Category Archives: Survivors

Survivors of domestic violence

Victoria Rickman

In the early morning hours of Sept. 13, 2013, Victoria Rickman called 911 to report she had repeatedly shot her boyfriend, Will Carter Jr. She said he raped her. Rickman said she shot to stop the attack.

Defense attorney Amanda Clark Palmer says”She didn’t invite him over. She didn’t want him over there. She didn’t plan to kill him. And she didn’t murder him. I 110-percent believe she shot him in self-defense.”

Source: 48 hours, Nov 11, 2017

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Donna Hockman

Donna Hockman shot and killed Dustin Stanley in self-defense on July 25, 2008.

Stanley was a criminal informant, and had a record of 12 arrests for property destruction, assault and battery, disorderly conduct and annoying phone calls. He was also violent and had been stalking Donna for many months after being released from jail in February 2008 after signing a Confidential Informant Agreement.

On June 7, 2008, at a wedding, Stanley’s family told Donna that he had abused “every woman he’s ever dated”. Shortly after, a fight broke out between Stanley and his family, and later that night Stanley beat Donna bloody, bashed her head into her headboard and threw her onto the floor kicking her repeatedly.

Despite complaints to police, Stanley was not arrested, and Donna could not obtain any protection from him, apparently due to his status as a paid police informant.

On July 25, Donna shot Stanley at her home after he threatened to kill her and her son.

Donna was convicted of first degree murder on the basis of the testimony of six jailhouse informants who claimed she gave different accounts of events on July 25 and sentenced to life without parole.

More information at http://commonwealthcoverup.com/

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Amber Hilberling

high-rise-deathAmber Hilberling admitted to pushing her husband, an Air Force veteran, out of their 17th-floor apartment in Tulsa during an argument in June 2011.

But she claimed in court she did not intend to kill him, and blamed his fatal fall on “dangerously unsafe” window glass that was too weak to stop his plunge.

Amber, who was seven months pregnant when her husband died, cited self-defense and even rejected a plea deal that would have given her only five years behind bars.

But a jury convicted her of second-degree murder in 2013, after only three hours of deliberation. A judge sentenced her to 25 years in prison.

Amber still stuck by her self-defense claim, repeating it in a televised prison interview with Dr. Phil.

“There was an altercation in which I defended myself,” she told Dr. Phil, adding that her husband flew into a rage after she called him a coward.

She also claimed in the interview that her husband abused her through their 11-month marriage, and she always kept quiet about it.

“I was really good at lying,” Hilberling said.

“That was our relationship: Josh getting in trouble over and over again and me saying, ‘Oh, no, it’s not his fault. That’s my fault. I did that.’

In October 2016, Amber committed suicide in her prison cell.

Sources:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/okla-woman-convicted-killing-husband-found-dead-cell-article-1.2844093

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2016/10/25/woman-who-pushed-husband-to-his-death-from-a-25th-floor-window-found-dead-in-prison-cell/

Discussion

Cyntoia Brown

Cyntoia Brown was convicted of murder for shooting and killing Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old man. She was aged 16 at the time, and had a physically and sexually abusive boyfriend named “Cut-throat”, who brandished guns at her and forced her into prostitution. She stated that she had been repeatedly raped, was on drugs, and afraid that she would be shot when she shot Allen.

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Cherelle Baldwin

Cherelle Baldwin was charged with the murder of her abusive ex-boyfriend.

Cherelle Baldwin, like many domestic abuse victims, loved her ex-boyfriend. Jeffrey Brown wasn’t all bad. He could be charming, loving and apologetic, despite a criminal record of selling guns, robbery and resisting arrest by his early 20s. They had a baby, a boy, before he moved in with another woman.

But it wasn’t over, at least for Brown. He used access to his son to repeatedly threaten Baldwin, taking her phone, credit cards and money. He beat her up in her home, causing Baldwin, who is eight inches shorter than Brown, to call the cops twice. After his last conviction in early May 2013 for breach of the peace, a reduced charge, Baldwin wanted to help him get anger management counseling. But the most she could do was get a court order barring more threats, harassment or assaults against her while he was visiting their son.

That order meant little, according to court records and Baldwin’s attorney. Days later, Brown abruptly showed up at Baldwin’s home as she was getting ready for work and took their 19-month-old from her, only returning him after she chased after Brown by driving on the wrong side of the road. Then his stalking increased.

That day, May 16, or two days before Brown died in a fight with Baldwin, he texted her 36 times. At first, he profusely apologized, but then he wanted her to give him money and to have sex. She tried to ignore him and replied that it was time to move on. The next day, he began texting again at 7:30am, and did not stop until after midnight when Brown texted that he was following her car. “I’m behind u lol [laugh out loud],” he wrote. On June 18, he started again at 6:36am, accusing her of lying. After 12 texts, she wrote, “Leave me alone!!!!” He replied, “N u will see how crazy shit will get today.”

When the police, firefighters and ambulances arrived two hours later, they found Brown crushed between Baldwin’s car and a cement wall at the end of the driveway. His hand clenched a two-inch-wide leather belt she told police he had used to whip her before she fled to the car. Below his body was her purse with her phone and credit cards. Baldwin was barefoot and in her night shirt on the ground beside the car, dazed and crying for her baby. She had a badly broken leg. The baby was in the house. Photos taken at a hospital afterward by her mother showed marks around her neck and streaks of raw skin across her back.

In February 2015, after a six-week trial, a jury voted 11-1 not to convict her. The state will retry the case.

News report June 11, 2013 “This is clearly a case of self-defense,” said Baldwin’s lawyer, Sam Kretzmer. “My client’s life was threatened.”

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Report at Rawstory.com March 10, 2015

Woman Accused Of Murdering Her Abusive Ex Goes Free After Almost 3 Years Behind Bars March 31, 2015

Jessica Silva

“I JUST grabbed the knife…

“Just to kind of scare him. I wasn’t thinking I was going to use it.”

It is a day Jessica Silva tries desperately to forget.

But three years on she said it still feels like yesterday and she knows that only by talking about it will she finally be free.

“He really made me believe that he was coming to kill me.”

In an interview with 60 Minutes, the 27-year-old opened up about the day she stabbed to death her estranged partner James Polkinghorne, 28, in the street outside her family’s Marrickville home in Sydney’s inner west.

Ms Silva admits her character was broken by years of domestic abuse and she carries guilt and remorse for the way the events of Mother’s Day 2012 unfolded.

Report

Note:

A jury found her not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter and a judge sentenced her to time already served.

Now her lawyer says she shouldn’t have been charged with anything and that he will seek a full acquittal in the Court of Criminal Appeal.

This is categorised as “exonerated”, even though technically there is no full acquittal yet.

Stacey Hyde

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Justice for Women ( who are advocating for Stacey ) | Facebook

Closed Group

Retrial Wednesday April 15, 2015.

Report on retrial May 21, 2015.

Exonerated May 21, 2015 – BBC Breaking News

Report in Wells Journal

Justice for Women, who campaigned on behalf of Miss Hyde have slammed the prosecutor Christopher Quinlan QC for “aggressively pursuing” the prosecution in the face of what they described as: “overwhelming evidence that undermined his case for murder. In particular, at the appeal the adolescent psychiatrist instructed by the Crown was unable to support the prosecution and instead gave evidence for the defence.”

Quinlan vigorously opposed applications for bail following the successful appeal, and Miss Hyde remained in custody for a further six months awaiting trial.

A spokesman for Justice for Women said that despite evidence in support of self defence, Miss Hyde was willing to plead guilty to manslaughter. These detailed representations were rejected although the DPP refused to provide reasons for her decision.

Speaking after the verdict, Miss Hyde said: “I would like to say thank you to Justice for Women, my legal team, friends and family for believing in me and giving me hope and strength to never give up. I will be forever grateful and blessed to have been given my life back.”

Report in Guardian 21 May 2015

Outside the court, Hyde said on Thursday: “I would like to say thank you to Justice for Women, my legal team, friends and family for believing in me and giving me hope and strength to never give up. I will be for ever grateful and blessed to have been given my life back.”

Francis, 33, also from Wells, had a history of violence towards women. It was acknowledged by the prosecution that there had been 27 separate incidents of domestic violence between him and his girlfriend, Holly Banwell, and that he had also been violent towards his previous girlfriend.

Report in Guardian 11 June 2015 “There are many more who need their cases re-examined’

Letter from defense team published in Guardian 16 June 2015

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.

Michelle Byrom

Featured Case #36 : Facebook page | Facebook Group | Proposal PostFeatured case post | Article

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.

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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Jodi Arias

Jodi Arias defended herself from repeated attacks by her abusive ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander after she dropped his camera.

The prosecution attempted to prove premeditated murder with a ridiculous circumstantial case based around Jodi using three gas cans (false), and changing her hair color on her trip to visit Travis (also false), among other rubbish cited as evidence of premeditated murder.

In addition the State changed it’s theory over the order of the injuries, in a blatant attempt to pit the testimony of the medical examiner against Jodi’s truthful testimony of what occurred. This culminated in a ridiculous claim that his own autopsy report had a “typographical error”.

The physical evidence shows Alexander was shot first, then he stands at the sink, indicating he did not anticipate further attack, consistent with Jodi’s testimony that she shot him by accident.

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Death penalty retrial commenced  29 September, 2014.
Jury hung in sentencing retrial 5 March, 2015.
Sentenced to natural life, April 13, 2015.

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.

Facebook page | Proposal Post Featured case post | Website | Article (also published here).

Debra Milke

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Retrial date : 2 February, 2015 – Facebook Page for Retrial

Update : Charges dropped 11 December, 2014.

Prosecution appeal to Arizona Supreme Court denied 17 March, 2015.

Entry at National Registry of Exonerations March 2015.

Darlie Routier

Darlie and her two sons were stabbed at her home on 6/6/1996. Allegedly performed elaborate staging of crime scene, including a bloody sock found 75 yards from her house. Has been waiting on Texas death row for new DNA tests to be performed since 2008. Extensive support from many innocence groups. Discredited “cargo cult science expert” Tom Bevel involved.

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Is this Texas mother a victim or a murderer? Death Row Stories, July 2015

Unidentified Fingerprint

A possible alternate suspect is serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards.

Darlie Routier is still on Death Row in Texas despite overwhelming evidence that her conviction for killing her own child is false, whilst Knox, Sollecito and Kiszko have been vindicated by the highest judicial authorities and telling evidence. The authors show how and why unfounded rumours still persist in the Knox/Sollecito case and advance a new theory that the Routier killings were the work of a notorious serial killer.
Three False Convictions, Many Lessons: The Psychopathology of Unjust Prosecutions Published 14 September 2016, by David C Anderson and Nigel P Scott
Update June 2018 : Darlie Routier Key Points