Category Archives: Crime-Committed-By-Other(s)

Bryan Anthony Adams

On August 7, 2013, Floyd Myers reported he and his friend, John Hamlett, were victims of an armed robbery at a park by two men. He claimed his car was taken. Police found the car the same day two miles away, drug paraphernalia was found inside the vehicle.

A partial fingerprint was found on the steering wheel of the vehicle, and was matched to Bryan Adams, who was interviewed by police on September 18, 2013. Bryan was unable to remember what he was doing that day, but was positive he had not been at the park on the day in question, had never been in Myers’ vehicle, and, further, did not drive, as he did not have a license.

At trial, Myers testified that he did not recognize Adams as the man who robbed him, nor had he seen the assailant who confronted Hamlett during the subject robbery. Hamlett did not turn up to testify.

The defense failed to vigorously challenge the reliability of the fingerprint identification.

Solely on the basis of the partial fingerprint match, Bryan was convicted and sentenced to consecutive sentences of 20 years for armed carjacking and 20 years imprisonment, all but ten years suspended, for the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony, as well as a concurrent sentence of 15 years for the robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Source: Ruling denying an appeal.

Transcripts

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Brenda Fay Nelson

Brenda Nelson was convicted of the murder of her husband.

No murder weapon was ever found, and neither was the supposed trigger man identified. Brenda maintains her innocence. The case was entirely circumstantial, and no forensic or eyewitness evidence connects Brenda to the murder.

Police claim that cellphone evidence placed her at the scene, but the cell phone tower covers a wide area. An alternative suspect was not investigated by the defense.

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Bobby Montaque

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.

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Marcellus Williams

Marcellus Williams was convicted of the August 11, 1998 murder of Felicia Gayle.

Post-conviction new DNA tests that show Williams’ DNA was not on the weapon that killed Felicia Gayle. The DNA of another unidentified man was on the weapon. The victim was stabbed 43 times, and it stands to reason that the male DNA on the weapon is that of the actual culprit.

The state of Missouri said that the other evidence in the case is still strong. Yet that evidence consisted of the testimony of informants, both drug addicts, who received financial incentives to testify against him. The footprint at the crime scene and the hair samples from the crime scene do not match Williams either.

To be sure, Williams had a number of items belonging to the victim and sold a laptop belonging to the victim’s husband. That is strong circumstantial evidence. Then again, those items were found by one of the cooperating informants, Williams’ girlfriend at the time. The case was built around the informants. Both had hoped to get a $10,000 reward.

The jury that convicted Williams never heard about the DNA evidence, and it is hard to imagine that if he was tried today that he would get a death sentence, given the new doubts about guilt. That DNA evidence has never been presented in court.

Source: Washington Post article, August 2017

There is evidence that the informants, Cole and Asaro, spoke on the phone while Cole was still in jail, suggesting a conspiracy between Cole and Asaro. And Asaro was a prostitute, and might have got the laptop from another of her clients. Moreover it was apparently Asaro that sold the laptop, not Marcellus.

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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

 

 

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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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.

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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.

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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 prosecution 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?”

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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.”

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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.

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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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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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Belynda Goff

In 1994 Belynda, then 32 years old, lived in Green Forest, Arkansas and worked at the local Tyson plant. She was a mother of three – Stephen Lee, 3 years old, Mark, 7, and Bridgette, 15.

On the night of June 11, 1994 she was home with her husband, Stephen, and their son, Stephen Lee. Around 9:00 pm Stephen received a phone call and told Belynda he was going out for cigarettes even though, as Belynda told him, the store was closed. She headed to bed around 10:00 or 10:30 pm. Stephen was still not home. During the night Stephen Lee crawled into bed with her.

At about 2:00 am her upstairs neighbors heard a knock on the Goffs’ door, and then shortly later, what sounded like banging on the ceiling.

Between 4:00 and 4:30 am Belynda’s alarm went off. She went into the bathroom, then the living room. It was there that she saw Stephen, in the corner of their doorway, bloodied. His blood spattered keys lay nearby. She became hysterical and dialed the Operator for help. The paramedics and police arrived shortly thereafter.

The police could not find bloody weapons or clothing in Belynda’s home so they surmised she must have cut up the clothing and flushed it down the toilet. While the police failed to find evidence to corroborate their theory, evidence that someone else had killed Stephen began to emerge.

On the morning her trial was to begin, Belynda, facing the prospect of a life sentence, was offered a plea deal of 10 years. She rejected it.

More at Huffington Post

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Christopher Charles Forbit

Christopher Charles Forbit was 25 on July 10, 2010. He spent the afternoon in Archer Park in Tulsa, OK with some acquaintances, drinking beer and talking, letting his daughter play in the water. He went home, where he took a phone call from me around 5:15pm. He was still drinking, as was normal for him, and had several people in the house, his minor cousin, Stacy Turner, his 4 year old daughter, and 2 homeless men, the victim, Kenneth Allen Barrett, and one known only as “Hillbilly.” During the course of the evening, as intoxicated people are prone to do, Barrett passed out. After passing out, the other three decided it would be funny to shave his head. Around 9pm, after several times on and off the phone, Chris remembered that his girlfriend would be home from work soon and that he needed to get the homeless guys out of their house so that she wouldn’t be upset (understandably). He placed the phone, with me on the line, down on a hard surface (I heard the thump of the phone), woke Barrett up, and proceeded to tell them they had to go. Barrett got belligerent when he realized they had shaved his head, and Chris and Stacy pushed him to the door, hitting him in the arms and chest a few times each. Let me stop the story here to say that I was on the phone the whole time, and this was not a huge squabble with a lot of yelling and cussing and screaming or noise. It was quite literally a minute and a half, with a few words said and then the door slamming. Chris was back on the phone, laughing a little because Barrett was so angry. Shortly after, Stacy told Chris that he was going to walk to Quick Trip down the street to get something to drink. Not long after he left, we disconnected our call as Chris was falling asleep. His girlfriend returned home around 1030pm, and everything was fine inside and outside the house. The next morning, they awoke around 9am, and found Barrett deceased, with his pants down, in their daughter’s playhouse in the yard. Tulsa police were called and they took statements from Chris, his girlfriend (who later testified against him, and was friends on Facebook with at least one of the jurors), and his cousin, Stacy. They took x-rays of Chris’s hands, checking for broken bones, photographs for any bruising (there were no broken bones and no bruising). They took video statements from his girlfriend (this statement was later lost and she had to give another, over a year later). The initial medical examiners report was “lost” as well. Barrett’s blood alcohol level at the time of his death was well over the legal limit, and dangerously close to the lethal limit. There was no physical evidence to show that Chris was responsible for Barrett’s death.

Shortly after Barrett’s death, Chris realized that he needed to make some changes in his life. Never having been in any real trouble before, he realized how his life choices were affecting others and went, on his own, to the HOW foundation. A six month rehab program that focuses on staying sober and working to support your family. During that time, he was sober for the first time since he was 15 and made the decision to stay that way. He has not drank since he left rehab. After returning home, his girlfriend refused to stop smoking marijuana and drinking, and he realized he could not live in a household where that was a factor any longer, so he left. She was angry and hurt, and did everything she could to hurt him in return. Including testifying against him in court, and keeping his daughter from him. Chris got married, was given visitation with his daughter, and it seemed that things were moving on when he found out he had a warrant out for his arrest for murder. Knowing he was innocent, he got a bail bondsman, turned himself in, bonded out, and hired an attorney, prepared to go to trial. He was offered 5 years in prison and 5 on probation (which we now know he should have taken). He declined the offer and went to trial.

The lawyer that he retained was not the lawyer that went with him to trial. His trial lawyer was a junior associate who had never been to trial before in his career. Chris found out later that the lawyer that went to trial with him used to work with the team of lawyers that prosecuted him. He was a researcher for that exact same prosecution team. He was told that there was no need for my phone records or for me to testify because it was an open and shut case. His cousin, Stacy, testified that he didn’t know anything and did little more than cry and blubber on the stand (we later found out that he was on methamphetamine). His ex girlfriend, who he was in the middle of a hate filled, heated child custody battle with, also testified. During the trial, the judge was made aware that she was friends with at least one (believed to be 3, but we could not prove this) of the jurors. He refused to dismiss the juror and continued on with the trial. Chris was convicted and sentenced to 15 years. Oklahoma’s truth in sentencing is 85%, so he will serve 12.5 years before he is eligible for release.

After his conviction, his cousin Stacy, has bragged to several people that he is the one responsible for Barrett’s death. His version of the story to others, is that he left to walk to Quick Trip to get a drink, and ran into Barrett and “Hillbilly” on his way. Barrett called him several names referring to his sexuality and it made him angry so he beat him up. He has threatened others, including his nephew (now 17) by saying, “if you tell anyone what I did, I will beat you to death. And you know I will get away with it. I’ve already gotten away with killing one man.” He said this to his nephew to keep him quiet about the fact he had been sexually assaulting him for 3 years. He also threatened his sister, brother in law, and several friends with the same threat.

Chris’s time in prison has been spent bettering himself. He graduated from the Faith and Character Program December of 2016. It is a faith based program that teaches life skills, anger management, sober living, and taking responsibility. He is a facilitator and teacher of the faith and character program this year, and runs a workout program for several other inmates who are trying to get clean and stay off drugs. We have letters from the program administrator, his case manager, the warden’s office, and other prison personnel recommending his release, and have been told by several that they don’t understand why he is even there. That they can’t imagine him hurting anyone.

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