Victims of the State

3 Cases

Map of Counties

U.S. Cases




Date of Alleged Crime


Fairbanks, AK John L. Shaw Convicted 1973, 80, 81

John L. Shaw was convicted in 1973 of aiding in the theft of merchandise from a store.  Another man had stolen 17 pairs of pants from a men's store where both he and Shaw worked as janitors.  That wrongful conviction led to Shaw being separately convicted of two other crimes: Failing to Appear for Sentencing in 1980, and for being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm in 1981.  He was imprisoned separately for all three convictions.

Shaw's public defender, David Backstrom, had a conflict of interest by also representing Shaw's codefendant, who freely admitted his guilt, but who also insisted Shaw had nothing to do with the thefts.  The codefendant was prevented from testifying by Backstrom.  Backstrom also prevented several witnesses for Shaw from testifying because by exonerating Shaw they would be implicating the attorney's other client, Shaw's codefendant.  (Shaw v. PD)  [7/05]


Kodiak Island, AK Donald McDonald Mar 28, 1986

After 28-year-old Laura Henderson Ibach disappeared, her ex-husband, Jack Anton Ibach, was charged with her murder. It was alleged that Jack employed Donald “Mac” McDonald and James Kerwin to commit the actual murder. Laura was last seen with these men, and they were charged with her murder as well. Jack and Laura shared custody of their daughters, an arrangement Jack approved of. Laura was seeking full custody of the daughters, so she could take them to Oregon. Two of Laura's coworkers stated that she talked about picking up a “tape” on the day of her murder to use against her ex-husband in the custody dispute.

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Sitka County, AK Richard Bingham May 4, 1996

In 1996, Richard Bingham made a videotaped confession to the rape and murder of 17-year-old Jessica Baggen.  He was acquitted at his 1997 trial because jurors saw on tape that he kept missing all the cues the interrogators fed him as they steered him to the correct details.  DNA testing excluded Bingham as the source of the semen found in the victim.  The foreign hair found on the victim's body was not Bingham's nor was the fingerprint found on a cigarette pack at the crime scene.  Bingham was also unable to describe the unusual properties of the physical scene where the body was found nor the unusual way in which the victim had been silenced.  [3/06]