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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."
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.
MORE NATIVE STORIES: This is an aggregate of a theme in the inJusticebusters.org site centred around the injustices towards the indigenous people in North Anerica such as shootings, beatings, killings, rapes, and of course the famous "Midnight Tours". These individual stories rarely make it to the top 20 but as an aggregate theme they rank here.
Martensville trial Part 1: the most infamous sexual abuse trial ever held in Saskatchewan. Ron and Linda Sterling were found not guilty of 32 crimes against 11 children. "...there are going to be people out there forever who believe I am guilty."
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Rocco Galati: Immigration lawyer quits cases over death threats. "I'm not on the verge of tears for my safety" says Galati. "....because it means we now live in Colombia, because the rule of law is meaningless. It means that lawyers cannot represent anyone even in what you profess to be a democracy here in Canada."
Dennis Perry: Unfair trial in Camden County, GA. Lost evidence key in slaying defense. Descriptions vary of 1985 shooting. A Georgia special agent says "didn't do it, plain and simple, and that's why we cleared him". Key was a pair of eyeglasses and Perry had 20/20 vision. The prime suspect the year of the murders was given immunity in exchange for his testimony.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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".
John Popowich: His decade-long fight to clear his name is over. He received an apology and a $1.3M settlement from the government. He was wrongly prosecuted for ritual child sexual abuse in Martensville in the early 1990s. "Money is not the issue. Having my name cleared is why I did this." "It's time the public sees that he's innocent. They tormented him, accusing him" his mother, Mary, said in an interview. His lawyer said nothing can make up for what his client has endured. "I cannot imagine a more heinous charge than sexually abusing young children at gunpoint under the umbrella of satanic worship."
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.
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.
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.
Romeo Phillion: claimed his innocence 31 years. He had an alibi, but the police buried it. He was stuck at a service station 200 kilometres away when the crime occured. Phillion confessed to the crime as part of a plea deal with police, but quickly recanted. It was a desperate bid to protect his gay lover from other charges. Sued for $14M. He died November 2, 2015 at age 76.
Guy-Paul Morin: The body of Christine Jessop, 9, is found in a farmer's field. 1985-92: Morin is arrested, tried, acquitted, tried again and convicted of murder by a prosecutor now a judge. 1995: He is cleared and offered $1.25M compensation after DNA testing excludes him as the source of semen found on the child's underwear. An inquiry slams the investigation. The final report says mistakes by forensic scientists, police, and prosecutors all combined to send an innocent man to jail. He is the best known wrongly convicted exonerated person in Canada.
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