Rank #1: S7E1: Kim Kardashian West & Jason Flom Join Forces to Advocate for Criminal Justice Reform and Clemency
Kim Kardashian West first heard about Alice Marie Johnson through a short video about Johnson’s life behind bars on Twitter. Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old-great-grandmother, was given a life sentence for a first-time-nonviolent-drug-related crime and was not eligible for parole. At the time, Johnson had already been in prison for 21 years. Kardashian West retweeted that video from Mic.com saying “This is so unfair” on October 25, 2017. That single tweet and Johnson’s story moved Kardashian West and ignited a passion in her for criminal justice reform. It became her mission to help free Johnson and reunite her with the family she missed so much. Kardashian West’s journey took her to the White House where she personally petitioned for a pardon of Johnson’s criminal offenses and on June 6, 2018, President Donald Trump granted clemency to Alice Marie Johnson. In this special edition of Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom, Kardashian West discusses her commitment to criminal justice reform and how she plans to continue using her voice to advocate on behalf of those behind bars.
Sep 05 2018
Rank #2: S8E1: Did a Fatal Attraction Lead to a Wrongful Conviction? The Story of Jens Soering
Jens Soering is serving two consecutive life terms for a case of double homicide, the murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom in 1985–a crime he says he did not commit. On June 8, 1986, Jens Soering, the son of a former German diplomat Jens Soering falsely confessed to killing Haysoms. He also told police he cut his hand in the process. Soering "took the rap" for his girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, to save her from the death penalty for killing her parents.
At Soering's trial, prosecutor Jim Updike told the jury that Soering's confession was corroborated by several drops of type O blood at the crime scene. Soering had type O, none of the other people involved in the crime did, so the blood had to be his. Updike repeated this claim 26 times. A comparison of lab reports showed that DNA tests had eliminated Jens Soering as a possible source of the type O blood at the scene. The same blood that in 1990 suggested his guilt now proved his innocence. He could not have cut his hand while killing the Haysoms, as he had "confessed" in 1986, because the type O blood had a different genetic profile than his. Another (unknown) man had cut himself and bled at the scene. In 2017 two independent DNA scientists confirmed these findings: Dr. Moses Schanfield of George Washington University and Dr. Thomas McClintock of Liberty University. They also found DNA evidence showing the presence of a second unknown man with type AB blood.
The crime remains unsolved and Jens Soering has remained behind bars for over 32 years.
In this gripping interview with Jens Soering, Jason Flom is joined by novelist John Grisham and Sheriff J.E. "Chip” Harding of Albemarle County, Va, both of whom have advocated on Soering’s behalf.
Feb 04 2019
Rank #3: S1E4: Love is Better Than Revenge: The Wrongful Conviction of Sunny Jacobs
In 1976, Sonia 'Sunny Jacobs was sentenced to death for the murders of Florida Highway Patrol officer Phillip Black and Donald Irwin, a visiting Canadian constable. The officers were killed during a traffic stop where Sunny was traveling with her boyfriend, Jesse Tafero, and her two children, Eric, nine, and Christina, 10 months, in a car driven by Walter Rhodes. After officers approached the vehicle, Rhodes fired shots at them, a gun battle ensued and chaos erupted. Sunny and Jesse were arrested and both of their children were taken away by the state. Rhodes negotiated a plea bargain with the state, claiming Jesse and Sunny had pulled the triggers, in exchange for a life sentence. In 1990, Jesse was executed by the state of Florida in horrific circumstances. Sunny spent five years in isolation on Floridas Death Row and a total of 17 years in a maximum-security prison before her conviction was overturned. Sunny was freed in 1992 when she was 45 years old. In this episode, Jason talks with Sunny, her current husband, exoneree Peter Pringle, and her daughter Christina who as a child was also a victim of this tragic injustice. www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com www.revolverpodcasts.com
Oct 24 2016
Rank #4: S8E8: A Tale of Two Systems: The Story of Kenzi Snider
On March 18, 2001, Jamie Penich—an American exchange student in South Korea—was brutally murdered in her motel room after a night of partying with friends from the program. Her bloodied nude body was found on the floor. She was stomped to death. Her face was covered with a black fleece jacket.
Kenzi Snider, a 19 year-old student from Marshall University, in West Virginia, was one of the friends Jamie was with. About a half dozen exchange students had traveled from campus into the city, where they celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in a bar filled with locals and US soldiers. Korean police and army investigators were unable to solve this horrific crime.
One year later, in February 2002, FBI agents contacted Kenzi out of the blue. She was back in school in West Virginia. They wanted to talk—alone. She met with three agents on three consecutive days for several hours.
The sessions were grueling. When it was done, Kenzi had confessed. She murdered her friend, she said, in the context of a drunken sexual encounter.
Kenzi was promptly arrested, incarcerated in a local jail for ten months, and extradited to Korea to stand trial. There, she then spent another six months in jail. Then a panel of judges found her not guilty. The prosecutor appealed the verdict but months later an appeals court confirmed: Not guilty. In 2006, five years after the crime, in response to yet another appeal, the Supreme Court of Korea once again affirmed: NOT GUILTY.
This was eighteen years ago. Today we know a whole lot more than we did then about false confessions. Kenzi Snider has been fully acquitted in court. Yet her confession haunts her—and leads some people still to question her actual innocence.
Jason Flom is joined by Kenzi Snider, renowned psychologist Saul Kassin best known for his groundbreaking work on false confessions, and his student Patty Sanchez. Sanchez is currently studying the effect of podcasts and media influence on the outcome of legal cases.
Mar 25 2019
Rank #5: S2E1: The Wrongful Conviction of Amanda Knox
The Wrongful Conviction of Amanda Knox
Amanda Knox was convicted of the murder of a 21-year-old British exchange student, Meredith Kercher, who died from knife wounds in the apartment she shared with Amanda in Perugia, Italy in 2007. Amanda and her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were both found guilty of killing Kercher, receiving 26- and 25-year prison sentences, respectively. Their convictions were subsequently overturned in 2011, and she was released from prison after serving four years. In early 2014, the Italian Supreme Court ruled that they should both stand trial again, and she and Sollecito were re-convicted. Finally, in March 2015, the Italian Supreme Court overturned both murder convictions, ending their eight-year ordeal. Amanda Knox is currently a New York Timesbestselling author, the host of the Scarlet Letter Reports on Broadly/Vice, and the host of The Truth About True Crime, a Sundance AMC podcast series.
Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava For Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1 and PRX.
Feb 06 2017
Rank #6: S4E9: Noura Jackson: Wrongfully Convicted Of Murdering Her Mother After Prosecutors Withheld Evidence Of Her Innocence
Noura Jackson: Wrongfully Convicted of Murdering Her Mother After Prosecutors Withheld Evidence of Her Innocence
Noura Jackson was egregiously framed and wrongfully convicted of murdering her mother, Jennifer Jackson, in Memphis, TN in 2005. Amazingly she spent over three years in jail awaiting trial before being sentenced to 20 years and nine months in prison. No physical evidence linked Noura to the murder, and DNA testing not only excluded her as a suspect, but it also suggested that two or three different people were present at the crime scene. The Supreme Court of Tennessee overturned her conviction, unanimously in 2014, and in their 5-0 decision they made strong statements about the misconduct that took place during her trial. The prosecutors threatened to retry Noura, and she was faced with little choice but to accept an Alford Plea in 2015. Noura Jackson was then sent back to prison for 15 months before she was finally released in 2016, after serving 11 years in prison. She is joined by one of her lawyers, Bryce Benjet, Senior Staff Attorney at the Innocence Project, in this episode.
Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava For Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1 and PRX.
Nov 20 2017
Rank #7: S1E5: The Wrongful Conviction of Derrick Hamilton
Derrick Hamilton was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1991 and served over two decades in prison after he was framed by the disgraced Detective Louis Scarcella. During an initial stint in prison in his teens for a separate wrongful conviction, Hamilton began studying in the prisons law library, eventually earning reputation as one of the most highly skilled jailhouse lawyers in the country. When he wasnt fighting to prove his own innocence, Hamilton worked pro bono on the cases of his fellow inmates, and he formed the Actual Innocence Team with other jailhouse lawyers serving time. Hamilton was released on parole in 2011 and finally cleared his name in 2014. Today, he continues to work as a paralegal on wrongful conviction cases. www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com www.revolverpodcasts.com
Oct 31 2016
Rank #8: S7E3: A Decade Later: The Wrongful Conviction of Amanda Knox
It’s been over 10 years since the murder of Meredith Kercher, British exchange student killer while studying abroad in Italy. That crime sent an innocent American student named Amanda Knox to prison for four years . At just 20 years old Knox became embroiled in an international scandal that captivated the world. The guilty verdict at Knox's initial trial and her 26-year sentence caused international controversy, as U.S. forensic experts thought evidence at the crime scene didn’t make sense. After her eventual release, Amanda returned to the United States to rebuild her life. Amanda was the first guest on season 2 of Wrongful Conviction as we begin this, our seventh season, we are looking back.
Please make sure to check out Amanda’s new show“The Scarlett Letter Reports” available on Facebook Watch. Amanda sits down with women from all of walks of life to discuss the deeply personal journey of being sexualized, scrutinized, and demonized by the media — and how they’ve rebuilt their lives after their most personal details have been made public.
Sep 17 2018
Rank #9: S4E10: Michelle Murphy: A Teenage Mother Wrongfully Convicted and Sentenced To Life For The Murder Of Her Baby
Michelle Murphy: A Teenage Mother Wrongfully Convicted and Sentenced To Life For the Murder of Her Baby
On September 12th, 1994, 17-year-old Michelle Murphy found her 15-week-old son stabbed to death in her kitchen. After being questioned without a parent or guardian present, which was prohibited under Oklahoma law, Michelle falsely confessed to the crime. Her 14-year-old neighbor William Lee testified during the preliminary hearing that he had walked around her house that evening and reportedly saw Michelle with the dead infant but did not report it to the police. Testing of blood at the scene of the crime excluded Michelle Murphy as a suspect, but at trial prosecution falsely implied that it matched Michelle’s blood type. In 1995, she was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. She was forced to give her only living child up for adoption, daughter Michelle. In 2014, the Innocence Project joined Michelle’s defense team and conducted more DNA testing, yielding results that the bloodstains at the crime scene revealed that there was an unidentified male present that night. On September 12th, 2014, Michelle Murphy was declared innocent, after having spent 20 years behind bars.
Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava For Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1 and PRX.
Nov 27 2017
Rank #10: S3E1: Confess Or Die: Beating A False Confession Into Johnny Hincapie For The Murder Of A Hero
Johnny Hincapie was convicted as part of a gang that murdered 22-year-old tourist Brian Watkins, even though he himself was not charged with the act and neither the victim’s family nor the other attackers identified him as a perpetrator. In 1990, Brian Watkins and his family were attacked on a New York City subway platform by a group of 6 to 8 teenagers when they were in town for the U.S. Open, resulting in the death of Watkins as he tried to defend his parents. Mr. Hincapie was only 18 years old at the time, and he did not have a lawyer present during his interrogation. He falsely confessed to the crime, after being tortured by police who threatened to kill him. After spending 25 years in prison, Mr. Hincapie’s conviction was overturned based on the statements of several witnesses who testified that he was in fact not a part of the group of attackers. He was formally exonerated in January 2017.
Jun 12 2017
Rank #11: S8E5: A Child Discarded: The Wrongful Conviction of Darnell Phillips
A Child Discarded: The Wrongful Conviction of Darnell Phillips
Darnell Phillips served 28 years for a crime he did not commit. He was sentenced to 100 years in prison for the 1990 rape of a child in Virginia Beach. In 2015, the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Virginia found physical evidence, and in 2017, DNA testing proved that Darnell was not at the scene of the crime. In this compelling interview, Darnell shares the devastating story of his conviction and his hopes for his future as a free man. He is also joined by Lisa Spees, Director of Virginians for Judicial Reform.
Mar 04 2019
Rank #12: S4E1: Wrongful Conviction Behind Bars: Lamonte McIntyre Tells His Terrifying Story Of Being Framed By A Dirty Cop and Crushed By A Corrupt System As He Awaits A hearing From Inside Lansing Correctional Facility
For this special edition of Wrongful Conviction Behind Bars, Jason Flom shines a light on the case of Lamonte McIntyre, who is currently serving two life sentences at Lansing Correctional Facility, in advance of his upcoming court date on October 12th, 2017. On the afternoon of April 15th, 1994, two men were sitting in a powder-blue Cadillac in the Quindaro neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas. A man dressed in black ran up to the passenger side, raised a shotgun and fired four rounds in what looked like a drug-related hit, killing the two passengers Doniel Quinn and Donald Ewing. Within six hours of the shooting, police detective Roger Golubski had begun the process of framing Lamonte McIntyre. Mr. McIntyre, who was 17 at the time, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Even though there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime, he was found guilty by a jury after a trial that lasted only three days and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. At trial, the prosecutor did not establish a motive and relied on the testimonies of two eyewitnesses who identified Mr. McIntyre as the shooter. Ruby Mitchell claimed in an initial interview with police that she recognized the attacker and that his name was “Lamonte something” and had previously dated her niece. She stated after the trial that Mr. McIntyre was not the man she was referring to and in a 2011 affidavit, Ruby Mitchell claimed that Golubski had made sexual advances towards her on the day of the crime, causing her to fear he was going to arrest her for solicitation. The other eyewitness who testified for the prosecution, Niko Quinn has since recanted, attesting that she realized that she misidentified McIntyre as soon as she saw him in the courtroom, but that when she told this to the prosecutor, Terra Morehead, Morehead threatened to take away custody of her children. Additional procedural misconduct during Mr. McIntyre’s trial includes an undisclosed sexual relationship between the judge and the prosecutor, Terra Morehead, and the failure to disclose to the defense that there were two witnesses who believed that Mr. McIntyre was not the shooter. Mr. McIntyre’s court-appointed attorney, Gary Long, was on supervised probation at the time of the trial for failing to diligently handle three prior cases. In 1997, he was suspended from legal practice for failure to adequately handle a separate criminal case, and he was disbarred in 1998. Several months after the trial, a juror contacted the prosecutor and stated his misgivings about the verdict. The family of the victims have steadfastly proclaimed their belief in Mr. McIntyre’s innocence. In June 2016, Cheryl Pilate, a Kansas City attorney working with the Centurion Project filed a motion for exoneration after seven years of gathering evidence. The motion to exonerate Mr. McIntyre, who is now 40-years-old and serving time at Lansing Correctional Facility, contains accusations that police detective Roger Golubski pursued sex with women who worked as prostitutes and used drugs. Mr. McIntyre’s lawyers obtained affidavits from several witnesses — including former FBI agent Al Jennerich and two former members of the KCK police department — who say Golubski used his authority and access to drugs to initiate sex with vulnerable black women. Listen to Jason Flom’s explosive interviews with Lamonte McIntyre, his attorney Cheryl Pilate and former FBI agent Al Jennerich as they unravel the case and expose the systematic flaws that led to this miscarriage of justice. An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for October 12th, 2017, at which point the judge will have the option to vacate the conviction or give Mr. McIntyre a new trial.
Sep 25 2017
Rank #13: S5E11: A Gruesome Murder, An Impossible Scenario And A Sloppy But Ultimately Successful Frame Up: The Terrible Saga Of Andre Hatchett's 25 Years Behind Bars For A Crime He Did Not Commit
Andre Hatchett spent half of his life in prison for a murder he did not commit largely due to inadequate defense, a single unreliable witness, and exculpatory evidence that was not disclosed to the defense. He was the 19th person to be exonerated under Brooklyn D.A. Ken Thompson's Conviction Integrity Unit. Andre Hatchett is joined by Senior Staff Attorney at the Innocence Project Seema Saifee and his brother Jerry Hatchett in this episode.
May 14 2018
Rank #14: S5E7: Convicted Of A Grisly Murder & Mutilation Even Though She Was 200 Miles Away With An Airtight Alibi: The Insane Saga Of Blaise Lobato
Blaise Lobato was twice convicted of the gruesome murder of a 44-year-old homeless man named Duran Bailey, whose body was found behind a dumpster off the Las Vegas Strip just after 10 p.m. on July 8, 2001, covered in a thin layer of trash. Bailey’s teeth had been knocked out and his eyes were bloodied and swollen shut; his carotid artery had been slashed, his rectum stabbed, and his penis amputated. It was found among the trash nearby. Despite a crime scene rich with potential evidence, Las Vegas detectives Thomas Thowsen and James LaRochelle ignored obvious leads and instead focused their investigation on 18-year-old Blaise Lobato, based solely on a third-hand rumor. Ms. Lobato became a suspect because of an attack she fended off in Las Vegas in May 2001. A man attempted to rape her, and she fought him off with a knife, slashing him in the groin area before escaping in her car. In July, police drove up to the small town of Panaca to interview Ms. Lobato about the incident. On the day of the crime, she was at home with her parents in Panaca, which was nearly three hours northeast of Las Vegas near the Utah state line. She was forthcoming with police and described an incident entirely different from Bailey’s murder. When the police told her that the man had died, she mistakenly believed it was the same man that had attacked her, and she expressed remorse, which the police took to be a confession. Even though there was not a shred of physical evidence linking Blaise Lobato to the crime scene, on May 18, 2002, she was convicted of first degree murder and sexual penetration of a dead body and sentenced to 40 to 100 years. The state’s theory of the crime fell apart in October 2017, when Vanessa Potkin, Director of Post-Conviction Litigation at the Innocence Project, and a team of attorneys presented nearly a week’s worth of testimony from several renowned entomologists and a medical examiner, each of whom demonstrated why the state’s narrative never made any scientific sense. On December 19, 2017, the judge vacated Ms. Lobato’s conviction and ordered a new trial. The grounds were inadequate legal defense for failing to call an expert to challenge the time of death, given that it was such a pivotal issue. Ten days later, the prosecution dropped all charges, and Blaise Lobato was freed after serving almost 16 years on prison. In this episode she is joined by two of her Innocence Project attorneys, Jane Putcher & Adnan Salter.
Please link to Blaise's gofundme: https://www.gofundme.com/kirstinlobatolibertyfund
Apr 16 2018
Rank #15: S4E13: David McCallum With The Men Who Helped Free Him After 29 Years In Prison For A Crime He Didn’t Commit: Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez And Oscar Michelen
David McCallum and Willie Stuckey were both 16 when they were convicted of forcing a 20-year-old man into his Buick Regal at gunpoint in Ozone Park, Queens, killing him with a single gunshot to the head, then leaving his body in Aberdeen Park in Bushwick, Brooklyn. After being beaten by police and coerced into confessing, David McCallum and Willie Stuckey gave brief and contradictory confessions, each pinning the homicide on the other. They both recanted the confessions almost immediately and rejected offers to plead guilty in return for prison sentences of 15 years to life.
On October 27th, 1986, a jury convicted them both of second-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery and criminal use of a weapon, and they were each sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Mr. Stuckey died of a heart attack behind bars 16 years into his sentence in 2001, but Mr. McCallum persevered in trying to clear his name. After exhausting all of his appeals, Mr. McCallum’s attorney, Oscar Michelen approached Brooklyn District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit, and in 2014 District Attorney Ken Thompson's office and the Conviction Review Unit completed their reviews of McCallum's case, finding that there was no DNA evidence, physical evidence or credible testimony to link Mr. McCallum or Mr. Stuckey to the abduction or killing of the victim. On October 15, 2014, David McCallum and the late Willie Stuckey’s convictions were thrown out at DA Thompson’s request, and David McCallum was freed after serving nearly 30 years behind bars.
In this special episode of Wrongful Conviction, Mr. McCallum is joined by Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez as well as attorney Oscar Michelen. Promoted by the late District Attorney Ken Thompson in 2014, Eric Gonzalez successfully guided the launch of several of the late DA Ken Thompson’s key initiatives, including the creation of the Conviction Review Unit, which has vacated over 20 unjust convictions to date and has been held up as a national model for other prosecutors’ offices. DA Gonzalez was sworn in as Acting District Attorney in October of 2016 after the passing of DA Thompson.
Dec 18 2017
Rank #16: S7E5: Damien Echols Survived Death Row and Now He is Sharing The Spiritual Practices That Saved His Life With the World.
DAMIEN ECHOLS was born in 1974 and grew up in Mississippi, Tennessee, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. His wrongful conviction, sentencing, and eventual release as part of the West Memphis Three case is the subject of Paradise Lost, a three-part documentary series produced by HBO, and West of Memphis, a documentary produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh.
The West Memphis Three are three men who – while teenagers – were tried and convicted, in 1994, of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Damien Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences, and Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment. During the trial, the prosecution asserted that the children were killed as part of a Satanic ritual.
In July 2007, new forensic evidence was presented in the case. A status report jointly issued by the state and the defense team stated: "Although most of the genetic material recovered from the scene was attributable to the victims of the offenses, some of it cannot be attributed to either the victims or the defendants." On October 29, 2007, the defense filed a Second Amended Writ of Habeas Corpus, outlining the new evidence.
Following a 2010 decision by the Arkansas Supreme Court regarding newly produced DNA evidence and potential juror misconduct, the West Memphis Three negotiated a plea bargain with prosecutors. On August 19, 2011, they entered Alford pleas, which allowed them to assert their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict them. Judge David Laser accepted the pleas and sentenced the three to time served. They were released with 10-year suspended sentences, having served 18 years and 78 days in prison.
While in prison, Damien was ordained into the Rinzai Zen Buddhist tradition. Today he teaches classes on Magick around the country and works as a visual artist. He and wife Lorri live in New York City with their three cats.
Damien is also the author of High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row and the New York Times bestseller Life After Death and Yours For Eternity (with his wife Lorri Davis).
Connect with Damien Echols - @DamienEchols
This episode was recorded live in front of a studio audience at the opening of The Church of Rock & Roll
Oct 01 2018
Rank #17: S1E6: The Wrongful Conviction of Marty Tankleff
The Wrongful Conviction of Marty Tankleff
Marty Tankleff had just turned 17 when he was arrested for murdering his parents, Seymour and Arlene Tankleff in September 1988. Based on an unsigned “confession" extracted from him following many long hours of interrogation by notorious Suffolk County detective K. James McCready, Marty was convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. After serving 17 years, Marty's conviction was vacated by the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department, in December of 2007. On July 22, 2008, a judge signed off on a motion by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to dismiss all charges against Marty. Marty recently passed the bar exam and is pursuing a career as an attorney, advocating criminal justice reform and wrongful convictions.
Nov 07 2016
Rank #18: S5E9: After 38 Years Still Behind Bars For A Triple Murder That The Real Killer Confessed To On The Day Of The Crime: The Unreal Saga Of John Moss
After 38 Years Still Behind Bars For a Triple Murder That The Real Killer Confessed To On The Day Of The Crime: The Unreal Saga of John Moss
In December 1979, a triple murder shook the small town of St. Albans, WV. John Moss III was convicted in 1983 and sentenced to life in prison, and he has since served 38 years for this crime that he did not commit. Jason Flom teams up with Georgetown University Professor of Government and Law, Marc Howard, and his student, Jessica Scoratow, to interview John Moss from behind bars in West Virginia and unravel the saga behind this tragic miscarriage of justice. On December 13th, 1979, in St. Albans, WV, twenty-six-year-old Vanessa Reggettz and her two young children, Paul Eric and Bernadette, were strangled to death by electrical cords. The murders were gruesome–Vanessa was brutally beaten and stabbed with scissors, Paul Eric was left in a bathtub, and Bernadette was hung from a door. Paul Reggettz, the husband of Vanessa and the father of Bernadette and Paul Eric, was immediately taken into custody and after being interrogated for hours, he confessed in graphic detail and reenacted the crime for investigators. Reggettz was indicted on three counts of first-degree murder and held in pre-trial detention for eleven months. Charges were dropped, however, when John Moss, a 17-year-old former neighbor, was arrested for the murders instead. In October 1980, West Virginia State Police investigators traveled to interview John Moss in Ohio, where he was being held in juvenile detention for an unrelated crime. John denied any involvement in the murders, and the troopers took a blood sample from him without his parents’ consent or a court order. They returned to pick him up five months later to take him into custody. The policemen in the car claimed that John confessed to the murders. He then gave a tape-recorded confession. The police stated that John confessed again a third time, but there is no recording or written record of the confession. John maintains that he was coerced, beaten, and threatened during interrogations. Armed with these confessions, however, Kanawha County, West Virginia authorities charged John Moss with three counts of first-degree murder and brought him to Charleston to stand trial for the Reggettz slayings in 1985. Importantly, there was blood at the scene of the crime that did not match any of the family members, and the blood was found to match Moss’s blood type. The blood sample was tested by Fred Zain, the infamous lab technician later convicted of falsifying blood evidence in over 134 cases spanning decades, and later destroyed after the conviction. On April 30, 1983, John Moss was convicted of the murders after fourteen hours of jury deliberation and sentenced to three life sentences without the possibility of parole in 1985. He was convicted again in 1990 after his first trial was thrown out for judicial errors in jury polling and prosecutorial misconduct. John Moss has been incarcerated in West Virginia for 38 years, filing numerous appeals alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and challenging Fred Zain's testimony, the validity of his confessions, and arguments about the purportedly stolen items. His appeals have thus far been unsuccessful, and without new evidence, his options for further appeals are limited. For more information visit https://www.justiceforjohnmoss.com
Apr 30 2018
Rank #19: S7E2: Falsely Accused: The Devastating Story of Susan King's Wrongful Conviction and the Detective Who Lied To Make It Happen
Susan King served nearly seven years behind bars for a crime she didn’t commit. Then in 2012, another man confessed to that crime. In November 1998, a fisherman found the body of 40-year-old Kyle Breeden in the Kentucky River near Gratz, Kentucky. He had been shot in the head twice with .22 caliber magnum bullets and his legs were bound with guitar amplifier cord. He had last been seen October 26, 1998. Kentucky State Police was never able to solve the crime. Almost eight years later, Detective Todd Harwood made it his mission to solve the cold case. He pinned the murder on Susan King who had dated Breeden on and off for some time. The detective claimed King threw a 200-pound body over a bridge. But that was impossible because King only has one leg and she only weighed 90 pounds. Then in 2012, the actual murderer confessed to the crime.
Sep 10 2018
Rank #20: S5E1: A Cold Case, A False Confession & The Diabolical Truth: Jason Strong’s Vindication After 15 Years Locked Up In Hell
In December 1999, the body of an unidentified young woman was found beaten to death in a forest preserve near North Chicago in Lake County, IL. Ten days after the body was discovered, Jeremy Tweedy, Jason Johnson and Jason Strong were brought in for questioning after Tweedy mentioned the woman's death to an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute. Police charged 24-year-old Jason Strong with first-degree murder and concealing a homicide and charged Tweedy and Johnson with concealing a homicide. Officers furnished a narrative about the circumstances of the victim's death to the two purported "witnesses," Tweedy and Johnson, both of whom agreed to testify against Jason Strong in exchange for lesser prison sentences. Eventually all three men falsely confessed to beating the victim using information provided by the police, and all three later recanted their confessions. In July 2000, Tweedy pled guilty to obstruction of justice and was sentenced to two years in prison, and in September, Johnson pled guilty to concealing a homicide and was sentenced to three years in prison. On October 18, 2000, Jason Strong was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 46 years in prison. In 2006, seven years after Mr. Strong's incarceration, the victim was finally identified as Mary Kate Sunderlin, a developmentally disabled woman who lived in Kane County, IL. Around the time of her disappearance, it was known that Sunderlin had come under the influence of two women-a mother and daughter who had a record of preying on the disabled and the elderly-who befriended the victim in the spring of 1999 and forbade her from contacting her family, had used Sunderlin's bank card to withdraw large amounts of cash from her account, and had tried to get a new bank card in her name a year after her death. They had also arranged for Sunderlin's secret marriage to Gonzalo Chamizo, who was mentally ill with a history of violence, three weeks prior to her death. In 2002, Chamizo had been committed to a psychiatric hospital in Florida and during an interview with police investigating Sunderlin's disappearance had said he killed her and buried her in his backyard. In 2007, Thomas Geraghty, an attorney at Northwestern University's Bluhm Legal Clinic, joined Mr. Strong's legal team and filed a motion for a new trial in 2010, citing new evidence regarding the identity of the victim and a recantation given by Tweedy. In 2013, the Illinois Attorney General and the Lake County State's Attorney agreed to re-investigate the case, leading to depositions of key state's witnesses and the discovery of previously unexamined medical evidence. In 2014, three medical experts independently reviewed the autopsy reports and photographs, and all concluded that the victim had died days before the discovery of her body and that many of her injuries were weeks or months old and consistent with chronic abuse-which meant that the confessions by Jason Strong and other two co-defendants were demonstrably false. On May 28th, 2015, Jason Strong's conviction was vacated, and he was released from Menard Correctional Center after serving 15 years in prison. In April 2016, Jason Strong was granted a certificate of innocence from Lake County court. He is an aspiring filmmaker and currently working on a documentary about wrongful convictions.
Mar 05 2018