Category Archives: Present at Scene

Sam Sheppard

Samuel Holmes “Sam” Sheppard (December 29, 1923 – April 6, 1970) was an American osteopathic physician and, toward the end of his life, a professional wrestler. He was convicted of the brutal murder of his pregnant wife, Marilyn Reese Sheppard on July 4, 1954, at their Bay Village, Ohio, home. He spent almost a decade in prison, mostly at the Ohio Penitentiary, before a retrial was ordered, where he was acquitted in 1966.

On June 6, 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court, by an 8-to-1 vote, struck down the murder conviction. The decision noted, among other factors, that a “carnival atmosphere” had permeated the trial, and that the trial judge Edward J. Blythin, was clearly biased against Sheppard because Judge Blythin had refused to sequester the jury, did not order the jury to ignore and disregard media reports of the case, and when speaking to newspaper columnist Dorothy Kilgallen shortly before the trial started said, “Well, he’s guilty as hell. There’s no question about it.”

Source: wikipedia

There is new evidence published October 30, 2015, showing the murder was committed by Edward Wayne Edwards :

This is the last page of a letter Edward Edwards sent to Dr. Sam Sheppard’s father Richard, July 13th 1954, just after he had killed pregnant Marilyn Sheppard in her bed while she slept, and set-up her husband Dr. Sam Sheppard. I didn’t know it existed until last week. Just like in the 2009 Christopher Coleman case in Illinois, Edwards left a clue on the P.S. at the end of the letter as to who the real killer was. He left the number 4 in mirror image as a clue to 4 Ds to his name, and 2 Es.

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Eldon Schurz

“To back him up, Levy threw in a transient, Ronnie Yazzie, who was “reimbursed” twice to travel to Phoenix and stay in a motel, and the testimony of a dubious detective, Armando Saldate who was also involved in the Hyde and Milke cases among many others that are very questionable. Saldate was the “fire expert,” though there were several fireman present at the scene.”

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Lester Bower

Lester Bower was convicted of a a quadruple murder after lying to his wife and authorities, about his efforts to buy an ultralight plane, when four people were found shot to death in an airplane hangar on the B&B Ranch north of Dallas

For more than 30 years, Mr. Bower has steadfastly maintained his innocence and has accumulated both withheld and newly discovered evidence of his innocence.

Bower was a Texas A&M University graduate, with a good job, family man, father of two daughters, soccer dad, stable marriage, no mental disabilities, no history of childhood abuse, no previous criminal record.

The State continually argued throughout trial that the victims were killed using a rare form of subsonic ammunition that only a handful of people had access to. Mr. Bower previously had purchased some such ammunition. Yet, there was no way to conclude that subsonic ammunition was in fact used in the murders;the prosecution knew as much but relied on it as fact just the same. Documents the prosecution withheld before trial also show that this ammunition was much more widely available than the prosecution led the jury to believe.

The State further contended that Mr. Bower owned the same type of pistol that was used in the killings. Mr. Bower, however, lost this pistol long before the murders, and the State’s own firearms examiner found that Mr. Bower’s gun had a different firing pin than the one used in the killings—a finding that the prosecution decided to ignore.

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News:
March 23, 2015: Supreme Court won’t hear appeal of Texas inmate who has been on death row for 30 years

March 25, 2015: Execution set for June 3, 2015

May 22, 2015: U.S. court denies motion to halt execution of long-serving Texas inmate

According to Bower’s court filings, he has faced imminent execution on six occasions during his time in prison.

Execution set for June 3, 2015

Guardian Article May 29, 2015

Article June 2015 The Intercept “Doubts Still Plague the 31-year-old Lester Bower Case but Texas Is About To Kill Him Anyway.”

June 3 2015 “Lester Bower Executed In Texas Despite Serious Doubts Over His Guilt”

Michael Peterson

Michael Peterson was convicted in 2003 of murdering his second wife, Kathleen Peterson.

Prosecutors were never able to establish a clear motive and didn’t find a murder weapon, but argued that Peterson likely killed his wife with a fireplace blow poke during an argument and then made it appear as if she fell down the stairs.

In late 2009, Peterson’s attorneys raised a new theory of Kathleen Peterson’s death, that she had been attacked by an owl outside, fallen after rushing inside, and been knocked unconscious after hitting her head on the first tread of the stairs. The owl theory was raised by Durham attorney T. Lawrence Pollard, who raised this possibility after reading the SBI evidence list and finding a “feather” listed.

On December 15, 2011, Peterson was granted a new trial. Retrial is set for May 8, 2017.

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Was an Owl the Real Culprit in the Peterson Murder Mystery? November 12, 2016

February 24, 2017 N.C. novelist walks free after agreeing to plea deal in wife’s death

David Camm

David Camm was acquitted in October 2013 after three trials.

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Trial by Media

David attending court, 3 October 2013. Click for videos of David talking about his experience in April 2014 ( scroll down, several videos )

The case of David Camm, accused of killing his wife and two young children. David was in custody from October 2000 until found Not Guilty on 24th October 2013, apart from the period from 26 January 2005 to 9th March 2005, when he was released on bond.

On 24th October 2013, David Camm was found NOT Guilty on all charges.

This site will be permanently left as a record of David’s trials. Please consider joining the Wrongly Convicted Group to support other victims of injustice, thank you!

Please see the Index to navigate.

Postscript:

http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/indiana/2014/04/23/camm-speaks-isu-students-wrongful-conviction/8072245/ April 24. 2014

A MUST read article by Bill Clutter : Private Investigator Gary Dunn working to free David Camm – the inside story.

Post trial coverage by Dateline : http://www.nbcnews.com/video/dateline/54240184#54240184

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Guy Heinze Jnr

Featured Case #48

Guy Heinze Jnr was wrongly convicted of murdering his own family after he discovered them murdered. He had no criminal record or record of violence and was a model employee.

The police failed to collect and perform DNA exams on evidence at the scene, and then suggested the lack of other DNA indicated Guy as the killer. A forensic expert said that the murder was committed by approximately five people.

One of the victims was still alive when Guy raised the alarm, which is inconsistent with him being the killer.

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Robert Fischer

Featured case #44

Robert Fischer is accused of murdering Lee Radder. Robert was staying with relatives ( he was the step-father of the Lee’s wife ). Lee Radder apparently committed suicide on 30 December 2010, after receiving bad news about a business deal. He had spent the night in a heavy drinking session with Robert. Due to being intoxicated, Robert made some confused, inaccurate statements, stating that he was in bed when the shot was fired, whereas in reality he was in close proximity to Lee.

The prosecution allege Robert staged the scene. However this is scientifically impossible. Forensic evidence conclusively demonstrates that Lee shot himself, and there was no staging.

On 28 February 2014, the trial judge overturned the jury’s verdict, on the grounds that the verdict was contrary to the balance of evidence and prosecution misconduct.

  • Lee’s DNA and partial fingerprint were found on the gun
  • There was no trace of Robert (DNA or fingerprint) on the gun
  • The gun in Lee’s hand and the high velocity back spatter on Lee’s hands is compelling evidence that Lee shot himself.
  • Detective Acosta’s opinion that the defendant manipulated Lee’s body and staged the scene is not supported by the physical evidence and lacked credibility.

See here for the full ruling.

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Eric Koula

Featured Case #43

Eric was convicted in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, after a trial based entirely on circumstantial evidence. Eric was a stable, hard-working father and husband who was very close to his parents. When his mother, Merna, did not show up for work one Monday, Eric tried unsuccessfully to reach them, then drove to their house and found them both dead. It appeared as though it was the work of professionals and that there may have been crime scene staging.

Investigators found DNA at the scene that was not Eric’s DNA and remains unidentified. Nothing at the crime scene tied Eric to the murders. The murder weapon was never forensically identified. There was no evidence of the crime found on Eric’s person, in his truck or at his home. Digital forensic evidence was improperly presented at trial as documented by trial transcripts. A neighbor testified that he had seen the couple alive in their backyard talking with two unidentified people hours after Eric was supposed to have already killed them. The judge in the case restricted the defense attorney from presenting alternative suspects. The jury convicted Eric on the basis of two incidents, both of which can be explained by past precedents and emotional reaction to his parents’ murder.

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Update 11 October : Eric Koula Appeal Final

Jason Payne

Featured Case #40 : On December 11, 2007 in the town of Quitman, Texas two people were shot to death. Nichole Payne, wife of Jason Payne and her son by a previous marriage, Austin Taylor Wages. Upon discovering the two bodies Jason immediately called 911 at 9:09 AM and told the operator that “his wife and his son are both shot” and that he needed help.

The lead detective in the case Lt. Det. Miles Tucker of the Wood County Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of Sgt.Noel Martin, a Criminologist with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office to come out to the crime scene and perform a crime scene reconstruction. After doing a thorough and extensive examination of the crime scene, and a rigorous examination of the autopsy report and other evidence Noel Martin, the only forensic expert at the crime scene issued his findings: Murder Suicide. This must of come as a surprise to Lt. Tucker who likely felt that Martin, a fellow police officer and prosecution expert witness would issue a finding that would support his theory of a Double Homicide.

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Jessie B.

Jessica Burlew, a 17 year old girl diagnosed with schizophrenia and autism, has been held in isolation in Estrella Jail since January, 2014. She was been charged with 2nd degree murder for the accidental death of Jason Ash, a 43 year old man who was sexually exploiting her.

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News

Trial set for Monday August 17th, 2015 ( postponed )

Report August 12, 2015

“Eighteen-year-old Jessica Burlew has been in jail for 571 days as her public defenders and the state of Arizona waded through the complicated and drawn-out process of preparing for a homicide trial. A source close to the situation now tells New Times that attorneys and relevant parties have discussed and debated terms of various plea bargains for months, and court documents suggest that a tentative settlement of a manslaughter plea has been reached.

In return for a guilty plea, Burlew’s second-degree murder charge would be lessened to manslaughter.”

Note: see here for developments since August.

Hank Skinner

Featured Case #33 : Facebook page | Proposal Post |  Featured case post

Hank Skinner was convicted of murdering his then girlfriend, Twila Busby, and her two adult sons in January of 1993. The police failed to investigate another potential suspect, Twila’s uncle, who had a history of violent activity and molestation. At the trial, there was little mention of exculpatory evidence due to the fact that Skinner was at the scene of the murder. Upon his conviction, the jury recommended the death penalty. Skinner has been languishing on death row in Texas for twenty years all the while maintaining his innocence.

Debra Dewberry

Featured Case #29

Debra was convicted of the murder of her baby during childbirth in 1994, she plead not guilty, but was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

The conviction was highly questionable, and her legal representation has been poor.

The prosecution case was that Debra dangled the baby in the toilet after giving birth, which seems quite improbable.

The jury didn’t believe that and thought her baby fell into the toilet and drowned, but convicted her anyway.

There was no evidence of drowning. The suggested motive (she thought the father might be someone other than her husband) is not at all credible, and the medical testimony was not consistent.

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Diane Downs

Featured Case #21 :

Diane allegedly shot her own son, herself and her other two children in 1983 for no good reason, but the real killer was an abusive local psychopath. Daughter was coerced into testifying against her mother (“they knew that she did it and I should say that she did it”). Her son said it was “a bad man” who shot his mother, but jury never heard that.

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