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In 1973, Peter Reilly found his mother's severely battered body on the floor of their cottage. Police immediately found his demeanor odd and whisked him away. A failed polygraph examination solidified investigators' belief that he attacked his mother, and used the findings as a hammer during an 8-hour interrogation. A jury convicted him of first-degree manslaughter in 1974. He was exonerated after it was disclosed prosecutors improperly withheld an auxiliary trooper's statement which placed him far from the crime scene at about the time of the murder. A judge concluded "a grave injustice" had been committed and vacated the conviction with prejudice, meaning Reilly could never be retried for the still unsolved crime.
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Just before Christmas, 2001, when no one was paying attention, the infamous videotapes depicting sex killer Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka's vicious rape and torture of schoolgirls Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy were incinerated by court order. Future historians will have to speculate about just how demented Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka really were. An exercise kind of like speculating on how awful Auschwitz was. Except to holocaust deniers like Ernst Zundel, we can point to the evidence.
Sebastian Burns and Atif Rafay: The heartbreaking story of two bright Canadians who were traded to the U.S. by malicious cops to advance their careers. This "Mr. Big" undercover operation is a disgrace to the democratic world. RCMP undercover operators Haslett and Shinkaruk have boasted that using the Mr. Big or some other scenario, the cops can get anyone to "confess". Posing as thugs, the two lured Burns into a phony criminal enterprise. Eventually, they extracted a pair of halting, reluctant confessions.
The Guildford Four: Decades after the 1974 bombing convictions were quashed the freed four, who had served 15 years, and the legal system have not found all the answers. The crisis of confidence was encapsulated in one of Lord Lane's concluding remarks: "The officers must have lied."
Michael Cardamone: is charged in 2002 with molesting young girls at his family's gym. At pretrial, a psychologist testifies his case is an example of children developing false memories through "suggestive" interviews but the testimony is not admitted at trial. Judge says he is "a systematic and serial child molester". Gets 20 years. In 2008 a Court overturns the conviction and orders a new trial. He gets a $55K bail. In 2012, in a case started for sexual abuse, both sides agree to "inappropriately touching, not sexually motivated". He takes a plea and gets time served.
Linda Fairstein: Central Park 5 D.A. may have tried too hard. Zealot. Crusader. Probably not labels former chief of the Manhattan DA's Sex Crimes Unit would use to describe herself. Her preferred image is the jacket-copy version of her career used to tout her bestselling mystery books (usually accompanied by an ultra-blond, airbrushed photo). After a confession to the Central Park attack by an imprisoned serial rapist, whose DNA linked him to the crime, the jogger case cracked open to reveal prosecutorial failures. This appears to be the third flub of a major case from her glory days.
Jaime Wheeler, 20, was murdered in her basement suite on March 12, 2000, stabbed and slashed 56 times. Dominic McCullock, 23, was convicted in 2004 of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 15 years. He has maintained his innocence and is appealing his conviction. The trial heard that DNA found in blood on Wheeler's jacket and apartment door handles matched McCullock's, and a pubic hair stuck in dried blood on Wheeler's arm matched his.
John Schneeberger has lost his Canadian citizenship. He is on parole after being convicted for drugging and sexually-assaulting two female patients in 1999. In 2003 a movie was made, "I Accuse", based on the crimes of Dr. John Schneeberger. He was deported to his South African homeland where he applied to the Health Professions Council.
David Milgaard: The partly clad body of nursing aide Gail Miller, 20, is found in a Saskatoon snowbank. 1970: Milgaard is sentenced to life in prison for murder. 1992: The Supreme Court of Canada recommends a new trial after hearing evidence of a series of rapes committed in Saskatoon by RCMP snitch Larry Fisher who had already been convicted of four rapes and one attempted rape. Fisher was convicted in 1999 and sentenced to life in prison. David Milgaard was set free in 1992 and exonerated in 1997 following DNA tests. Gets $10M
Shannon Murrin: Mindy Tran disappeared on August 17, 1994. A lead RCMP investigator had Shannon Murrin brutally beaten up by thugs in 1995. He was charged with her rape and murder in January 1997 and acquitted by a jury in January 2000. A juror, later Murrin's girlfriend, wrote a story of what "really happened" and accused the media and RCMP of having him convicted before the trial began. The Mindy Tran website writes: "Her's is a well crafted tale transforming Murrin from a monstrous child killer into the lovable falsely accused rogue".
Ron and Linda Sterling were the key figures in the Martensville case, the most infamous sexual abuse trial ever held in Saskatchewan. They were found not guilty of 32 crimes against children. "We're going to be tainted as the most vile child molesters for the rest of our lives" says Ron. "No matter that I've been found not guilty. Our life can never be normal. We've lost two years of our lives. I used to have great faith in the justice system."
Theresa Olson: public defender for Sebastian Burns was suspended for two years after a jail-sex romp. Two justices dissented, arguing that the suspension was too harsh in part because there was "no evidence" sexual relations had occurred - citing a dictionary definition of "coitus" which refers only to male-female vaginal intercourse - even though guards outside a jail conference room claimed, under oath, they had seen her having sex with her client. In 2003, the Supreme Court rejected the bar's recommendation for a one-year suspension. In addition, Olson must undergo a psychological evaluation before she can be reinstated.
Gilmer Texas Satanic Murder Hysteria: Wendell Kerr and 9 Gilmer residents were charged with murdering 17 year old Kelly Wilson in a grisly Satanic cult murder where she was held and tortured for ten days in a shack in the woods, barbecued, stabbed, and possibly eaten. There was no forensic evidence for any of this. The body has not been recovered. Unimpeachable evidence shows Kerr was in New York City at the time of the alleged ritual murder. The case was the subject of an NBC Dateline called "A Touch of Evil". Ray Smith, who is now an adult but was six at the time recanted his testimony and explained how it was extracted from him by Scott Lyfeld, the "Special Prosecutor" who led what was called "The Team" and created the case.
Marty Tankleff, a Long Island boy, was convicted of killing his parents in Sept. 1988 and was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. Lawyers and a private investigator claim a career burglar with a guilty conscience told them he served as the getaway driver for what he thought was a run-of-the-mill house burglary. The defense says the inmate's claim that his two accomplices emerged from the burglary with blood on their clothes corroborates another witness's statement, provided to the prosecution and defense as long ago as 1991, that one of the men bragged about the murders. Marty served 17 years from a coerced confession. The charges were dropped in 2008.
Clayton Johnson: Janice Johnson, 36, is found with fatal head injuries at the bottom of the basement stairs in her Shelburne, N.S. home. 1993-2001: Clayton Johnson, her husband, is convicted of bludgeoning her to death. A Texas pathologist who reviewed the original findings determined the woman died accidentally when she fell down the stairs backwards and struck her head. The federal justice minister refered this case to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal which ordered a new murder trial for Clayton Johnson. Gets $2.5M
Cory Patterson a.k.a. Cory Joseph Segato: This is a story the Mounties don't want told. He was a career criminal, an outlaw who tried his hand at everything. Extortion, insurance fraud - all the moneymakers. He pimped in a prostitution ring, sold drugs and ran small shipments of guns across the U.S. border. And he was their agent to whom they paid thousands. First coded as a source in November 1990, Patterson would be interviewed several times before signing his first undercover contract with the RCMP. The Mounties offered him a salary and expense-account living to keep him on their team.
Brenton Butler: "Murder on a Sunday Morning", the winner for Best Documentary at the 2002 Academy Award ceremony, premiered on HBO. It recounts the trial of Brenton Butler, a 15-year-old Jacksonville resident who had been falsely accused of murdering a white tourist during a robbery. He had no gunshot residue on his hands. His fingerprints were not on the woman's purse which was stolen during the shooting. The $91 he had on him was from honest work at Burger King. Butler testified that police detectives beat a confession out of him. Settles for $775K.
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