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.
Mary Jane Kimberly Lee Johns was found guilty on March 21, 2017 of kidnapping her former girlfriend, Laura Westphal, in May 2000.
According to a pre-trial ruling, Kim and Laura were in a romantic relationship from the summer of 1999 through April 2000. They lived in different states and used AOL instant messaging and e-mail to communicate.
Following their breakup, Kim appeared at Laura’s parent’s home in May 2000. When Laura returned to the home, the women departed on a drive to Iowa.
The prosecution allege Kim held Laura at gunpoint, forcing her to drive, and holding her hostage for eight days, threatened to kill Laura and would not let Laura out of her sight.
The defense say Kim did not kidnap Laura, saying that Laura left her home and traveled with Kim to avoid having her family discover her same-sex relationship and to ensure that Kim did not commit suicide.
Receipts were recovered showing they visited motels and shops, making it implausible that Kim could have held Laura at gunpoint for this length of time. The defense cite messages where Laura lied, was deceptive and concealed the same sex relationship.
Sentencing was set for August 17, 2017.
Holly McFeeture was convicted in 2013 for killing Matthew Podolak, the father of two of her children with antifreeze in 2006.
At sentencing, Holly’s family members said she was a loving parent and a loyal and trustworthy person, who coached little league and raised her children the best she could as a single mother. “My mom is the greatest mom in the world because she is sweet and kind…I miss her,” said message from Podolak’s two younger children. Holly’s 15-year-old daughter said her mother raised three beautiful and loving children and was always there for them.
Holly was a suspect in Podolak’s death since 2006 when a pathologist concluded he died from chronic intoxication by ethylene glycol, the active ingredient in antifreeze. She was not charged until 2012, after Cleveland police received a tip that the poisoning was not an accident or a suicide.
Podolak’s family always maintained that he didn’t kill himself and that he was suffering from medical problems in the months before his death that caused him pain.
Before the sentencing hearing, McFeeture’s attorneys asked that Corrigan overturn the jury verdicts and acquit McFeeture or grant her a new trial.
They argued that state had failed to tell them that a former boyfriend of McFeeture’s, who was a key witness against her, had testified in another murder trial that sent a man to prison last year.
Jordan argued that attorneys should have been able to question him about it so jurors could weigh it in terms of his credibility. Corrigan, however, denied the requests citing plenty of evidence and testimony that the jury heard questioning the Jamison Kennedy’s credibility — or lack of credibility.
Source: News report August 28, 2013
Amber 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.
Angelika Graswald was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Vincent Viafore, whose body was recovered from the Hudson River in April 2015.
Prosecutors said Graswald removed a nickle-sized drain plug on the top of the kayak to allow it to fill with water, however experts say the amount of water entering a small hole on the top of the kayak could be minimal compared to the amount of water splashing into Viafore’s open cockpit.
In a nearly 12-hour taped interrogation by police 10 days after Viafore disappeared, Graswald repeatedly denied killing her fiance and said her desperate calls to 911 were real.
Graswald also said during that interrogation, which she punctuated with yoga and hopscotch, that she was “OK” with Viafore’s death and “wanted him dead.”
Graswald told ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas in a November 2015 jailhouse interview that she was at her “breaking point” during the taped interrogation.
“Well they kept me asking me the same questions like a hundred times. I knew that I was innocent,” Graswald told Vargas. “I was at my breaking point. I just, I had it so I just gave ’em what they wanted.”
She also denied in the interview that she removed the plug from Viafore’s kayak with the intent to kill him, saying, “No, I did not.”
Graswald’s attorney, Richard Portale, said in a court hearing that Graswald may have miscarried a baby during an interrogation. He also claimed that his client asked investigators who “Miranda” was after she was read her Miranda rights, according to The Associated Press.
- New Twist in Case of NY Woman Accused of Fiance’s Kayak Murder June 2016
- Trial for Angelika Graswald, Accused of Kayak Murder of Fiancé, Set for Valentine’s Day December 2016.
Trial is set for February 14, 2017.
See also “Death on the Hudson“, 48 hours, Sep 12, 2015.
July 24, 2017 Plea deal agreed According to her attorney, Richard Portale, Graswald “will be home in December.”
Vanessa Cameron was convicted of murder of her son’s father in 2012. She was sentenced to 70 years. There was no physical evidence. Just a false confession from Vanessa and the testimony of the co-defendant Lakisha Brown. The alleged shooter was acquitted of murder. The real shooter plead guilty and received 25 years. The real shooter is Vanessa’s older sister Susan Sutton. All facts of the case can be read on www.freevanessa.com.
Lorinda Swain was convicted in 2002 for sexually abusing her adopted son.
But her son later told the court he’d lied about the abuse. After more than seven years in prison, Swain was let out on bond when a judge ruled she deserved a new trial.
But the Court of Appeals overruled that decision two separate times.
Source: What does an innocent person have to do to get their conviction overturned? April 4, 2016
Calhoun Co. prosecutor won’t retry Lorinda Swain May 19, 2016
“In an order issued Wednesday, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Swain was entitled to a new trial. Later the same day, Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert told 24 Hour News 8 that his office would not move forward with the retrial.”
This nightmare began on the evening of October 3, 2008 when Amanda’s goddaughter, whom she was caring for, climbed out of her Pack ‘n Play and fell to the floor in Amanda’s home. She seemed fine after a brief period of fussing then played and had a snack before going to bed for the night. She actually was injured far more than anyone could have suspected and died a few hours later in her sleep. Her death was devastating, but this accidental tragedy turned into the unthinkable when Amanda was arrested the following June and subsequently charged with Capital Murder, Aggravated Child Abuse, and Manslaughter of a Child.
Amanda’s biological father is Billy Bob Thornton. We believe his Hollywood celebrity status had adverse influence on the police and Medical Examiner investigations, which ultimately influenced the filing of charges in the first place and led to inaccurate sensationalized press reporting.
Amanda’s trial began May 23, 2011, the day before and in the same courthouse as Casey Anthony’s trial. We believe the heinous facts associates with the Anthony case and its vast media coverage created a powerful public awareness that impacted the ability for Amanda to have a fair trial. The notoriety of the Anthony case led to a community mindset with far reaching adverse influence that greatly overshadowed Amanda’s innocence.
We believe these wrongful charges were based on medical opinions that have no evidentiary basis and defy common sense. Furthermore,recent acknowledgements within the legal and medical communities support the fact that the theory behind Shaken Baby Syndrome is junk science.
Amanda was acquitted of Murder and Aggravated Child Abuse, but found guilty of Aggravated Manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. No motive, no eyewitness testimony, no prior record, no physical evidence that Amanda ever harmed her goddaughter in any way, yet Amanda is in in prison.
Amanda is now represented by The Innocence Projects of Florida and Wisconsin. A motion for Post Conviction Relief was filed in January, 2015.
We believe Amanda was falsely accused, egregiously charged, and wrongfully convicted. Amanda is innocent and did not receive a fair trial.
Copied from website https://freeamandabrumfield.wordpress.com/
Pamela Smart was convicted of conspiring with her 16-year-old lover, William Flynn, and three of his friends to kill her 24-year-old husband, Greggory Smart, on May 1, 1990, in Derry, New Hampshire.
This was largely as a result of the testimony of Flynn and his friends, who were treated leniently in exchange for their testimony, and secretly taped conversations in which Pamela appeared to contradict her claims of having wanted to reconcile with her husband and having no knowledge of the plot. She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole.
Supporters say the taped conversations via wiretap were inaudible. For that reason the court had them transcribed by a secretary, not an expert, and therefore they were not transcribed properly and the person who transcribed the tapes cannot be named or found. Sentences spoken by Cecilia Pierce were attributed to Pamela Smart and vice versa.
Pamela did say incriminating things on the tapes, but there is an obvious innocent explanation – she pretended to be in the conspiracy to try to get an admission from one of the guilty parties (Cecilia Pierce), but it back-fired big-time. She knew the conversation was being recorded.
Bill Flynn was a drug addict and petty thief , Patrick Randall an aspiring hitman. Pamela only knew Bill Flynn, she admitted having an affair with him, this would doubtless not have gone down well with the jury.
Bill Flynn was no innocent. He was having sex with another woman at the same time he was having the affair with Pamela.
Pamela was implausibly accused of seducing 15-year-old Flynn and threatening to stop having sex with him unless he killed her husband.
The judge permitted the murderers to be housed together, giving them ample time and opportunity to coordinate their stories and even watch each other testify in live time on televisions in the jail.
Connie Oakes was wrongly convicted of fatally stabbing Casey Armstrong in the neck while he sat in the bathtub of his Medicine Hat trailer in May 2011.
The conviction was based on a confession from Wendy Scott, who has an IQ of 50 and had accused three others of the murder.
Scott subsequently retracted her confession, and her conviction has been overturned, due to a lack of corroborative physical evidence.
In January 2016, one of Connie’s lawyers told an appeal court “This verdict was not supported by any reasonable use of evidence, this is a person who has a history of blaming other people of murder. She has provided sworn testimony once again. This is troubling.”
Source: ‘I want to see her set free’: Defence seeks new trial for Connie Oakes in fatal Medicine Hat stabbing Calgary Herald, 12 January 2016.
Tyra Patterson was sentenced in December 1995 to spend the rest of her life in prison, for having participated in a robbery of a group of white girls in a car the previous year. At the end of the robbery, Michelle Lai was shot in the head and killed.
In an affidavit from 2013, LaShawna Keeney, the confessed shooter, expressed remorse for the “horrible crime I committed”. She went on to say that Patterson had not been involved in the robbery but had tried to stop it: “She walked up to me and told me to leave the victims alone.”
Source: A tale of two Tyras Guardian, 14 Jan 2016
Suzanne was convicted of assault on a child causing death ( shaken baby ), it made no sense but experts thought at the time the only explanation of three symptoms was shaking.
The judge said she was obviously an exemplary, caring, and loving lady, but the medical science established her guilt.
However it is now known that a short fall, like a fall from a high chair, can result in trauma sufficient to cause an infant’s death. Additionally, death from a short fall injury is more probable when an infant has a previous skull injury. In fact, when Jasmine fell from her high chair, she had an existing skull fracture that had occurred months earlier. The preexisting skull fracture was confirmed by Jasmine’s failure to thrive, physical discomfort, feeding problems, constant crying, and by autopsy findings.
Full description is at http://californiainnocenceproject.org/read…/suzanne-johnson/
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.
Petition closed with 25,734 supporters
She was convicted due to the testimony of Johnny Lopez, who confessed to killing Curtis.
Lopez testified that a third man, Mark Dixon, had told him Barbara would pay him $30,000 to kill Curtis.
Lopez gave many different statements before implicating Barbara. Mark Dixon did not testify.
More information on the trial here.
On May 12, 1992, two members of the Latin Kings were shot and killed in a Humboldt Park bathroom. At 9:00 p.m. the next evening, Chicago police arrested Marilyn Mulero and Jackie Montanez, took the women to Humboldt Park, and interrogated them about the murders. The officers displayed Marilyn and Montanez to Latin King members, which associated the women with the crimes. After being displayed, detectives separately interviewed the women. Police denied Marilyn legal representation and questioned her for over nine hours in her non-native language.
After interrogation without counsel or sleep, Marilyn signed a prepared statement, which implicated her for both murders. Marilyn’s attorney, Jeremiah Lynch, entered a blind plea of guilty, paving the way for Mulero’s death sentence. Lynch failed to provide Marilyn an accurate and honest assessment of the strength of her case. Lynch’s representation fell far below the objective and professional standards of reasonableness. Lynch did not interview a single witness, police officer, or verify any witness accounts, despite the fact that Marilyn maintained her innocence. In total, Lynch only spent about ten minutes with Marilyn. Shortly after a court sentenced Marilyn to death, Lynch quit the legal profession and entered priesthood.
The prosecution’s key witness, Jackie Serrano, claimed she witnessed the murders through her apartment window. Serrano saw three women and two men in the park from her apartment. Serrano saw the taller woman enter the bathroom with a man and heard a firecracker sound. Serrano saw the tallest woman leave the bathroom, without the man, and saw the shorter woman shoot the other man in the back of his head.
Subsequent investigation showed it was impossible for Serrano to observe the homicide. In addition, law enforcement officers, with almost two decades of experience, concluded Serrano’s account was impossible. Not only was it impossible to hear a gunshot or a verbal conversation, but it was physically impossible for anyone, at night, to have seen the murder from Serrano’s apartment, over 489 feet away. Montanez later admitted to shooting both men.
Despite strong evidence of innocence, Mulero has been wrongfully incarcerated for over two decades. She maintains her innocence and the California Innocence Project is working toward her exoneration.
Rachel Moore is serving a life sentence in Mississippi for shooting her abusive husband.
After Rachel’s husband beat her one evening, she grabbed a shotgun. She fired a warning shot into the air and gave him several verbal warnings to stay away from her. When he continued to approach her, she shot him.
Kimberly Long spent the day of Oct. 5, 2003, bar-hopping around the Corona area with her boyfriend, Oswaldo “Ozzy” Conde, and their friend, Jeff Dills.
The three ended the day at a bar called Maverick’s and then went to the home she shared with Long, around 11 p.m. There, she and Conde got into a fight, after which Long left with Dills to cool off.
She returned home around 2 a.m. on Oct. 6. During a recent phone interview from the California Institution for Women in Corona, about 65 miles from Palm Springs, Long choked back tears while talking about that night.
“I remember walking through the door, and it was unlocked when I came in. I saw a light on in the back. I kicked off my shoes, and I saw Ozzy on the couch, and I called his name,” said Long, who was an emergency-room nurse at the time. “I walked over to the light to turn it on, and when I did that, I turned around, and I saw a big blood stain on the couch. I saw him and I realized that something went wrong.
Kimberley called 911, but was later charged and convicted of murder. The prosecution alleged Kimberley killed Conde and then changed her clothes before dialing 911, however while there was reportedly blood on every wall of the living room, there was no blood on Long or her clothing. The drains inside and outside of the house were dry, indicating there wasn’t an attempted cleanup.
Kimberley Long’s first trial ended in a hung jury, with nine of the 12 jurors voting to acquit. In 2009, her second trial ended in a guilty verdict for second-degree murder—even though the judge himself stated he would have acquitted her. Two alternate jurors also reportedly said later that something must have gone wrong during deliberations, because the evidence against Long was very thin. She was given a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
Conviction overturned, released on bail June 2016