Category Archives: Mississipi

John Muise

John Peter Muise was convicted of the February 1, 2006 murder of Jeremy Magrette.

John testified that although he drove Michael Fladland to the trailer where Magrette was murdered, it was Fladland who committed the murder. Fladland was indicted as an accessory before the fact to murder. Fladland disappeared between John’s arrest and his trial, his lawyers complained in his appeal that this denied John a fair trial, as they were unable to call him as a witness and question him about his role. At trial, it was stipulated that Cherrie Mark Roach  had sold Fladland the gun that was determined to have been used to kill Magrette.

Forensic tests on John to see if he had fired a gun were negative. No tests were performed on Fladland.

The conviction rests on the testimony of a single witness Jamie Little, who may have been coached to secure a conviction. Little was taking  prescription medications, including Xanax, Tylenol 3, and Ultram, that could have affected the reliability of her testimony.

The shooting occurred at approximately 9:20 p.m.

When asked that evening, Little said it was dark and she saw the shooter in the doorway. Later she claimed it was John Muise, and she could see his face due to a night light, however the light would have been behind a person standing in the doorway.

Appeal denied December 2008

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Richard Jacobs

Richard Jacobs was convicted of the murder of Robert Martin on March 22, 2000, in Jackson County, Mississipi.

Summary

Richard Jacobs, aged 18, was staying at the house of the victim and Jeremy Martin, his violent son. On he second night of his stay, the victim, an alcoholic, started arguing with his son Jeremy and insulting both of them after which Jeremy told Richard he was going to kill his father. Jeremy had already been on bond for breaking his father’s ribs and his girlfriends nose and stabbing his step-father.

Jeremy called his girlfriend Crystal Broadus, and told her to get a gun. Crystal then persuaded two of her friends to steal a 0.12 gauge shotgun and a pistol from her grandather, and the three of them then returned to Robert Martin’s house. The shotgun was handed to Jeremy.

Crystal, Jeremy and Richard then entered the victim’s house, and then Jeremy told Crystal and Richard to leave and meet him outside a nearby Church.

A few minutes later, after the victim was shot, Jeremy and another man Donnie Ryals who was staying at the house pulled up, and picked up Richard and Crystal.

Jeremy asked Richard where they should go, and Richard said to his home in Texas. Jeremy asked Richard to drive, even though Richard didn’t have a license and hardly knew how to drive.

Richard was left at his father’s house, Jeremy, Crystal and Donnie left in the car, and were later arrested after a police helicopter chase.

Before leaving, Jeremy told him what to say, and threatened him saying that if he told the truth to anybody they would kill him and his family.

Richard told his father and step-mother to tell nobody he was there and he started work with his father the next day.

On March 24 Richard was arrested, and when questioned he gave an untrue recorded account of what happened, but did not confess. However when a lawyer for Richard arrived, the officer who had been questioning him claimed that he had confessed to shooting the victim.

Richard’s clothing was tested for the victim’s blood, and the test was negative, however this was not disclosed to the defense.

At trial, an expert testified that Richard was at 4th grade level on learning and reading, and borderline retarded but not violent.

Richard’s story in more detail, supplied by Amanda Jacobs

Richard Jackson Jacobs was exactly one month over the age of 18 when he was introduced to a guy name Jeremy Martin who at the time was age 17, by Richard’s girlfriend at the time, who he had only known for a week. Richard at the time was living in Biloxi, Mississipi, with his best friend AJ at he time he was introduced to Jeremy.

AJ was having to move at the time so Richard asked his girlfriend at the time if he could stay with her for three days until his dad could send him a bus ticket and him go back to Bastrop, Texas , where Richard and his dad lived. She told him that he couldn’t but she knew where he could stay and that was at the home of Jeremy Martin and his dad Robert Martin.

Richard talks to Jeremy Martin and he goes to the home, arriving there the father of Jeremy tells Richard he could stay for the three days but he had to have a job, Richard has no problem with that, so the aunt of Jeremy which is the sister of Robert Martin ( the victim) takes Richard and Jeremy job shopping. Richard lands a job and they come back to the home.

The victim was known as a drunk, him and Jeremy stayed in fights and law was out there all the time, Richard not knowing them he never knew of the problems that he was soon start witnessing.

Richard says the first night is ok , well the next night Jeremy and his dad the victim gets into it and the victim calls Richard and Jeremy a faggot.

Richard politely tells him no sir i have a girlfriend and he goes to the bedroom and then Jeremy comes into the room that him and Richard stayed in.

Jeremy is mad and hollering and Richard dozes off and as he awakes Jeremy is on the phone with his mom, Richard not knowing what they were talking about waits for him to get off the phone, that’s when Jeremy tells Richard he is going to kill his dad.

May I remind you Richard doesnt really know Jeremy he was just introduced to him two days ago and allowed to stay there until his dad can get him there, which was the next morning after the murder took place but Richard never knew there was going to be a murder.

After Jeremy tells Richard that he was going to kill him he tells Richard that he is going to put gasoline over the man’s nose to kill him, then strip him down, run bath water, put him in it with a beer can in his hand , and make it look like a accident.

At this time Richard is worried but thinks Jeremy is just saying this cause he was mad cause of the fight him and his dad had and was just running his mouth. Well Jeremy asks Richard how would you do it?

Richard tells him I’m not putting any words or thoughts in it cause I cant kill anybody.

Jeremy tells him ok I got it, so Jeremy calls his girlfriend Crystal Broadus and tells her to get her fathers gun cause he was a cop. So Crystal gets two of her friends to help steal a .12 guage shot gun and a pistol from her grandfathers, after they get them the friends drive her over to the home of the victim where Richard, Jeremy, and the other roomate Donnie Ryals who was friends with the victim and had been living there renting out a room for quiet some time.

After getting their the gun is handed over to Jeremy with the bullets. Richard at this time is wondering ok what is about to happen and then Crystal, Richard, and Jeremy go inside. Jeremy tells Richard and Crystal to go down the road to the church and wait on him and Donnie, at this time Richard knows exactly whats going on and is scared and Jeremy asks Richard could you do it?

Richard says “No I can’t” and Jeremy asks him how would you do it to get away with it and Richard says I don’t know , maybe steal the car to get away? Jeremy tells Donnie Ryals to pack the car and tells Richard and Crystal to leave so they do.

A few minutes later Jeremy and Donnie pulls up at the church and Richard and Crystal gets in Jeremy asks Richard where do you wanna go and he says his dad’s house and they leave.

Well they go to Biloxi where the girlfriend of Richard’s live and they let Richard tell her goodbye, Richard tells her I’m going to Texas and make some money, get a car, and I’ll be back to take care of you.

Well Jeremy asks Richard to drive to cause he doesnt know the way to Texas , so Richard not knowing at the time what has actually happened he drives and once they get to Louisanna Richard is swerving all over the road , cause Richard doesnt have driver licenses never has had them and didn’t really know how to drive, well he gets pulled over and that’s when Jeremy tells him get us out of this I killed my dad.

Now Richard is scared and is freaking out and wants to get to his dad’s fast and get away from Jeremy who he is now terrified of big time. Jeremy tells him you tell anybody and I will kill you and then your family. So Richard shows the cop a school ID and the officer a story about in a hurry to get to his dad’s and the cop let’s him go with a few tickets.

After driving off Richard tells Jeremy I’m tired I can’t drive and tells Jeremy how to get to his dad’s which was a straight shot from there and they switch and Richard gets back in the back seat where he originally was when Jeremy picked him up.

Well Jeremy makes a stop in Louisanna at some water Richard stated and got out him and Donnie for a minute, Richard doesnt pay no attention, never looks he is scared and doesn’t wanna die, then Jeremy and Donnie get back in and they leave Richard goes to sleep.

Well later Jeremy wakes Richard up and tells him where at the dirt road of your dad’s and I dont drive on dirt roads so Richard drives , makes it to his dad’s and when he gets out Jeremy tells him details of what to say and not to say and they if he told the truth to anybody that not only would he come find him and kill him , he will kill his family and Richard kows at this time he will, Richard tells his dad and step mom to make sure nobody knows he is there and he starts work with his dad the next day.

When Jeremy and them left Donnie Ryals was driving. Richard thought that would be the last of seeing them. That was just the beginning of the nightmare for Richard.

The murder happened on March 22, 2000 and on March 24, 2000 Richard after getting home from working with his dad is arrested by texas Ranger Rocky Wardlow.

Not only was Richard arrested so roughly , his dad, step mom, and step brother was in handcuffs, their house destroyed and all. Richard never tries to run or be ugly nothing, Richard is not a violent person, respects his elderly everything.

They bust Richard up pretty good. Richard’s dad asks Rocky Wardlow whats going on? Cause he knew him from around town, the dinner they ate at, and Rocky Wardlow had been at Richard’s dad’s house before on trying to buy something. Rocky tells him they are looking for a murderer.

Richard’s dad says your looking in the wrong place, that’s when Rocky tells him were looking for Richard Jacobs and his dad said why my son? He said Mississippi is looking for him on capital murder of a vancleave man in Mississippi.

They bring Richard to the car and puts him in the back of the car and his rights are read to him by a different officer , well that’s what Richard’s dad believes the officer was doing cause he was telling him something.

Well Richard’s dad ask Rocky Wardlow if he could see his son and he said yes and so could his step mom and they go to the car, Richard’s step mom hugs him says i love you and Richard’s dad says go call the attorney tell him he has been arrested and what for and to get to the police station and she does right then and there, and Wardlow is standing right there listening.

Richard’s dad says son dont say anything the lawyer is on his way. Richard says dad I have to or he will kill me. Richard’s dad said ok son the attorney is on his way. Rocky Wardlow closes the door and they leave and on the way to the police station that was right down the road Wardlow tells Richard in the car he could tell him his side of the story.

Richard says my dad said not to talk an attorney is on the way. After getting to the police station Rocky Wardlow puts Richard in the detox tank with guys who are ten times bigger than him and totally drunk acting a fool, looking at Richard and he is extremely scared, I mean Richard was a kid barely 18 and little short thing, he would have no chance with these guys.

After being in there for a few minutes, Wardlow comes to the door asks him ready to talk to me? Richard says yes anything to get me out of here, so he goes with Wardlow outside.

Wardlow gives him a cigeratte says if you run I will kill you its my job, Richard is scared.

Well then Wardlow says would you like to tell me your side and Richard says no dad and the attorney is coming, at this point Richard’s dad and his step mom gets there and they ask Wardlow if they can talk to Richard .

Wardlow says I gotta take him back in and so he takes Richard in and Richard’s dad and them goes inside cause the attorney should be getting there soon he was 45 mins away at the time of the arrest.

Wardlow takes him in the interview room, but when the video starts you can tell they had already been in there talking and he again asks Richard to tell him his side of the story, that’s when Richard is comfortable with the officer and says ok I’ll tell you, Richard never knew he was being recorded.

Wardlow tells him I’m not on the case and don’t know what happened, you can tell me your side though. Well Richard tells him the same story I just told ya’ll but after he tells him Wardlow starts his coercing, threats, and leniency, tells him that the other’s has been arrested and their stories arent like his, it would shed a bad light on him he would be in trouble, and that if he told him why he pulled the trigger the reason for it and that they could work with that and the people would understand.

Richard remembers what Jeremy told him and now with what the officer tells him he starts crying and tells the officer Jeremy tried to make me he stuck a .357 to my head said in 3 if I didn’t pull the trigger he would put a bullet in me then his dad and the officer starts asking him about the gun, Richard never tells him he did pull the trigger, he says Jeremy tried to and how he tried to make him, at this point you know Richard’s lying cause his story never stays the same and it makes no sense on what he is saying so you know Richard is lying he wasnt the one who killed the man.

Richard couldn’t tell you the victims name or the girlfriends name nothing and then the officer asks him if he wants a lawyer and Richard tells him yes I guess if you think I need one I just wanna go home and i thought dad and the lawyer was coming.

Wardlow never says anything and they walk out then a few minutes later you see Wardlow come in turn the video off. Then as they come out the lawyer and his dad is there.

Well lawyer is informed Richard just gave a confession.

Now once they get Richard to Mississippi he is never interviewed anything like all the others were.

The tape was supposedly looked at by the judge and it was audible , only a few mins of it was played for the jury, and you cant understand the tape so they had some one write it out, the written confession states Richard shook his head saying yes he pulled the trigger, that you will hear him saying he did and how and why, but he didnt the jury was lied too by the state and the judge allowed it.

Also the jury was not a good one, the friends of the judge kids was on the jury and their parents were police officer best friend with the judge, there was a guy his cousin , friend, and co worker on it together, a wife of the narcotic team on it everything.

How was this done and fair?

The state tried all they could to have Richard put to death. They got him for robbery and murder which made it capital murder. His clothes were tested the victims blood was not on them but the state with held that.

The gun they got had no finger prints on it and the officer here in mississippi took Donnie Ryals alone the night before the diving team got there to look for the gun and the next day the diving team found it almost on the bank ! How?

And this gun was thrown deep into the river? Why did the officer take him alone and never told anybody else?

The same officer whao was arrested in 2007 for perjury!!!!

The same officer who listened to Richard’s tape and wrote out the words Richard didnt say.

Now the victims sister told different stories in court, the ex girlfriend told different stories in court, the officer Wardlow lied in court and they caught him did nothing to him.

The Miranda card at the arrest is not Richard’s signature, but the one at the interview is, who signed the one at the arrest??

Now the autopsy said he was shot in the mouth, but all the remains was in front and indicated he was shot from behind, Dr. McGarry the autopsy man was fired in 2008 for tainted autopsy and scenes.

The victim sister tells different stories how she found him , how she shook him etc she moved the body! Her husband was the last one there with the victim till officers arrived.

The phone lines were cut they said Richard did that.

Jeremy had been on bond for breaking his dad’s ribs and his girlfriends nose and stabbing his step-father.

The doctor told the victims sister Jeremy was going to kill the whole family, Crystal admits they had already planned this before Richard got there they were going to kill her family next.

And now Richard was charged for the murder and robbery with no evidence but a false confession from out of state that he was made to give!

The state lies to the jury, Jeremy was the one who did it and drove away Richard was made to leave he wasnt there.

Even the girlfriend said Jeremy was Driving when they got there to her house for Richard to tell her good bye. She said Richard said we killed him not that he had we did and that was a lie. There is right now 40 mistakes made and lies, sounds to me he was framed and the courts helped.

The jury found him guilty with nothing put him at the scene besides a false confession, they couldnt sentence him so the judge did and by 99-19-101 a judge can’t give life without only life with parole but he goes over the law and gives life without.

The state withheld the dna and evidence to show Richard’s innocence.

The Doctor even said in court Richard was at a 4th grade level on learning and reading he was borderline retarded, he was not violent etc, the court still proceeded.

The defense attorney for Richard worked for Jeremy’s mom on legal matters at that time in court, Richard fired him but he talked Richard into letting him proceed and the judge allowed it.

The attorney was mean to Richard’s dad , the jury did what ever they wanted during the trial out to eat and all etc

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Marlon Howell

Marlon Howell was convicted and sentenced to death based on a ridiculous lineup and testimony from two admitted criminals who had a whole lot to gain. He’s still on death row. And the attorney general of Mississippi is doing all he can to ensure that the man will be executed.

Source: Radley Balko When public officials can’t be bothered with innocence Washington Post, October 6, 2015

Long VICE article

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Aaron Finley

Aaron Finley was wrongly convicted of murder on the accusation of the true killer, bribed with a reduced sentence, and a very dubious identification that placed him in a car with the killer before the murder. The indictments of the killer and Aaron do not agree on the cause of death, and Steven Hayne’s autopsy report was not entered as evidence. Aaron also had an alibi which could have been confirmed by the prosecution based on a laundry ticket.

Aaron Finley was was indicted on April 12, 1996 and later convicted for the November 16, 1994 murder of George Monsour, during the commission of an armed robbery, and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of early release.

On November 16, 1994, Willie Davis went to the home of George Monsour, the victim, and pretended to be interested in purchasing Monsour’s car, an antique Chevrolet Impala. Davis agreed to purchase the car for $1,800.00 and he left to supposedly get the money. He returned to the Monsour home and Mr. Monsour went with Davis for a test drive. They left the Monsour home between 11:00 and 12:00.

Monsour’s body was found in Warren Lake in Lauderdale County in the early hours of November 17, 1994. Willie Davis confessed to the crime and led the police to the body. At the crime scene, the police found many personal items of Monsour’s scattered around the site of the murder.

The case against Aaron ( Source )

Willie Davis testified against Aaron at trial. Davis alleged that he and Finley drove Monsour to Warren Lake, that while they were driving down the interstate, he and Aaron stopped to switch who was driving the car. That at this time, while they were outside of the car and out of Monsour’s hearing range, that they decided to rob Monsour.  That Finley parked the car at Hillcrest and eventually forced Monsour by gunpoint down to Warren Lake. That it was at this point that Finley beat, kicked and eventually drowned Monsour. That he (Davis) took Mr. Monsour’s wallet while Finley was holding Monsour’s head under the water.

Rita Crane, a sister of one of the investigating officers, testified that she saw the Impala with Monsour and three black males on Interstate 20 on November 16, 1994, around noon. She identified Davis as the driver of the vehicle and Finley as one of the passengers in the vehicle. She further testified that she knew Monsour but did not realize at the time that he was in the vehicle.

The defense case

Aaron Finley and Stacey Armstrong (Davis’ cousin) were released in 1995 after not being indicted three times due to lack of evidence, but Willie Davis remained incarcerated and was convicted of the murder of George Monsour. However in April of 1996 Aaron Finley was indicted for capital murder. Willie Davis had made a deal with the district Attorney to testify against Aaron Finley to have his sentence be life in prison instead of the death penalty.

Willie Davis’s testimony and statements changed numerous times, and is not credible.

It’s implausible that Rita Crane could have identified Aaron in the Impala on Interstate 20 around noon.

Example Impala

Aaron, who was age 20 at the time, told detectives that on that morning of the murder he went to Perfection Cleaners to leave some clothes to be cleaned, there was a ticket made out which would have been in the possession of the cleaners, however this this was not available at trial to corroborate his alibi. The owner of Perfection Cleaners called the detective and told him he found the records concerning the date and time Aaron dropped his clothes off but no one ever came to pick the records up.

Aaron does not deny that he was in the car later that day, in the evening, and this is how he came to be a suspect.

There was no forensic evidence at the scene to link Aaron to the murder, only the testimony of Davis and the very doubtful sighting by Rita Crane. Furthermore, Rita Crane’s testimony was inconsistent and contradictory to statements she had made before and during trial ( see appeal ruling ).

Aaron has been supported by the Mississipi Justice Project.

Some documents are available here. In particular, the indictments do not agree on the how the victim died. Aaron’s indictment says “drowning”, but Davis’ indictment says “beating and shooting”. In addition, there is a reply to a request for the autopsy report which claims it is not a public record.

Also, a mysterious anonymous letter dated 27 March, 2006, claiming the crime was committed by Willie Davis and three others.

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Eddie Lee Howard

The expert whose bite-mark evidence led a jury to put Eddie Lee Howard Jr. on Mississippi’s death row now believes such evidence should be tossed.

“I no longer believe in bite-mark analysis,” forensic odontologist Michael West of Hattiesburg testified in a 2012 deposition. “I don’t think it should be used in court. I think you should use DNA. Throw bite marks out.”

On Tuesday, lawyers from the Mississippi Innocence Project will argue to the state Supreme Court that Howard deserves a new trial. The state says justices have already rejected these arguments in a previous appeal.

Howard, who turns 62 on Saturday, remains on death row, convicted of the 1992 rape and stabbing death of 84-year-old Georgie Kemp of Columbus.

Recently performed DNA tests reveal the presence of male DNA (other than Howard) on the bloody knife found at the murder scene. DNA tests on the nightgown and the rape kit have excluded Howard as well.

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News

June 20, 2015 Bite-mark expert dismisses own testimony

August 7, 2015 Lowndes man sentenced to death may get new trial “On Aug. 4, the Supreme Court ruled Howard may file a petition for post-conviction relief in the trial court.

Read more: http://www.cdispatch.com/news/article.asp?aid=43769#ixzz3iY6BmrfY

Michelle Byrom

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Mississippi had a self-serving confession from Edward Jr., implicating his mother and blaming Gillis for the murder. And they had a confession from Michelle Byrom herself, taken while she was heavily medicated, amid questions about her mental stability. What exactly did this confession sound like? The sheriff told the addled Byrom: “Listen, we are going to be able to pull enough together … don’t leave [Edward, Jr.] hanging out here to bite the big bullet.” To which Michelle Byrom, Edward Jr.’s mother, replied: “No, he’s not going to. I wouldn’t let him … I will take all the responsibility. I’ll do it.”

Conviction overturned on 31st March, 2014

Back in the custody of Tishomingo County 28th July, 2014

Retrial set for 1 Sep 2015 17th January, 2014

Almost executed by Mississippi, Michelle Byrom free 26 June, 2015

Almost Executed by Mississippi Michelle Byrom is Now Free 6 July. 2015 @ YouCouldBeWrong.wordpress.com

Interview, August 17, 2015

If you would like to help Michelle with medication, clothing, or personal items, you can visit herYouCaring site, which gives her 100% of the proceeds.