Juan Corona was framed by Edward Wayne Edwards and John Gotti for the murders of 25 migrant farm workers found buried in shallow graves in peach orchards along the Feather River in Sutter County, California, in 1971. ( Two trials ) Juan died in prison, March 2019.
Gerald Green was shot four times and robbed by a man who requested a ride from him.
Green did not identify Boone as his assailant in three photo lineups, and it was not until a fourth lineup that Green identified Boone as the man who shot him.
At trial, Brain Hoover testified that he heard the gunshots and saw a man, not Boone, running away from the area of the shooting.
The jury did not hear from four other witnesses who testified at a post-conviction hearing that another man, of similar appearance to Boone, was likely responsible for the shootings.
In June 1997, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the denial of Boone’s request for a new trial following the post-conviction hearing.
Subsequently the Wisconsin Innocence Project took up the case and filed motions for DNA tests to be performed which could establish Boone’s innocence.
Jurors deliberated for three hours before finding George Fleshman, Jr., guilty of 2nd Degree Murder, stemming from the death of his wife in 2015, according to Jackson Co. Attorney Shawnee Miller.
Fleshman, who had been free on bond, was taken to the Jackson Co. Jail and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 12, 2018, Miller added.
Fleshman’s wife Elizabeth died on October 21, 2015, the day after her husband called 911 and said he found her unresponsive. Mrs. Fleshman was rushed to a Topeka hospital where she later died.
The Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office said it opened an investigation because of the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death. An autopsy found she died because of a trauma to her spleen.
Source: News Report
John Bernard Feit, 85, was convicted in December 2017 for the murder of 25-year-old beauty queen schoolteacher Irene Garza in McAllen, Texas.
Garza disappeared April 16, 1960. Her bludgeoned body was found days later. An autopsy revealed she had been raped while unconscious, beaten and suffocated.
Link to Edward Wayne Edwards:
The crime was at Easter, the victim was found in water with two altar candles laid across her chest. Signed by the cross. Anonymous letters targeting a priest and an item owned by the priest planted at the scene. Edwards was 27, on parole from Montana. He mentions the candles in his autobiography. He killed the couple on Lovers lane in Portland on thanksgiving, 1960. (JAC)
Vernon Bateman was accused, with two others, of holding a woman at gunpoint in the early morning hours of January 23, 1998, and sexually assaulting her.
However (according to a petition) the Doctor who examined her could find no signs to confirm her story, and the rape kit was mysteriously lost.
The woman initially failed to attend court in September 1998, but after a continuance was granted, did eventually identify Vernon as one of her assailants.
Following the trial, the woman gave a taped statement, gave a sworn statement, and wrote a letter to the Lake County Prosecutor, in each of which she recanted her trial testimony and indicated that she could not positively identify Bateman as one of the men who raped her and that Corporal Mary Banks had coached her into selecting his picture from the photo array. However the woman re-affirmed her identification in 2008 at an evidentiary hearing, saying that she lied in her statement to Vernon’s PCR counsel.
Bobby Montague was wrongly convicted of a 1999 murder based on informant testimony and a false confession. Bobby, age 18, was with his girlfriend at the time of the crime.
According to an appeal ruling, the defense argued that “the trial court erroneously admitted his confession in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, refused to instruct the jury it could request read back of testimony, admitted anonymous handwritten rap lyrics and a photograph album found in appellant’s room. He also argues the prosecutor’s late disclosures of a witness’s background as a police informant violated appellant’s constitutional and statutory discovery rights”, however the appeal was denied.
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.
Amber Hilberling admitted to pushing her husband, an Air Force veteran, out of their 17th-floor apartment in Tulsa during an argument in June 2011.
But she claimed in court she did not intend to kill him, and blamed his fatal fall on “dangerously unsafe” window glass that was too weak to stop his plunge.
Amber, who was seven months pregnant when her husband died, cited self-defense and even rejected a plea deal that would have given her only five years behind bars.
But a jury convicted her of second-degree murder in 2013, after only three hours of deliberation. A judge sentenced her to 25 years in prison.
Amber still stuck by her self-defense claim, repeating it in a televised prison interview with Dr. Phil.
“There was an altercation in which I defended myself,” she told Dr. Phil, adding that her husband flew into a rage after she called him a coward.
She also claimed in the interview that her husband abused her through their 11-month marriage, and she always kept quiet about it.
“I was really good at lying,” Hilberling said.
“That was our relationship: Josh getting in trouble over and over again and me saying, ‘Oh, no, it’s not his fault. That’s my fault. I did that.’
In October 2016, Amber committed suicide in her prison cell.
In January 2017, Kenneth Lee Hopkins, 27, was found guilty by a jury in the murder of 19-year-old Marshay Wesson and her unborn son. Wesson was found shot multiple times in her car while waiting on Hopkins near East 28th Street North and North Wheeling Ave in June 2012. She was eight-and-a-half months pregnant.
Prosecutors closed with arguments that Wesson was calling Hopkins right up until the moments before she was shot multiple times.
Hopkins’ attorneys said their client didn’t kill anyone and said the murder weapon was found in another man’s car.
On August 23, 2006, Cyril Smith was charged in nine counts with narcotics trafficking and the drug-related contract murders of Sanford Malone, Jamal Kitt, and Terrence Celestine in the Bronx, New York.
The jury trial was from May 14, 2007 to May 30, 2007. Cyril was convicted on eight counts, and acquitted on count four, which was killing Kitt while engaged in drug trafficking, nevertheless he was convicted of killing Kitt through the use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
The State’s case ( from Governments-response-to-appeal-2011 ) is that Cyril murdered Jamal Kitt and Terrence Celestine three weeks apart in July 1998, using the same nine-millimeter semi-automatic pistol, at the behest of Bronx drug dealer Edgardo Colon, who wanted Kitt and Celestine dead because they were interfering with Colon’s drug business. Colon solicited Cyril to commit the murders by promising to give Cyril drugs to sell on his own. Cyril committed both crimes with his close associate Rafael Ramos, who testified about the murders and the conflicts giving rise to them under his cooperation agreement.
An issue is that Ramos’s account of the murder of Kitt on July 5, 1998, was contradicted by Keisha Lespierre, Kitt’s girlfriend at the time of his death, who testified that the person who shot Kitt was a light-skinned Spanish man, and not the Spanish man’s black companion.
The murder of Celestine was on July 30, 1998. A ballistics expert testified that the 9mm shell casings were fired from the same gun as those recovered from the scene of the Kitt murder. According to Charisma Adderley, Cyril admitted to her that he shot Celestine a few days later.
Sanford Malone, who was shot to death on February 14, 2000, was the leader of a large-scale retail drug organization. Two other people were seriously injured. The State alleges that Cyril killed Malone on behalf of Edwin Avilez who was the leader of a competing retail drug organization; and Charisma Adderley assisted Cyril in carrying out the murder, which was solicited and procured by Avilez and Ramos.
According to supporters, police questioned Adderley three times about the murders and she said she knew nothing, only after police told her they would take her kids and lock her up did she say what they wanted her to say, and Charisma recently apologized to Cyril’s mother at a parade in New York.
Further, according to a review of the transcript by “AC4L”, the three principle witnesses Ramos, Adderley and Avilez were all coerced and/or impeached.
[ Post under development]
- Governments-response-to-appeal-2011 Describes the alleged crimes.
John Pecoraro was convicted of murdering Jimmy Ray Christian on December 6, 1982, and sentenced to death ( in 2011 Illinois abolished the death penalty, and sentences were commuted to life imprisonment ).
John was convicted on the basis of an unsigned confession, which he denies he made, and witnesses who may have had an incentive to lie.
According to a review in The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (see below), the State did not disclose information about a third person who allegedly confessed to the killing, and failed to disclose a promise of leniency it made to a witness, in exchange for cooperation.
* The review ( source ) titled “When exculpatory evidence never makes it to defendant”
Reading the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in People v. John Pecoraro, No.78457 (Feb.6), one gets the distinct impression that the defendant got more vengeance than justice in his litigation.
In Pecoraro, the high court found that the state’s failure to disclose information about a third person who allegedly confessed to the killing – a killing for which the defendant received the death penalty – did not constitute a violation of Brady v.Maryland, 373 U.S. 83,10 L.Ed.2d 215, 83 S.Ct.1194 (1963), and its progeny. The court also found that the state’s failure to disclose a promise of leniency it made to a witness, in exchange for cooperation, did not impair the defense – since the defense had discovered different helpful information on its own. The Supreme Court reasoned that because the defendant did not allege or prove that the witness had testified falsely at trial, no harm had been done.
To justify its ruling regarding the harmlessness of the failure to disclose the statement by the third party, who had admitted to committing the crime, the court discussed the admissibility of that third party’s statement under established rules of evidence. In doing so, the high court reviewed the several predicates for the admissibility of a hearsay statement by a third party who admits to committing a crime, as set forth in Chambers v.Mississippi, 410 U.S.284,35 L.Ed.2d297,93 S.Ct.1038 (1973), and the court determined that the statement would have been inadmissible hearsay – thus not causing harmful error.
In regard to the state’s failure to disclose its promise of leniency to the cooperating witness, the court reasoned that no harm had been done since that information would have been of little help to the defense in light of all the other impeachment evidence the defense had acquired on its own. The court thus found that the state’s failure to disclose the additional impeachment material was harmless to the defendant’s case.
With all due respect for our Supreme Court, it appears this ruling either shows a callous indifference to procedural due process and the right to counsel or lack of common sense. Surely our state’s highest court knows that a defense attorney’s efforts are not limited to the four corners of the discovery information received from the state.
If the state discloses the name of a witness who claims to have committed the crime for which one’s client stands accused, a competent defense attorney would usually hire an investigator and try to obtain admissible evidence showing that the declarant – not the accused – committed the crime in question. Furthermore, an effective defense team might be able to convince the declarant to testify – in which case there would be no hearsay problem. But if the state is allowed to hide exculpatory information from the defense, investigation opportunities can be destroyed before they can ever begin. In essence, the state would be able to deny an accused the assistance of counsel by simply hiding exculpatory material.
Note that in U.S. v. Bagley, 473 U.S.667 (1985), the U.S. Supreme Court held that, regardless of whether information is requested by the accused, favourable evidence is material, and constitutional error results from its suppression by the government if suppression adversely affects an outcome.
With regard to the state’s failure to disclose the deal it had with one of its witnesses, and the Pecoraro court’s finding that the lack of disclosure was harmless in light of other impeachment information, how would the court have ruled had a defendant asked that the state not be allowed to introduce cumulative evidence?
For instance, if this defendant had been willing to stipulate to the cause of death in his murder case, would the court have barred the state from offering gory autopsy photos? Probably not.
The Supreme Court frequently has ruled that a party trying to prove a point has the right to present all of its evidence – including gory autopsy photos. People v. LeMay, 35Ill.2d 208, 220 N.E.2d 194 (1966). In the instant case, the defendant was trying to prove that a key witness for the state was not credible. The defense should have been allowed to present all of the evidence it had on the credibility issue – including any deals the witness had with the state.
Jonathan Silva was convicted in November 2008 of felony murder, attempted armed robbery, tampering with evidence and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after 53-year-old Virginia Land was shot during a robbery attempt by two teenagers in November 2011 at a store in Lovington, New Mexico. He was sentenced to life in prison plus four and a half years.
According to an appeal ruling:
Store clerk Virginia Land was shot and killed in the Allsup’s convenience store in Lovington. New Mexico. Jonathan Silva and Juan Nava picked up Joshua G. and Israel Marquez from a residence and dropped them off near an alley, and Child and Marquez walked over to the Allsup’s. Joshua G. was armed with a knife and entered the store with Marquez, who was armed with a shotgun. Marquez demanded money from the clerk, and when she refused, he shot her.
The teenagers were convicted or plead guilty to charges. One of them testified that Silva planned the robbery and supplied the shotgun used to kill Land, however he has now stated in an affidavit that Jonathan did not supply the gun, was not the “mastermind”, was not in their gang (contrary apparently to a claim by the prosecution) , and did not force the teenagers to commit the crime.
I, Joshua G., being first duly sworned according to the Law, present the following facts:
On Nov 6 2008, I Joshua G was called to testify on Joanathan Silva for the murder of Virginia Land. I was crossed examined by his Attorney. I was asked many questions, I was asked “If Jonathan Silva told me and Israel about the clerk or the terms “shoot the bitch” if she refused to give us the money”. Mr Silva never said this. Those statements were made by me earlier in the day. I was also asked a question about the “gun and the ammo”. The gun was given to us by 2 other guys one of which is serving time for the crime Juan Nava. Jonathan Silva never gave the gun or ammo to me or Israel.
It was also stated that Jonathan “made” us do this to establish loyalties for our gangs, or sets. Mr Silva is not from my gang, and Jonathan, did not make or force me or Israel to do anything. It was something that just happened. Mr. Silva was not the mastermind of the robbery or murder, no one was suppose to be shot or killed. Jonathan was just transportation.
I Joshua, am sorry for what has happened, and all the pain we’ve caused. Also for the loss of a innocent life that was taken. “I do this on my own free well”!
Joseph Nissensohn was convicted in 2013 of the 1981 murders of Tammy Jarschke, 13, and Tanya Jones, 14, along with the 1989 murder of a South Lake Tahoe girl, 15-year-old Kathy Graves.
On Sept. 9, 1981, a team of woodcutters found Tanya’s decomposed body tied with electrical wire to a tree about a mile off Tassajara Road on Chews Ridge, Monterey County, California. Sheriff’s deputies combing the area for evidence found Tammy’s remains nearby.
Nine years later, Nissensohn’s estranged wife, Cheryl Rose, showed up in a Florida battered women’s shelter. She told police her husband had killed a woman in Tacoma, Wash. She agreed to testify in exchange for immunity. The next year, Nissensohn was convicted of killing Sally Jo Tsaggaris, 46, during drug-fueled, bondage-style sex in a van.
Rose testified that she believed Nissensohn was responsible for many earlier murders, including two in Oklahoma and one in Nevada. She described the disappearance of Kathy Graves in South Lake Tahoe three months after the Tacoma murder.
Rose also told investigators about a killing that matched details of the Chews Ridge slayings. Nissensohn was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the Tacoma murder, but in 2008, after serving 15 years, he was about to be let out with credits for good behavior.
Monterey and South Lake Tahoe’s El Dorado County filed charges and combined all three murders to be tried at the same time. Authorities found Jessie Prieto, Nissensohn’s best friend. Prieto agreed to cooperate and said he and his friend were with Tammy and Tanya on June 25, 1981, and that Nissensohn told him he wanted to take the girls to Chews Ridge and rape them. But Prieto died before the case ever made it to trial. Cheryl Rose, who was in poor health, was barely able to testify in a 2010 preliminary hearing, and died five months later. However, prosecutor Dale Gomes was able to submit Rose’s testimony transcript as evidence at trial. A jailhouse informant informant testified that Nissensohn confessed to killing Tammy and Tanya.
Just before Nissensohn was sentenced in 1991, he contacted police, and told them in an interview that he did not kill Sally Jo Tsaggaris or Kathy Graves, claiming that his wife, Cheryl Rose, killed them, and he just hid the body of Tsaggaris. The long interview, which was taped, was played for the jury. Nissensohn told two offices that he was a scapegoat for Rose, who had killed Sally. He only helped get rid of the body, he said. The first murder trial was a conspiracy against him, he said, involving Rose, who testified in exchange for immunity, and his defense counsel, who offered no defense and simply rested their case without so much as calling a witness. Because he was about to be sentenced and likely extradited to California for the murder of Graves, he wanted to strike a deal himself. Nissensohn said on the tape that he met Rose in a motel and of their wild life of drugs and sex, with Rose bringing home “beautiful women” to “party” with and play “sexual games,” while he brought in drugs. One day, he came back from getting drugs to find Tsaggaris stabbed to death, but didn’t go to the police. Instead, he helped get rid of the body. “I know Cheryl did it,” Nissensohn said on the tape. “I came back to that van and that girl was dead. Cheryl did it. I had nothing to worry about … I sat there and heard it for a day and a half after my lawyer stuck it to me by going, ‘Defense rests.’ Guilty of second-degree murder. And all I did was help get rid of the body. Guilty of second-degree murder. I didn’t do it.
The defense called a witness who testified that her ex-husband killed Tammy and Tanya.
The defense called Brian Jarvis of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to the stand. Jarvis, now retired, was part of interviews with Rose, which were played via audio and shown on video. Though the interviews from 1990 were nearly unintelligible, the jury was provided a transcript, and Jarvis was questioned after each segment.
The defense asked questions concerning answers Rose had given, showing she changed answers over time. Between the 1990 interviews and a 2007 interview, she changed her story of the last time she saw Kathy Graves, a South Lake Tahoe teenager Nissensohn is accused of killing. First, she said she saw the girl leaving to hitchhike to find a job; then, she last saw the girl as Nissensohn led her into the hills of the forest, after they had stopped their van. Nissensohn allegedly wanted sex, and when denied by the girl, killed her.
She also changed her story of what Nissensohn had carried into the woods. Originally, she said it was a quilt. Then, she changed her story to a bag of sex toys that also had a kitchen knife — what she said Nissensohn used to kill Graves and Tsaggaris.
Timothy 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”:
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
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.
Note: in view of evidence disclosed here
this is no longer an adopted case.
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.
December 17, 2016 Released from jail after posting $250,000 bond
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 ) 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.
On March 14, 1995, Warren Horinek called 911, claiming his wife Bonnie had shot herself. When paramedics arrived, they found Bonnie dead. She was lying on the couple’s bed with a gunshot wound to the chest. Warren was frantically administering CPR. On the bed next to Bonnie’s body was a .38 revolver and a shotgun. There was no sign of a break in. Police quickly narrowed the possible scenarios: Either Bonnie had committed suicide or Warren had murdered her. Warren claimed from the beginning that Bonnie had killed herself.
The people normally responsible for prosecuting a murder came to believe that Warren was telling the truth. The crime scene investigator, the homicide sergeant, the medical examiner and the assistant DA assigned to prosecute the case all became convinced that the evidence pointed to suicide.
“I always thought that it was suicide,” Mike Parrish, the prosecutor handling the case, told the Observer last year. “Still do.”
Bonnie’s parents chose to hire a private attorney, who, through a quirk in the law, obtained a grand jury indictment of Horinek. That led to a bizarre trial. Everyone trying to convict Warren was in private practice, and the agents of the state—crime scene investigator, homicide sergeant and assistant DA—all testified for the defense.
It seemed Warren was headed for acquittal until the testimony of the prosecution’s final witness—a blood spatter expert from Oklahoma named Tom Bevel. He testified that the small spots of blood found on Warren’s t-shirt the night of Bonnie’s death were certainly the result of blood spatter form a gunshot. He said the spatter proved Warren had fired a gun the night of the murder.
It was Bevel’s blood spatter testimony that led to Warren’s conviction.
The problem is Bevel may well have been wrong. Several nationally known blood spatter experts have examined the Horinek case and strongly believe the blood spots resulted from Warren administering CPR to Bonnie. They say the key forensic evidence that sent Warren to prison is flawed.
Shan Carter robbed a drug dealer, and following an outbreak of violence related to this robbery was convicted of three 1997 murders and sentenced to death. However the truth may be that:
- Shan is completely innocent of the kidnapping and murder of drug dealer Donald Brunson.
- Shan was acting in self-defense when he shot at drug dealer Tyrone Baker and possibly killed him.
- Shan may have been responsible for the accidental and inadvertent death of Demetrius Green, an 8 year-old boy who was sitting in a car when struck by a ricocheting bullet.
[ Case description to come ]
A former death row inmate may soon be free, thanks to the efforts of Oklahoma’s NAACP director.
The state Pardon and Parole Board recommended a parole to Colorado for Oran Jones, who at one time faced the electric chair for the 1974 robbery-slaying of an Oklahoma City motel owner.
Parole board members were set to deny clemency for Jones until the Rev. Wade Watts of McAlester testified on his behalf Thursday.
Before hearing Watts’ remarks, one board member even interrupted an Oklahoma County prosecutor’s objection of Jones’ clemency bid, saying the protest wasn’t necessary.
“I had him marked ‘no’ originally,” said Carl Hamm, the board’s vice chairman. “Reverend Watts was what influenced me. ” Watts said Monday, “I have kept up with this boy for several years. All the guards have spoken very highly of him. They say not only has he never caused any problems, he’s actually kept trouble down. ” Jones, 41, is part of a prison group that speaks to youth groups and tries to steer them away from lives of crime, said Watts, who is the state’s executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Watts said he has spoken before the parole board on behalf of “a dozen or more” inmates, “and only one has turned out bad. ” He also said he had doubts about Jones’ conviction for the slaying of Ealam Stanley at a motel in the 2100 block of NE 23.
The court transcript showed that Jones accepted an immunity offer to testify against another suspect, then was charged with first-degree murder anyway, Watts said.
“I think he was there (at the motel), but I don’t think he was the triggerman,” Watts said. “If I thought deep down that he was guilty, I wouldn’t have gone to bat for him. ” Jones was among several Oklahoma inmates whose sentences were modified to life a year after the U.S. Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional.
A parole board official said it was the first time in several years that clemency had been recommended for a former death row inmate.
The board voted 3-1 Friday to approve a parole only to Colorado after a family member from the Denver area said Jones could live with her.
Colorado officials have not said whether they will accept Jones’ plan, said Jerry Massie, Oklahoma corrections department spokesman.
Rachel Moore is serving a life sentence in Mississippi for shooting her abusive husband.
After Rachel’s husband beat her one evening, she grabbed a shotgun. She fired a warning shot into the air and gave him several verbal warnings to stay away from her. When he continued to approach her, she shot him.