Alfred Trenkler Innocent Committee

Other Convicted Innocents

A. Other Convicted Innocents - relating to the case of Alfred Trenkler in some way.

1.  Nationwide

      a. now freed

      b. claiming innocence (see "Related Websites", too)

 

2. Massachusetts

 

1.  Nationwide

   a. now freed

Most of the cases presented below are reproduced from the Web Site of the Innocence Project (www.innocenceproject.org) Of 123 post conviction exonerations at that web site, 33 involved false confessions or admissions. 37 of the 123 involved homicides. For more information about the tragedy, enormity and shocking frequency of convictions of the innocent in the U.S., see the Web site of Truth In Justice, a non-profit organization. (www.truthinjustice.org)

Another good source is an April, 2004 study from the University of Michigan of 328 single exonerations (not counting those caused by serial rogue police) from 1989 through 2003.  It's "EXONERATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES 1989 THROUGH 2003" by Professor Samuel Gross and Ph.d or J.D. candidates: Kristen Jacoby, Daniel Matheson, Nicholas Montgomery and Sujata Patil.

Another web site with a database of 300 cases of convicted, but innocent people, is at www.dredumndhiggins.com

More cases have been referred to us, and some have a resemblance to some aspect of the case of Alfred Trenkler.

See, for example, the case of Steven Linscott.  Here is a brief summary:

Steven Linscott was wrongfully convicted in 1982 of the murder of a young neighbor woman in Oak Park, Illinois, as a result of prosecutorial and police misconduct and misleading forensic testimony.

After the body of the victim, Karen Ann Phillips, was found, Linscott approached Oak Park police at the urging of friends and told them about a dream he had about a similar murder. Although there were relatively few and not-at-all-amazing similarities between the dream and the actual crime, authorities called Linscott's statement a confession and charged him with murder and rape.

At trial, Assistant Cook County State's Attorneys John E. Morrissey and Jay C. Magnuson told the jury that biological material recovered from the scene had to have come from an O secretor, a relatively small population group that included Linscott. In fact, the forensic evidence established that the material in question could have come not only from an O secretor but also a non-secretor of any blood type — a group that included a sizeable majority of the population.

A state forensic witness, Mohammad Tahir, also had testified that several hairs found on the victim's body, bed, and carpet were consistent with hair samples provided by Linscott. In recent years, microscopic hair comparisons have been shown to be useless.

After the Illinois Appellate Court reversed the conviction based on prosecutorial misconduct — saying that Morrissey and Magnuson had “invented” the inculpatory blood evidence — the Cook County State's Attorney's Office agreed to DNA testing, which led to Linscott's exoneration in 1992.

In December 2002, Linscott received a pardon based on innocence from Illinois Governor George H. Ryan.

 

    b. Claiming Innocence

 

Troy A. Davis, Savannah, Georgia.  Davis was convicted of a 1989 killing of Police Officer Mark MacPhail who intervened to try to stop a fight between the homeless Larry Young and Sylvester Coles, who was trying to take Young's beer and was pistol whipping him.

Davis was convicted by the testimony of 9 witnesses, including Coles.  Seven of those witnesses have recanted, but Davis is still scheduled for execution.  On Monday, 16 July, 2007, he sought clemency from the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.

See New York Times, 15 July 2007, "As Execution Nears, Last Push from Inmates's Supporters."

In 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that the U.S. District Court in Georgia consider Troy Davis's claim of innocence.

Dennis Dechaine, Bowdoinham, Maine.  Dennis was convicted of the 1988 rape and murder of the 12 year-old Sarah Cherry.  He had no previous acquaintance with Sarah Cherry, but his alibi for the day was that he was in the nearby woods using amphetamines.  DNA found underneath Sarah Cherry's thumbnails does not belong to Dennis Dechaine, and he has been seeking justice since that discovery in 1993. The Innocence Project began representing Dennis in 1993, and he would have been exoneree #15, if the State of Maine had seriously considered the importance of the DNA and other exculpatory evidence. Since then, over 230 others have been exonerated thanks to DNA evidence, including DNA underneath victims' fingernails.  See his website at www.trialanderrordennis.org. 

Richard LaPointe, West Hartford, Connecticut.  LaPointe was convicted of the 1987 rape and murder of his wife's grandmother.  Two years after the crime, he was questioned by police until 1:30 a.m. during which time he had signed three inconsistent confessions.  His approximately 25 current supporters, the "Friends of Richard Lapointe" have worked tirelessley for his freedom and have obtained a hearing in Superior Court for a retrial.  See the New York Times, 15 July, 2009 "Not a DNA Case, but many Supporters Who Say a Convicted Murderer is Innocent."   See the website, www.friendsofrichardlapointe.com.

Marty Tankleff, of Bell Terre, Long Island, New York. Marty Tankleff had just turned 17 when he was arrested for killing his parents, Seymour and Arlene Tankleff, in their home on Long Island, NY. Based on a dubious, unsigned "confession" extracted from him following hours of interrogation by a detective with a questionable background, Marty was convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life, and has already served 17 years in maximum security prisons for a crime he did not commit. Now, based on extraordinary new evidence of Marty's innocence and others' guilt tracked down by a private investigator, Marty's case is...." now going to be retried. See "Jailed 17 Years, Long Island Man [Marty Tankleff] Gets Second Trial" - by Bruce Lambert, in the New York Times .  He was released in the summer of 2008, and the prosecutors announced that they would not prosecute Marty again.  See "Links to Articles".

West Memphis 3.  The West Memphis Three were teenagers in 1993 when three six-year old boys were murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas.  Their website is www.wm3.org.  As of the end of 2009, the "3" were still in prison, but their supporters are hopeful for justice. See "Links to Articles".