Victims of the State

20 Cases

Map of Counties

U.S. Cases


County:   Allen   Elkhart   Floyd   Hancock   Henry
Howard   Jackson   Knox   Lake   Marion   Morgan
Pulaski   St. Joseph   Vanderburgh   Vigo

Allen County, IN
Ralph Lobaugh

Ralph Woodrow Lobaugh was sentenced to death for the murders of three women.  Within an 18-month period of time, four women were abducted and killed in the Fort Wayne area:  Wilhelmina Haaga, 38, on Feb. 2, 1944, Anna Kuzeff, 20, on May 22, 1944, Phyllis Conine, 17, on Aug. 6, 1944, and Dorothea Howard, 36, on Mar. 6, 1945.  The murders of these women were all committed during inclement weather.  They were possibly the work of a single serial killer dubbed “The Killer in the Rain.”  There were some differences between the first three murders and Howard's murder, suggesting a different killer had murdered Howard.
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Allen County, IN
Virgil Hogan
Convicted 1958 (Ft. Wayne)

Virgil Hogan was convicted of an armed robbery committed in Fort Wayne.  The conviction was due to eyewitness identification, but was set aside in 1962 after the actual culprit was discovered.  The actual culprit looked so similar to Hogan that he was described as a double.  (The Innocents)  [6/09]

Allen County, IN
Charles Smith
Dec 10, 1982

Charles “Red” Smith was sentenced to death for the robbery and murder of 20-year-old Carmen Zink.  Zink was shot to death during a purse snatching in the parking lot of the Elegant Farmer Restaurant.  The admitted getaway driver testified against Smith claiming Smith committed the murder.  Smith had a solid alibi, but the trial judge would not permit him to introduce it at trial because his incompetent counsel had failed to file the necessary pre-trial alibi notice.  Because of Smith's counsel, an appeals court granted him a new trial.  In preparation for the new trial, evidence emerged that the prosecution's witness had been testifying in return for a deal which allowed him to avoid murder charges.  At retrial, the defense presented Smith's alibi and also strong evidence implicating a relative of the prosecution's witness as the true killer.  The retrial jury acquitted Smith of all charges.  [7/05]

Elkhart County, IN
Edgar Garrett
1995 (Goshen)

“Police in Goshen, Indiana persuaded Edgar Garrett that he killed his daughter, Michelle, who had mysteriously disappeared.  During fourteen hours of interrogation, Edgar Garrett gave an increasingly detailed confession describing how he murdered his daughter, whose body had not yet been found.  No independent evidence linked him to the crime or corroborated his confession.  At the same time, his post-admission narrative contradicted all the major facts in the case.  Edgar Garrett confessed to walking into a park with his daughter through new-fallen snow, bludgeoning her with an axe handle at a river's edge, and dumping her body in the river.  However, the police officer who arrived first at the crime scene did not see footprints in the snow-covered field at the entry to the park but, instead, saw tire tracks entering the park, bloody drag marks leading from the tire tracks to the river's edge, and a single set of footprints going to and returning from the river.  Obviously, someone had unloaded Michelle Garrett's body from a vehicle and dragged it to the river, but Edgar Garrett did not own a car and no evidence was ever developed that he had access to one that day.  Michelle Garrett's coat was recovered from the river separately from her body and had no punctures, suggesting that she had been killed indoors and transported to the river bank.”

“Edgar Garrett's confession regurgitated the theory the police held at the time of the interrogation: that his daughter had been clubbed to death.  Weeks later, when Michelle Garrett's body was recovered, police learned that she had been stabbed thirty-four times; that her body showed no evidence of significant head trauma; and that the axe handle Edgar Garrett confessed to club her with showed no traces of her hair or blood.  At trial, the jury acquitted Edgar Garrett.”  – Leo & Ofshe

Elkhart County, IN
Parish & Cooper
Oct 29, 1996 (Elkhart)

Christopher Parish and Keith Cooper were charged with robbery and attempted murder.  Two intruders allegedly shot and robbed Michael Kershner in apartment F on the third floor of an apartment building located at 729 Monroe Street in Elkhart.  At the time of the shooting five other people were reportedly in the apartment with Kershner.  However, despite testimony that Kershner bled profusely in the car which took him to the hospital, investigating officers found no evidence the apartment was the scene of a crime.  Cooper, identified as the alleged shooter, was acquitted of the attempted murder, but convicted of the robbery and sentenced to 40 years in prison.  Parish was convicted of both charges and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
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Floyd County, IN
David Camm
Sept 28, 2000 (Georgetown)

David Camm, a former Indiana state trooper, was convicted in 2002 of the murders of his wife Kimberly, daughter Jill, 5, and son Bradley, 7.  Inside the garage of the Camm residence, the children had been shot to death while sitting in the back seat of the family's Ford Bronco.  Kim was shot to death next to the Bronco.  The residence was on Lockhart Road in Georgetown, IN.
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Hancock County, IN
Jerry Watkins
Nov 12, 1984

Jerry Watkins was convicted of the rape and fatal stabbing of his sister-in-law, 11-year-old Peggy Altes.  DNA tests exonerated him in 2000.  (IP)  [7/05]

Henry County, IN
Smith & Jacobs
Feb 14, 1991

Christopher Smith and Ralph Jacobs, Jr., were convicted of murdering Wesley Crandall, Jr., a New Castle, Indiana drug dealer.  Both defendants were mentally handicapped adults who had confessed to the crime under police interrogation and had pleaded guilty.  Smith was sentenced to 38 years in prison for murder while Jacobs was sentenced to eight years for aiding.  The two were freed after another man, Jerry Thompson, was physically linked to the crime and was arrested.  Thompson was subsequently convicted of the murder.  (News Article) (Thompson v. State)  [12/10]

Howard County, IN
Nancy Louise Botts
Convicted 1934

Nancy Louise Botts was convicted of forgery and sentenced to 2 to 14 years in prison.  Two Kokomo merchants were certain that Botts was the perpetrator of the crime.  Botts said that she had never been in Kokomo.  Five other merchants testified that Botts was the perpetrator.  Later the police caught Mrs. Dorsett, the real criminal, in the act.  She confessed.  Gov. McNutt pardoned Botts in 1936.  Botts was awarded $4,000 in compensation by the state legislature.  (Not Guilty)  [7/05]

Jackson County, IN
Charles Hickman
Jan 2005

Charles Hickman was charged with murdering Katlyn “Katie” Collman. He confessed that several other people abducted Katie to scare her into not talking about a methamphetamine lab that she accidentally discovered.  He told police that her abductors took her to a creek 15 miles north of her Crothersville home, and that while he was watching her, she accidentally fell into the creek and drowned.  Prosecutors have since dropped charges as DNA tests have since linked another man to Katie's death.  They no longer believe Hickman's elaborate confession.  (JD29)  [2/07]

Knox County, IN
John Jeffers
Mar 1, 1975

John Jeffers was convicted of the abduction, rape, and murder of 23-year-old Sherry Lee Gibson.  At first this crime went unsolved, but two years later, Jeffers, then 17, confessed to it while at a juvenile detention facility.  Jeffers first confession was inconsistent with the known facts of the crime.  However, over time his confession evolved, growing consistent with the facts of the crime – apparently because of information he gathered during interrogation sessions.  Because of his evolved confession, a judge accepted his guilty plea and Jeffers was sentenced to 34 years in prison.  Jeffers died in prison five years later.

In 2001, a participant in the crime, Ella Mae Dicks, walked into an Atlanta, Georgia police station and confessed.  She named her former husband, Wayne Gulley, as her co-participant.  Based on the detailed facts known by Dicks, she and Gulley were indicted.  When asked why Jeffers confessed, his brother Mark stated, “He had a need to feel important.”  (CWC)  [1/06]

Lake County, IN
Larry Hicks
Feb 1978

Larry Hicks was sentenced to death for the murders of Norton Miller and Stephen Cosby.  Police investigating the homicides followed a trail of blood into the house of a drunken man named Bernard Scates, who was asleep on the floor.  Two women were trying to clean bloodstains off the floor.  Scates claimed that Hicks was involved in the murders, and the two women backed his story.  Four days later, Scates killed himself in jail, after having told fellow prisoners that Hicks had nothing to do with the murders.  Nonetheless, the two women testified against Hicks during his day and a half trial.  Fortunately, Hicks got a new lawyer who was able to demonstrate the witnesses had lied.  Hicks was granted a new trial at which he was acquitted of all charges.  (PC) (CWC) (The Ordeal of LH)  [7/05]

Lake County, IN
Larry Mayes
Oct 5, 1980 (Hammond)

Larry Mayes, a black man, was convicted of the rape and robbery of a 19-year-old white gas station cashier.  The victim described one of her two assailants as having a gold tooth, which Mayes had, but she was unable to identify Mayes in two live lineups.  Eventually she picked his photo when presented with a photo array.  Collected fingerprints could not be linked to Mayes and conventional serology of collected semen did not yield useful results.

When new prosecutors on the case contacted the victim, she revealed that the police had hypnotized her prior to her identification of Mayes from the photo lineup.  DNA tests revealed Mayes innocence and he was released after serving 21 years of an 80-year sentence.  Mayes was the 100th American to be exonerated by DNA testing.  In 2006, Mayes was awarded $9 million.  (IP)  [6/05]

Marion County, IN
Harold D. Buntin
Aug 4, 1984 (Indianapolis)

Harold D. Buntin was convicted of raping and robbing a 22-year-old clerk at an Indianapolis cleaners.  The victim had previously identified another man as her rapist, but she identified Buntin at trial.  Tests showed he had the same blood type as the rapist.  The rape occurred when Buntin was 15, and during trial, when Buntin was 17, he fled the state.  He began serving his sentence in 1994 after he was arrested on an unrelated charge in Florida.  Due to DNA tests, a judge exonerated Buntin in April 2005, but he was not released until April 2007 because a bailiff or clerk failed to properly enter and distribute the judge's order clearing Buntin.  The error was only found after Buntin and his relatives pressed his attorney to file a “lazy judge” complaint because of the delay in the ruling.  (AP News) (In re Hawkins)  [6/07]

Marion County, IN
Dwayne Scruggs
Feb 1, 1986 (Indianapolis)

Dwayne Scruggs was convicted of rape and robbery after being identified by the victim.  DNA tests exonerated him in 1993.  (IP) (DNA)  [9/06]

Morgan County, IN
John Myers
May 31, 2000 (Paragon)

John R. Myers II was convicted of murdering Jill Behrman, an Indiana University student.  The conviction was based on speculation, guesswork, and “he said, she said” information. There was no physical evidence presented during the trial that ties Myers to the murder.  (Google) (Appeal)

Pulaski County, IN
R & L Finnegan

Roman and Lynnette Finnegan were charged with abusing and neglecting their child, Jessica Salyer, following her death at age 14.  Jessica was born with tricuspid atresia, a heart defect that causes the right ventricle to be underdeveloped. She had her first heart surgery at age 2, and was on medication to treat her heart condition and seizures for much of her life.  In 2005, Jessica died from sudden cardiac arrest caused by a prescription error.  Her dose of Coumadin was inexplicably increased to many times the safe limit while she was taken off her seizure medication altogether.  During her autopsy, Jessica suffered a skull fracture.  It was alleged that this fracture had existed prior to her death.  Authorities never explained why it began at the autopsy saw line, why there was no blood in the fracture, or why Jessica never complained of a head injury.

Lynnette was charged in April 2007 with neglecting a dependent resulting in serious injury, a Class B felony.  Both Lynnette and Roman were charged with neglecting a dependent, a Class D felony.  The Indiana Department of Child Services in Pulaski County removed Lynnette's other two daughters from her Francesville home when the investigation began in Nov. 2006. Her son, who was old enough to live on his own, moved out.  Roman Finnegan, who worked as a corrections officer for the Medaryville Facility, was suspended from work because he was charged with a felony.  Lynnette could not work because she suffers from epilepsy.  A bank eventually foreclosed on their home.  By Nov. 2007, the couple got their daughters back and charges against them have been dropped.  Roman even got his job back.  (False Allegations)  [11/07]

St. Joseph County, IN
Richard Alexander
Summer 1996

While investigating a sexual assault, police determined the perpetrator left the crime scene on a bicycle.  Richard Alexander happened to ride by the crime scene later on a bicycle and was stopped.  He was arrested in connection with four sexual assaults in the South Bend area, but was tried for only three, because DNA tests on the fourth assault exonerated him despite the fact that both the victim and her fiancé were certain that Alexander was the perpetrator.

After his arrest, the assaults continued even though Alexander was imprisoned.  In one of these later assaults, his photograph was accidentally placed in the photo lineup showed to the victim, and she identified him as the perpetrator.  Of the three tried assaults, Alexander was convicted of two.  In 2001, a man named Michael Murphy confessed to committing one of the assaults for which Alexander was convicted, providing details that could only be known to the perpetrator.  An advanced DNA test was then performed which exonerated Alexander and implicated Murphy.

In light of this exonerating evidence, prosecutors came to believe that Alexander did not commit the second assault for which he was convicted.  The modus operandi of the second assault was so similar to the assault for which another man, Mark Williams, was convicted that prosecutors thought that the same person must have committed both assaults.  A prosecuting attorney joined with Alexander's appellate attorney in filing a joint motion to have his convictions vacated.  Alexander was officially cleared of all charges and released after serving more than 5 years in prison.  (IP)  [6/05]

Vanderburgh County, IN
Patrick Bradford
Aug 1, 1992

Patrick Bradford, an Evansville police officer, was convicted of murdering Tammy Lohr, 24, a woman with whom he had been having an affair.  The evidence shows that Bradford could not have committed the crime.  Tammy worked at the county jail, and a more logical suspect is a corrections coworker who was fired for hitting inmates and sexually harassing Tammy.  The coworker ranted that he would get even with Tammy if it was the last thing he ever did.  A later review of this individual's court activity suggested that the prosecution needed him to testify in some cases and for that reason they were not willing to regard him as a suspect.  (TruthInJustice) (48 Hours)  [11/05]

Vigo County, IN
David Scott
Apr 18, 1984

David L. Scott was convicted of murdering 89-year-old Loretta Keith.  Keith had been bludgeoned to death in her bed with a hydraulic jack.  Scott was convicted largely because of a covertly taped statement in which he said he participated in the crime.  Scott's sister said the taping was a setup and that Scott was tricked into making the statement.  Scott was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Four months after Scott's trial, another man, Thomas Abram, came forward and implicated Kevin Mark Weeks as the murderer of Keith.  Abram's detailed story made no mention of Scott.  Based on the evidence, Scott was granted a hearing for a new trial, but a new trial was denied.  In Jan. 2008, after Scott served more than 23 years of imprisonment, he was exonerated of the crime and released.  DNA test results showed that Weeks was the person who killed Keith.  (AP News) (Tribune-Star)  [03/08]