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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. Bernardo dad: Karla got away with murder
John Chalmers: Misuse of Reid technique results in a murder conviction in Sarnia. Sentenced to life sentence without being eligible for parole until 2017. The interrogation of John Chalmers broke every rule in the book of any properly trained policeman interested in serving the cause of justice. The Prosecutor stated "a lot of the evidence that might have been available at the time was no longer so we had to rely on a lot more ingenuity and creativity". Railroaded?
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.
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."
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
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.
Thomas Sophonow: Waitress Barbara Stoppel, 16, is found strangled in a washroom at a St. Boniface, MB doughnut shop. 1982-85: Thomas Sophonow is arrested, tried three times and convicted twice, by the perjured testimony of a pedophile-turned-snitch, before being freed by the Manitoba Court of Appeal on grounds of legal errors in the third trial. Gets $2.3M settlement.
William Mullins-Johnson was condemned for having sodomised and strangled his 4-year old niece. No scientific evidence tied him to the crime. He was condemned by the testimony of now discredited "expert" pathologist Charles Smith who had also testified in the deaths of 41 other children and led to the convictions of 13 other people. In 2005 he was freed on bail while Ottawa debated whether this was a miscarriage of justice. The chief pathologist of Ontario declared his neice died of natural causes. The autopsy showed no traces of injuries to the neck or anus. There had never been a crime. Gets 4.25M in 2010.
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
Greg Parsons: His mother Catherine Carroll is killed in her St. John's Newfoundland home in 1991. Her son, Greg Parsons, is convicted of her murder in 1994. He was exonerated by DNA evidence and formally acquitted in 1998. A childhood friend of Parsons, Brian Doyle, was later charged with murder. Doyle was sentenced to life in prison. Gregory Parsons gets a compensation of $1.3M
Everardo Torres: was arrested and under control. He was handcuffed and in the back seat of a patrol car. A cop, Marcy Noriega, comes over and shoots him, point blank. She told investigators she intended to shoot Torres with her Taser because he was kicking at the car's window but accidentally used her gun. Sound familiar?
Tulia, Texas: In the summer of 1999, in this tiny town, 39 people, almost all of them black, were arrested and charged with dealing cocaine. At the trial, the prosecution relied almost solely on the uncorroborated, and contradictory, testimony of one cop, Tom Coleman. Despite the flimsiness of the evidence against them, virtually all of the defendants were convicted and given sentences as high as 99 years. Justice is a stranger in Tulia TX. In 2003 District Judge Ron Chapman, who thoroughly investigated the case, recommended that all convictions be thrown out.
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.
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.
Pathologist Dr. Charles Smith was involved in several prominent cases where innocent parents were charged with killing their children. In 2001 Charles Smith was removed from the roster of forensic pathologists permitted to conduct autopsies in suspicious deaths. A year later, three complaints to the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons relating to his work in suspicious death cases were upheld. His findings led to erroneous murder charges and ruined the lives of: William Mullins-Johnson, Brenda Waudby, and Louise Reynolds.
Rick Tabish - Sandy Murphy: Acquitted of murder. Allegations of corruption by Sheriff Lieseke who was left an estate of $250,000. A former deputy gave a television interview saying the sheriff was lying on the stand and also that after Sheriff Lieseke met with the Estate lawyers he told the two deputies what to write in their reports.
Central Park Five: The highly publicized case about the rape of a white female jogger, who was found unconscious and beaten in Central Park. The Central Park 5 were convicted of rape, assault, robbery and riot for attacking the jogger as well as a couple on a tandem bicycle, two male joggers and a homeless man. It is not clear why this 1989 murder made this most read list. Was it because Donald Trump wanted them executed or because there is a mini-series being prepared?
Tulsa 1921 Race Massacre: In 2003 a legal team filed a reparations lawsuit on behalf of 126 living survivors of the Tulsa race massacre. The oldest was 102; the youngest 81. Many of the white mob were given weapons and deputized by local law enforcement, according to the 2001 report of a state commission. This "state action" violated the due-process clause of the 14th Amendment.
Terry Arnold, is dead. Cops say it's suicide. A convicted rapist, he was the prime suspect in the murder of Denise Lapierre and Barbara Stoppel and confessed to raping and murdering Christine Browne. The public has a right to know exactly how he died and see pictures of his sorry corpse. We know it is common practice for agencies to "trade" snitches and put them into witness protection. First, they have to die.
James Lockyer has been "at bat for the wrongfully convicted" since the mid 70's when he came to Canada accepting a scholarship to McGill University. He is a founding director of Innocence Canada, an organization which advocates for the wrongly convicted. Over the course of his career James Lockyer has worked on these cases documented on the site: Guy-Paul Morin, David Milgaard, Peter Frumusa, Greg Parsons, Gordon Folland, Clayton Johnson, Stephen Truscott, Robert Baltovich, William Mullins-Johnson, James Driskell, and Anthony Hanemaayer. With his aid these cases have been overturned.
* some are an aggregate across the site and/or a theme
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