

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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Update September 12, 2017 : Selwyn Days acquitted in fifth trial for Eastchester double homicide

 

 

Ronald DiMambro Jr.

sportyRonald DiMambro Jr. was convicted in 2014 for the murder of Damian Sutton, the two-year-old son of his ex-girlfriend, and sentenced to life in prison.

Damian and his mother were living in the home of Ronald’s parents. Damian was in the care of Ronald at the time of the alleged assault in August 2013 while his mother was at work.  The defense say Damian accidentally fell from a kitchen bar stool 1-3 days earlier, and that likely accounted for his death. Damian was taken to hospital, but was taken off life support and died six days later.

In October 2014 a judge ordered a new trial, ruling that 32 photographs withheld by the prosecution were crucial, stating that “The information provided by these photographs … would likely have materially changed how the jury viewed the relationship between the defendants’ conduct and Damian’s death. The nondisclosure may have been unintentional, but it was no harmless error.”

The photographs could have helped the defense, and its expert, Dr. Bader Cassin, because they more clearly show that bleeding on one side of Damian’s brain was caused by surgical incisions, not necessarily blunt-force trauma, the judge said. The information suggests Damian may have suffered only one blow instead of two, raising the possibility of a fall instead of an intentional act.

Source: Judge orders new trial for man in 2-year-old’s death 1 Nov 2015.

In December 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the judge’s decision. The county prosecutor’s office planned to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. In October 2017, the Michigan Supreme Court endorsed the decision.

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Jason David Sadowski

Update: see Jason Sadowski is Innocent for full case details.

cropped2Jason David Sadowski was convicted in 2014 of assaulting and torturing Angel Paris  and Becky Bressette at Jason’s gym in July 2013. The conviction was overturned in December 2015, a retrial has been set for March 6, 2017.

Angel, a drug addict and admitted thief, and Becky gave conflicting, changing and incredible accounts of what occurred. According to the ruling  overturning the conviction “Although the police officers gave testimony regarding their observations, the prosecution highlights nothing from their testimony that disproves Sadowski’s rendition beyond a reasonable doubt. The victims also had many discrepancies in their account of the night and crimes.”

At the time  Angel was on parole/probation. She was also in drug court and had an open CPS case. She had warrants out for her arrest for bail jumping. So, on the night in question, she had been out drinking and using drugs, she had her violated her probation, parole and drug court conditions,  and was due in drug court in the morning for testing. She admitted to stealing money. She had also stolen jewelry and marijuana.

Becky was also a drug addict, who died of a methadone overdose between the preliminary hearing and trial. She was with Angel on the night she died.

What happened is this:

Jason wanted his money back ( the amount of stolen items totaled over $1,000 and would have been a grand theft charge ). When Jason said he was calling the cops Angel begged and pleaded for him not to. She turned on Becky, trying to shift blame. Angel was intent on getting the money back so Jason would not call the cops. She had plenty of motive to shift blame, and was fighting with Becky. Eventually, Angel persuaded another man present, Charles Leroy Cope, to help her tie Becky up to a pole with duct tape, to force her to say where the stolen items were. Then, bizarrely she started taping herself to another pole, apparently in an attempt to make it look as though she was a victim. When Jason came into the room, Angel told Jason no one was leaving until Jason recovered the remainder of his money. Shortly afterwards, Angel called 911, and eventually claimed that she and Becky were victims.

Charles gave statements to police consistent with Jason’s account. He was repeatedly asked if Jason ever touched, hit or threatened Angel or Becky, and responded that did not happen. However at trial, Charles’ attorney argued a “duress” defense consistent with the prosecution theory of events. Charles’ attorney failed to consult at all with his client before the preliminary hearing. Charles’ attorney later  told Jason’s attorney if he had known Jason had witnesses and evidence to rebut the prosecution case, he would not have offered a duress defense. Charles had issues from heavy drinking and drug use for years, and was battling with dementia and Alzheimer’s and did not testify. During proceedings he was seen shaking his head,  telling the assistant next to him no, that isn’t what happened, and that isn’t what he said.

At sentencing, Charles said he did not believe Jason could have done what he was convicted of, he never saw Jason hit either woman while they were all in the basement where he was living at the time. “I wasn’t upstairs, I don’t know, but I can’t believe him beating on those women,” he said. “Downstairs … that’s all I know, he never touched ’em downstairs. I never seen him hurt ’em.” He didn’t know what happened upstairs, he was sorry for it and said Jason was a good man who had helped him.

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News

Friday March 17, 2017 Sadowski found not guilty on all seven counts

Report at National Registry of Exonerations

Angelika Graswald

Angelika Graswald was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Vincent  Viafore, whose body was recovered from the Hudson River in April 2015. 

Prosecutors said Graswald removed a nickle-sized drain plug on the top of the kayak to allow it to fill with water, however experts say the amount of water entering a small hole on the top of the kayak could be minimal compared to the amount of water splashing into Viafore’s open cockpit.

In a nearly 12-hour taped interrogation by police 10 days after Viafore disappeared, Graswald repeatedly denied killing her fiance and said her desperate calls to 911 were real.

Graswald also said during that interrogation, which she punctuated with yoga and hopscotch, that she was “OK” with Viafore’s death and “wanted him dead.”

Graswald told ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas in a November 2015 jailhouse interview that she was at her “breaking point” during the taped interrogation.

“Well they kept me asking me the same questions like a hundred times. I knew that I was innocent,” Graswald told Vargas. “I was at my breaking point. I just, I had it so I just gave ’em what they wanted.”

She also denied in the interview that she removed the plug from Viafore’s kayak with the intent to kill him, saying, “No, I did not.”

Graswald’s attorney, Richard Portale, said in a court hearing that Graswald may have miscarried a baby during an interrogation. He also claimed that his client asked investigators who “Miranda” was after she was read her Miranda rights, according to The Associated Press.

Sources:

Trial is set for February 14, 2017.

See also “Death on the Hudson“, 48 hours, Sep 12, 2015.

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News

July 24, 2017 Plea deal agreed  According to her attorney, Richard Portale, Graswald “will be home in December.”

 

Charles Johnson and Larod Styles

In July 2016, Cook County Judge Domenica A. Stephenson vacated the murder convictions of Charles Johnson, 39, and Larod Styles, 36, who, as teenagers, received life sentences in the December 1995 deaths of Yousef Ali and Khalid Ibrahim. Both men were fatally shot during a robbery at Elegant Auto Sales at 75th and Western.

After eight years of legal wrangling, which included an appellate court decision in their favor, attorneys representing the men said the day would not be possible if Illinois weren’t the only state in the nation to allow post-conviction fingerprint testing for defendants.

Matching fingerprints were found on a car at the used car lot and on the adhesive side of a price sticker that was torn off of one of two cars that was stolen from the lot, said defense attorney Steven Drizin, of Northwestern University’s Center On Wrongful Convictions.

The same prints were also found on the stolen cars themselves — which were abandoned about five miles from the crime scene. And the kicker, defense attorneys claim, is the fact that the fingerprints, when run through a law enforcement data base that was not available to detectives at the time of the original investigation, returned a match: a man with a lengthy criminal record who lives a short walk from where the stolen cars were found. According to a source, the man has since been interviewed by investigators.

“We are here today because we were able to use that database to not only exclude our clients . . . but to match those fingerprints to one person in particular who has nothing to do with our clients,” said Drizin, who discounted confessions the men gave to police.

In September 2016, Charles Johnson was freed on $50,000 bond, Styles was unable to post bond. Cook County prosecutors said they will retry both Johnson and Styles.

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February 15, 2017 Charges Dropped

Timothy Madden

15319059_1499219683440735_8612164607407244258_nTimothy Madden was accused of raping and murdering 7-year-old Gabbi Doolin during a little league football game in Scottsville, Kentucky, on November 14, 2015. Timothy was arrested on November 20, and says he is innocent. The commonwealth is seeking the death penalty.

According to reports, there is DNA evidence linking Timothy to the crime, however no details are available, and an anonymous report suggests the DNA may not in fact have matched, and KSP was under “undue pressure to find a suspect” and “may have rushed to judgement”:

frankfort

Timothy appears to be an unlikely suspect, being married with five children, and had been caring for his wife who has a serious illness. In an interview he says the charges are bogus and he was accused on the basis of gossip. He says his young daughter knew Gabbi, he was  at the game, and “my son was playing football, and my little daughter was there with us too”.

In July 2016, two motions were discussed in court, one to limit pre-trial publicity, and another to test remaining evidence in the case. A computer and a cell phone are finishing being tested, but both sides in the case are asking for the rest of the DNA at the KSP crime lab to be run. Timothy’s attorney stated “Mr. Madden has not changed anything he has said”. — Timothy Madden makes first court appearance in 6 months.

At a hearing in December 2016, it was reported that DNA testing may not be completed until June 2017, and a trial was not expected before January 2018. Other deadlines and dates set were:
March 31, 2017 – Change of venue request deadline
April 28, 2017 – Response deadline
May 26, 2017 – Reply date, evidence suppression request deadline
January 2018 – Trial could begin

Discussion

Update: Sep 2017 From Questions linger as ‘horrendous’ murder of 7-year-old heads to trial ( has video ):

Defense attorney Travis Lock claims police, desperate to solve a horrific, high-profile case quickly as possible, focused on Madden – a former construction worker with no history of violence or sexual misconduct — at the exclusion of more likely suspects.

For starters, Lock said in a court hearing that, despite what police said, there is no evidence that Madden’s jeans, jacket, belt and boots were stained with blood.

In addition, Lock said in an interview, the clothing Madden wore that night did not appear dirty or damp even though Gabbi’s body was found in a creek, in a wooded area wet with mud and leaves.

“Whoever committed this crime was on the forest floor, in November at night, committing heinous acts on a child,” Lock said in an interview.

No witnesses say they saw Madden with Gabbi and some people identified a different man with a long beard and brown coat as acting suspicious and being “out of place.”

Some of the children with Gabbi that night described seeing the same man, according to a court document.

One child told police she saw a little girl wearing pink being carried off by the man, according to the document.

Some of these witnesses were shown a photo of Madden but did not identify him as being the man they saw, Lock said.

And during part of the time Gabbi was missing, Madden sent several text messages with pictures of the game to his wife and the mother of his child who was playing, Lock said. He also made a phone call during that time.

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Note: in view of evidence disclosed here

https://www.wbko.com/content/news/Sentencing-for-Timothy-Madden-begins-in-Allen-County-563706761.html

this is no longer an adopted case.

 

 

 

 

Todd Kendhammer

Todd Kendhammer was accused of murdering  his wife Barbara, who died on 17 September 2016. The previous day deputies responded to a crash on County Road M near Bergum Coulee Road around 8:10 a.m. where they found Kendhammer and his wife Barbara. Todd Kendhammer told investigators they were headed north when a pipe fell from a southbound truck and went through the windshield striking Barbara.

Todd was arrested nearly three months later on 6 December, on what appears to be very weak circumstantial evidence. Authorities suggested that Barbara’s injuries were inconsistent with the pipe coming through the windscreen, citing healing abrasions and contusions on bilateral hands and irregular torn fingernail margins on two fingers, that the windscreen had been struck more than once, and some confusion over Todd’s statements that he was on his way to pick up a truck that he was going to repair.

For this apparent accident to be murder, Todd would have to have first rendered his wife unconscious, then carried out an elaborate staging to make it appear to be an accident, but without causing immediate death – which makes very little sense.

According to a report, the family does not believe he is responsible for his wife’s death.

News Report

News

December 17, 2016 Released from jail after posting $250,000 bond

58541b430b2b5-image

Re the windscreen damage, it’s interesting to compare a report dated 17 December by Anne Jungen which stated :

“A crime lab analyst also found at least four impact points to two areas of the windshield: two inflicted from the inside and one from the outside that damaged the glass before the pipe penetrated the windshield, according to the complaint.”

with complaint ( see this report by Molly Prescott, wxow.com ) where there is no mention of “two inflicted from the inside and one from the outside”, although it does state that the windscreen bulged outward.

complaintwindscreen

Discussion

 

 

 

 

 

Patrick Pursley

Patrick Pursley was convicted of a 1993 murder, based on unreliable key witness testimony, jailhouse informants, and faulty forensic science.

At trial, the State’s expert concluded that the bullets and cartridges recovered from the crime scene were fired from a gun linked to Pursley “to the exclusion of all other firearms.” However the State’s expert has now admitted that he was wrong, and a defense expert has found that neither the cartridges nor the bullets recovered from the crime came from the gun linked to Pursley. On April 19, 2016 Pursley was granted an evidentiary hearing.

Sources:

http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictions/exonerations/waiting-for-justice/

http://www.jiwc.org/our-cases/patrick-pursley/

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News

March 3, 2017 New trial granted

April 13, 2017 Bond Set “A man who has been in prison for 23 years for murder will be released to await a new trial when $5,000 is paid on a $50,000 bond that Judge Joseph McGraw set today.”

Update: 16 January, 2019 Patrick Pursley found not guilty in murder retrial

 

 

Rodricus Crawford

Rodricus Crawford was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death.

On February 16, 2012, something truly terrible happened that could only be described as any parent’s worst nightmare. Rodricus Crawford, a young father in Caddo Parish, Louisiana woke up and noticed that his son, Roderius, who had just turned one a week earlier, was lifeless.

Rodricus, who was sleeping on the pullout couch, immediately yelled out for help. An uncle called 911. Various family members took turns performing CPR and it seemed like nothing they were doing was making one bit of difference.

When the EMTs showed up, they refused to allow Rodricus to get in the ambulance with the baby and were slow to leave. It had already taken far too long for them to get there. They were so disrespectful to the family that it caused a stir there in the community. Within minutes, police arrived. Thinking they might take Rodricus to the hospital, they instead arrested him and took him to the jail. His only son had died and instead of comforting him as the grieving father that he was, he was interrogated and harassed.

Not a single soul in his family believed Rodricus Crawford killed his son. When police called in the boy’s mother, who lived a few doors down, for questioning, she didn’t believe it either. Rodricus loved the boy with his whole heart — everybody in the community knew that. No motive existed.

Over the next year, what unfolded in Louisiana, under the leadership of its then-Acting District Attorney Dale Cox, was like a bad movie. With no motive and no witnesses, Rodricus Crawford was charged and convicted of murdering his son. Black jurors were routinely struck from the jury pool. Even though an expert testified that the young boy likely died of complications to undiagnosed sepsis and pneumonia, which the family thought was just a small cold, Cox was convinced, in part due to a pathologist’s report, that Rodricus had deliberately smothered him to death.

A cut on the boy’s lip, which multiple family members testified was caused by a recent fall in the bathroom, was used as the justification of the smothering claim. Anybody who has ever had children knows far too well how often kids fall and hurt themselves, but it was completely ignored.

Crawford’s first appeal was denied by the Supreme Court of Louisiana on November 14, 2014. In November 2016, the Louisiana Supreme Court overturned the conviction. Four medical experts submitted reports indicating that his son had died of pneumonia. The baby’s blood had tested positive for sepsis, which can be fatal for young children. One judge wrote: “No rational trier of fact could have concluded that the State presented sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had the specific intent to kill his one-year-old son,”

Sources: New York Daily News, November 18, 2016The New Yorker, November 23, 2016

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April 19, 2017 : charged dropped.

 

Jeromy Poirier

14915018_240836962998118_942807992_nJeromy Poirier was falsely accused of sexually abusing his 2 1/2 year old daughter during a custody battle with cps by his wife’s parents.

Jeromy’s mother-in-laws sister worked as a case worker for cps and told them what his 2 1/2 year little girl needed to say to ensure victory.

Jeromy’s wife Cailey witnessed her maternal family coaching their daughter and when she stood up for the right thing, parents and aunt had their corrupt cps friend remove Jeromy and Cailey’s daughter, Marlie from both of them. They did this so that they could coach and brainwash her to say her daddy did things to her. They have even told Marlie that her daddy and mommy are dead and are in heaven.

Denton, TX CPS amended their petition to claim Jeromy and Cailey’s second daughter was born in Denton county when she was not, and it was not even their jurisdiction, but the judge looked over all of this and let Jeromy’s in-laws and the corrupt cps caseworker do whatever they wanted.

Jeromy has taken a polygraph with honest results. His daughter was taken to a children’s hospital immediately after the “outcry”, there were no signs of sexual abuse.

His in-laws waited an entire year after the false allegations were made to take the daughter for a forensic interview with the police, in which no outcry was made. They ended up taking her back for a second forensic interview where supposedly they had her make an outcry at that point.

A whole year passed after this point and the criminal investigation was suppose to be closed. Two years after the false allegations were made, Jeromy was arrested.

Jeromy and Cailey both tried to assist the detective in charge at the start of the case, and he would not speak to them at any point.

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Update June 16, 2018 : the grand jury “no billed” the case, meaning that they did not find sufficient evidence for the case to proceed, so there will be no trial.

 

Vanessa Cameron

Vanessa Cameron was convicted of murder of her son’s father in 2012. She was sentenced to 70 years. There was no physical evidence. Just a false confession from Vanessa and the testimony of the co-defendant Lakisha Brown. The alleged shooter was acquitted of murder. The real shooter plead guilty and received 25 years. The real shooter is Vanessa’s older sister Susan Sutton. All facts of the case can be read on www.freevanessa.com.

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Lamonte McIntyre

17 year old Lamonte McIntyre was wrongfully imprisoned for a 1994 double murder. Attorney Cheryl Pilate is fighting to exonerate Lamonte with the help of Centurion Ministries, a national innocence project that fights to free the wrongfully convicted.

At trial, there was no gun, no motive, no evidence that McIntyre knew the victims. No fingerprints from the shotgun shell casings left at the scene. No blood-spattered shoes, socks, pants or shirt. No physical evidence of any kind linking McIntyre to the crime.

There were two eyewitnesses to the murder. Ruby Mitchell told police she thought it was “Lamonte something” – who would come by to talk to her niece. This led the police to Lamonte Mcintyre, however he was not the person she was referring to. When Mitchell informed the prosecutor, he threatened to have her children taken away.

The other witness Niko Quinn has now signed an affidavit stating that McIntyre was not the killer.

Pilate, in her recently filed motion, maintains that lead detective Golubski manipulated facts and witnesses leading to the false identification of McIntyre. She maintains that throughout the investigation and trial, two chief players — the lead detective and an assistant Wyandotte County prosecutor — not only “failed to seek the truth” but also “consistently subverted and concealed the truth — manufacturing evidence and presenting testimony that they knew to be false.”

More than 15 affidavits — from criminals and their cronies to police — point to the detective, Roger Golubski, who retired as a captain in 2010 after 35 years on the force. Using terms like “crooked” and “dirty,” the sworn statements speak of a detective who preyed on black women, some of them prostitutes, using his access to illegal drugs and the power of his badge.

Full Article and Video  Here Oct 25, 2016

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October 13, 2107 DA agrees motion for new trial and drops charges.

 

Joseph Buffey

In 2002, Innocence Project client Joseph Buffey pleaded guilty to the rape and robbery of an elderly woman in Harrison County, West Virginia.

Six weeks prior to the final plea hearing, the state crime lab completed DNA testing that excluded Buffey as the perpetrator—but prosecutors never gave the report to either Buffey or his lawyer.

In 2012 when lawyers won the right to retest the DNA found inside the victim, the results produced a match, but it wasn’t Buffey’s. It belonged to a man named Adam Bowers who was 16 at the time of the attack and lived a few blocks from the victim.Bowers was found guilty in May of 2013 but, instead of releasing Buffey, prosecutors argued that Bowers and Buffey both committed the crime, despite the victims’s testimony that she was attacked by only one man.

Buffey  was told he would likely receive a 15-year sentence, but if he didn’t confess he could get 300 years. When the sentence was handed down, it was a crushing blow: 70 to 110 years in a tiny prison cell.

Buffey confessed that he “broke into this old lady’s house” after nine hours of interrogations without food. Within minutes he took it back but it was too late. “You really want to know the truth?” the 19-year-old can be heard saying on tape. “I didn’t do it. I made up a story (because you were) breathing down my neck, telling me I did it.”

Starting on October 11th, 2016, a team of West Virginia and Innocence Project lawyers will be in court with Buffey, backed by science and the facts of the case, to fight for the verdict he deserves: not guilty.

Sources: Jan 2016 news report | Innocence Project

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Arturo Reyes and Gabriel Solache

Imprisoned since 2000, Arturo Reyes and Gabriel Solache are serving life sentences stemming from a bizarre case in which a couple was murdered and their two young children abducted. Reyes and Solache were arrested when they brought the children to a police station after learning their identities from a news broadcast. They were held for two days, one arm handcuffed to a wall.

Their housemate, Adriana Mejia, pled guilty to the crimes (she’s also serving a life sentence) after the victims’ blood was found on her shoes, and under questioning from Guevara she implicated Reyes, who then named Solache as an accomplice.

No physical evidence linked Reyes or Solache to the crime.

Both Reyes and Solache testified at their trial that they confessed only after sustained beatings by Guevara. Reyes said the detective would slap him every time he didn’t like an answer Reyes gave; Solache said beatings to his head caused him to lose his hearing in one ear. In a pretrial hearing, Mejia testified that she saw Guevara slap Solache; Guevara denied any physical abuse took place.

In 2003 the two men filed post-conviction petitions which were dismissed by the trial judge, but in 2006 an appeals court reversed that decision, ruling that new evidence of a pattern of abuse by Guevera added credibility to their claims of coerced confessions.

An amended petition filed in 2008 on Solache’s behalf by Northwestern’s Center on Wrongful Convictions laid out dozens of cases of misconduct by Guevara that had come to light in the intervening years, including a distinct pattern of manipulating witnesses and coercing confessions to win convictions in murder cases where no physical evidence existed.  The state moved to dismiss the petition, and another round of legal wrangling took place.

Finally in February 2013 an evidentiary hearing began (it stretched over two years) on their petition for post-conviction relief.  The defense presented witnesses and testimony from other cases spelling out 20 instances of Guevara’s misconduct, including the testimony of a retired detective who said he told his supervisor that Guevara had manipulated a photo array.  A murder charge in that case was subsequently dropped.

Guevara was called to the stand but refused to testify, taking the Fifth Amendment dozens of times.  That’s a problem, as Circuit Court Judge James M. Obbish noted in his June 29 ruling, since it left every credible allegation against him unrebutted.

Source

Proposal Post

December 22, 2017 Case Dismissed