Category Archives: Pennsylvania

Marcel Johnson

Marcel Johnson was convicted in June 2015 of stabbing to death a pregnant woman and her 4-year-old daughter on November 25, 2013, and sentenced to death.

Behind bars, he allegedly confessed to a fellow inmate, George Lewis. The defense argued in closing that Lewis was a motivated witness with a long rap sheet and plenty of reasons to lie to help his own case, and told the jury that Johnson’s DNA was not found in evidence from the scene.

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Daniel Gwynn

Daniel Gwynn was convicted of first degree murder, arson and aggravated assault in 1995. The primary evidence against him was an incriminating police-written statement that he signed. In this statement Mr. Gwynn is supposed to have started the fire at that killed Marcia Smith, one of the six homeless residents there, who refused to jump out of a third floor residence. The other five residents survived. Two of the residents testified that on the day before the fire they had an altercation with someone known as ‘Rick’ who fought with them for seventy minutes before being forced to flee the residence and threatened revenge. The five homeless residents told police that they believed ‘Rick” had to have started the fire – even though they did not see who started the fire.

According to false confession expert Dr. Richard Leo, “There is no objective record of what occurred and therefore no way of ruling out that Mr. Gwynn was not educated about those facts that he got correct, a phenomenon known as ‘contamination’ that is not uncommon in police interrogations, especially those leading to false confessions.”

Source: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-gb/125/358/722/free-daniel-gwynn-an-innocent-man-on-death-row/

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Clayton Mibroda

On January 11,2012 after just four days the jury in Westmoreland County PA, found Clayton guilty of 3rd degree murder in the death of his 20 day old daughter, Natalee.

There was no evidence to convict Clayton. No one at any time had ever witnessed or suspected him of harming either of his children. He and Natalee’s mother had two children together. There were co workers, neighbors, friends and family members willing to testify on Clayton’s behalf as per his relationship with his children and his interaction with them.

The location of the crime scene was the residence in which Clayton, the mother of his children and both children resided, Bolivar, PA. It was a small community in western PA.

Natalee was born on December 7, 2011, six weeks premature and positive for opiates at birth. She was released to her parents at two days of age and no further tests were done. It is our opinion she was experiencing withdrawl symptoms. By mother’s admission she was experiencing post partum depression, she was diagonosed with depression on Dec. 23rd and had a follow up appointment the afternoon of Dec. 27, 2011 at 1pm.

On the morning of Dec. 27,2011 while Clayton was ill and sleeping mother called the doctor’s office and asked for an emergency appointment; at this time she stated { my meds are not working, I need to see the doctor right away}. She was told to come in asap. The location of the clinic where she was seen was three minutes from their home, 0.4 mile. While at the doctors she was adviced to call the mental health crisis hotline, records indicate she did that. At 11:52 am Claytons mother received an emotional phone call. Ms L asked her if she would take both children before she hurt them. When asked if she had hurt them she replied; “not that bad”. Arrangements were made for Clayton’s mother to take both children but before that ever took place she received the phone call from Clayton telling her they were at Indiana Regional Medical Center and that Natalee had died.

If you would like to become better aquainted with Clayton’s story and the events following his arrest and conviction you may visit his website which is under construction. We expect it to be up and running the end of Feb. 2016.

Currently Clayton’s case is being reviewed by the Medill Justice program out of Northwestern University and the PA Innocence Project. Attorney Kate Judson has reveiwed some of the medical documents in Natalee’s case and made the referral to the PA Innocence Project.

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Charles Goldblum

Charles Goldblum was convicted of the Feb. 9, 1976 murder of George Wilhelm, a 42-year-old former armored truck driver, who was stabbed 23 times.

Wilhelm lived long enough to make a so-called dying declaration to the police officer who found him. “Clarence — Clarence Miller did this to me.”

Clarence Miller was questioned, and accused Charles Goldblum of killing Wilhelm.

Goldblum has steadfastly maintained that, although present at the crime scene, he was only a shocked witness to the killing.

Many people originally involved with the case now say that Goldblum is innocent, including both the assistant district attorney who prosecuted him and the judge who sentenced him.

Source : Article in Pittsburg Post-Gazette, February 7, 2016

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PA Innocence Project Helps Lewis Fogle, Freed 34 Years After His Conviction Due to DNA Exclusion

Fogle’s wife has always stood by him, the couple married just before his conviction. “He’s my husband and I love him,” said a tearful Deb Fogle, “It’s been a long, long process.”

News Report August 13, 2015

Dare to Think

Lewis Fogle was yet another victim of incentivized testimony.  Fogle, a Pennsylvania man, was imprisoned 34 years ago for the rape and murder of a teenage girl mostly based upon the testimony of jailhouse snitches.  A judge this week vacated the conviction for the 1976 rape and murder of Deanna Long.  Prosecutors have not decided whether or not they will retry Fogle.  The Pennsylvania Innocence Project pressed police to dig out physical evidence that could be retested for DNA.  The Indiana County prosecutor’s office agreed to retest the items.

The DNA test excluded Fogle, who was serving life in prison, as the source of sperm found on the victim.  Prosecutors subsequently agreed to overturning Fogle’s conviction.  Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said his investigators are now combing through the remaining evidence to see if they have a strong enough case to retry Fogle.  Dougherty said that he believes Fogle…

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Louis DiNicola – Exoneration Report

Louis DiNicola was convicted of arson and murder after a fire on August 30, 1979 in which an adult and two children died.

On May 23, 1994, after a 2-week retrial, a jury acquitted DiNicola of all charges.

In 1998, DiNicola settled a federal civil rights lawsuit with the city of Erie.

According to this 1998 filing serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards testified against DiNicola at the retrial:

“(d) that false testimony from Defendant Edwards was used against Plaintiff in an effort to convict him in his second criminal trial”.

It seems probable that Edwards was the true perpetrator of the crime. Edwards made a coded confession in a “poem”:

“One night two kids got killed in a fire. I struck the match so the death toll is higher.”

The poem was sent in March 1981, signed “The Ghost Killer” in connection with the Atlanta Child Killings, which Wayne Williams was blamed for.

( “It’s Me”, page 178, 179 and 185  ).

See Report at National Registry of Exonerations for full details about the case.

Robert Ferrante

A respected University of Pittsburgh researcher has been found guilty of first-degree murder by handing his wife a drink to boost her fertility – after lacing it with cyanide.

Prosecutors said Ferrante concocted the plan to kill his wife after she pressured him to have a second child and because he may have feared she was having an affair or planned to divorce him.

..

His lawyers made the case that she might not have been poisoned at all, citing three defense experts who said that couldn’t be conclusively proved.

‘At a minimum we established very clear reasonable doubt,’ defense attorney William Difenderfer said, referring primarily to testimony from celebrity pathologist Dr Cyril Wecht, who said he couldn’t determine how Klein died because he thought a test that showed cyanide in her blood was unreliable.

Source : Daily Mail, 8 November 2014

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News

8 February 2015

Defense attorney Chris Eyster wrote in an appeal filed yesterday that prosecutors presented ‘not one shred of evidence’ that Ferrante administered poison to his wife.

‘A conviction based on conjecture cannot stand,’ he said.

Mr Eyster also argued that prosecutors failed to show that Klein, 41, had lethal amounts of cyanide in her blood, citing disagreement among expert witnesses as to whether she died of the poison or a sudden heart dysrhythmia.

Documents

Timothy McEnany

Timothy McEnany was wrongfully accused and convicted of a crime in 1993, in Hummelstown, PA (USA).

The police ignored the obvious suspects, never even questioning them, and allowing them to “clean up” the crime scene, despite witnesses describing someone who easily fit the description of the victim’s grandson, fleeing from the scene.

Instead, they targeted and fabricated a sloppy case around an innocent chimney-sweep, based on evidence that would have been dismissed from any legitimate court procedings outside of Pennsylvania… a commonwealth, in which the State Police run the show, with no system of checks and balances.

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Lorenzo Johnson

Lorenzo Johnson served 16 and a half years of a life-without-parole sentence, from 1995 to 2012, when the Third Circuit Federal Court of Appeals ruled there was legally insufficient evidence for his conviction. He remained free for 4 months, after which the US Supreme Court unanimously reinstated the conviction and ordered Lorenzo back to prison to resume the sentence. With the help of Michael Wiseman, Esq., The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, The Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson, and others, he is continuing to fight for his freedom

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Jimmy Dennis

Calling the conviction a “grave miscarriage of justice,” the judge noted that the prosecution, whose case was based “on scant evidence at best” covered up evidence pointing to Dennis’ innocence, including evidence undermining the reliability of the police investigation, and statements pointing the finger at three other men in the murder.

“Dennis’ conviction was based solely on shaky eyewitness identifications from three witnesses, the testimony of another man who said he saw Dennis with a gun the night of the murder, and a description of clothing seized from the house of Dennis’ father that the police subsequently lost before police photographed or catalogued it,” the judge said.

Further, the court wrote that the Commonwealth “ignored Dennis’ own explanation for where he was at the time of the murder. … It allowed a witness who saw Dennis on that bus to give incorrect testimony about what time that interaction occurred. Police never recovered a weapon, never found the car that witnesses described, and never found the two accomplices,” she added.

In addition, the defense counsel was ineffective, having failed to interview a single eyewitness–including a girl who was with the victim at the time and said she knew the killers and their nicknames, or a witness whose felony assault charges against his girlfriend suddenly were dropped after he implicated Dennis.

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May 6, 2015 ( Via the website )
Good news! The full Third Circuit court vacated (voided) the February 9, 2015, decision. They have granted Jimmy a rehearing: http://www2.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/139003po.pdf

Dec 24, 2016

“James Dennis entered a no-contest plea, not a guilty plea, because he maintains the same position that he has maintained for 25 years: that he is innocent of this crime,” one of his lawyers, Karl Schwartz, told the judge. “He and his family have made this incredibly difficult decision based on his and their strong desire to have him home and free, [in] lieu of potentially years of continuing litigation.”

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/end-decades-death-row-inmate-makes-agonizing-choice-n699561

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