Victims of the State

27 Cases

Map of Parishes

U.S. Cases


Parish:   Bossier   Caddo   Calcasieu   East Baton Rouge   Jackson

Jefferson   Orleans   Plaquemines   Rapides   Sabine   St. Mary

St. Tammany   Terrebonne   Union   Webster   West Feliciana




Date of Alleged Crime


Bossier Parish, LA Jack Favor 1964
Jack Graves Favor, a former rodeo star, was convicted in 1967 of the murders of Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Richey who were killed at their bait stand near Haughton, LA.  Favor had picked up two hitchhikers, Floyd Cumbey and Donald Yates, who afterwards committed the murders.  During Favor's trial Cumbey pled guilty to the murders and testified that Favor was the triggerman.  Yates also confessed to the murders and agreed that a third person was involved, but denied it was Favor.  The trial judge ruled that he could not give this testimony to Favor's jury.  After the trial Cumbey was allowed to change his plea of guilty to manslaughter and received suspended sentences on each count.  Cumbey was released from prison seven months after Favor's trial and two days later he killed his former girlfriend and her roommate in Oklahoma.  At a retrial in 1974, Yates denied Favor was involved in the murders and Favor was acquitted.  Favor was later awarded $55,000 for his wrongful imprisonment.  A 1998 TV movie was made about Favor and his wrongful imprisonment entitled Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack.  (ISI) (American Cowboy) (News Article) (Photos)  [2/10]


Bossier Parish, LA Alvin Moore July 9, 1980 (Bossier City)

Alvin R. Moore Jr. was sentenced to death for the murder of JoAnn Wilson, 23, the wife of a former co-worker.  Wilson called police and said, "Somebody stabbed me."  After police officer Bill Fields arrived on the scene, he asked her who stabbed her and she reportedly told him, "Elvin did it."  Fields later thought the victim meant "Alvin."  Moore, who is black, was having an affair with Wilson, who was white.  Moore was arrested with a drop of blood on his pants.  Tests showed the blood was Type O, the same as Wilson's, but shared by about 45% of the population.  Moore had a different blood type.  A stereo and a plastic jug containing pennies from Wilson's home were found in Moore's car.

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Caddo Parish, LA Calvin Willis June 1981 (Shreveport)
Calvin Willis was convicted of raping a 10-year-old girl and sentenced to life without parole.  Willis was convicted because he is a type O secretor as is a large percentage of the male population and because he wears a cowboy hat as did the rapist.  The assailant left behind a pair of size 40 boxers, but Willis only wears a size 30.  DNA tests exonerated Willis in 2003.  (IP) (InjusticeBusters) (TruthInJustice)  [10/05]


Calcasieu Parish, LA Allen Coco May 25, 1995 (Lake Charles)
Allen Coco was convicted of rape and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.  Police assisted the victim in creating a composite sketch of her assailant, which she found unsatisfactory.  Yet nearly a month after the attack, she used the faulty composite to identify Coco.  There were discrepancies in the victim's initial identification.  She described her assailant as wearing a short-sleeved shirt, but failed to notice any tattoos on him. Coco had tattoos covering both arms.  She claimed to have gotten hold of her rapist's knife and stabbed him in the buttocks, but Coco did not have any stab wound there or any place else.  Blood found at the scene from the apparent stab wound did match Coco's blood type as well as that of 6% of the black population.  DNA tests exonerated Coco in 2006.  (IP) (IPNO)


East Baton Rouge Parish, LA Gene Bibbins June 1986 (Baton Rouge)
Gene Bibbins was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl.  The victim initially described her assailant as wearing jeans and having long curly hair.  Bibbins was arrested less than an hour after the attack.  He was wearing gray shorts and had short, cropped hair.  The victim was assaulted in her apartment and the assailant took her radio when he left.  Bibbins was in possession of the radio, and said he found it as he exited his apartment building.  He lived in a different building than the victim but it was in the same apartment complex.  DNA tests exonerated Bibbins in 2003.  In 2006, Bibbins became the first person in Louisiana to be awarded state compensation for wrongful imprisonment.  He was awarded $150,000.  However, as of this writing, there is no money in the compensation fund to pay him.  (IP) (JD31 p22)  [10/05]


Jackson Parish, LA Michael Williams Feb 21, 1981
Sixteen-year-old Michael Anthony Williams had a crush on his 22-year-old math tutor, and had bothered her after she refused to be his girlfriend.  In November 1980, he bothered her when she worked at her father's store, and while there he broke a window during an altercation.  He was arrested and sent to jail.  Sixteen days after he was released, she was raped in the early morning hours.  Despite the fact that her assailant covered her face with bedding, she claimed to have seen him by the moonlight and that he was Michael Williams.  At trial, Williams and his family testified that he was at home that night, but the prosecution argued that he climbed out his bedroom window, committed the rape, and disposed of the clothes he wore before returning.  Williams was convicted of aggravated rape and sentenced to life imprisonment.  DNA tests exonerated Williams in 2005.  (IP)  [12/05]


Jefferson Parish, LA Kevin Williams Oct 6, 1985 (Kenner)

Kevin Williams was convicted of the armed robbery of a 7-Eleven convenience store.  Two 18 to 20-year-old black males robbed the store of $15 at about 10:54 p.m.  One held a gun while the other took money from the cash register.  The cashier called police and her call was logged in at 10:56 p.m.  Two teenagers had seen the robbers flee in a brown car.  At 11:06 p.m., police stopped Williams and his friend Ernest Brown about 1 1/2 miles from the crime scene.  They were driving a brown car of similar description as that of the robbers.  The cashier identified the 28-year-old Williams as being the unarmed robber.  She cleared Brown of involvement.  Neither man had any money or gun on them, but police found two six-packs of Pepsi in the car.

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Jefferson Parish, LA Douglas DiLosa Sept 27, 1986 (Kenner)

Douglas A. DiLosa was convicted of the murder of his wife, Glinda.  When police arrived at DiLosa's condominium following a 911 call from his son, they found DiLosa tied up on the living room floor.  His wife was found bound and strangled on a bed.  DiLosa said he was awakened about 3:30 a.m. to noises downstairs.  When he investigated, he discovered two black male intruders.  The intruders him beat him unconscious.  When he recovered from his unconsciousness, he found himself bound and the house in shambles.  He called out to his son and instructed him to dial 911.  The crime occurred at Apartment 7-C, Chardonnay Village Condominiums, 1500 West Esplanade Ave. in Kenner, LA.

In time, DiLosa was arrested for Glinda's murder based on an alleged lack of evidence supporting his version of events.  Investigators also discovered a possible motive.  DiLosa was out of work, his unemployment benefits were about to run out, a large payment was near due on the condo, and his wife's life was insured for a substantial sum.  At trial the prosecution focused on the lack of evidence that any other perpetrator besides DiLosa committed the crime.  During his closing argument, the prosecutor told the jury, "There was not one, not one shred of black hair found in that residence."  And he also stated, "Did you hear any evidence about any other houses that were hit that night?"

However, there was evidence supporting DiLosa's version of events, but it was withheld from the defense:  (1) Hair of a non-Caucasian type was found on the rope around Glinda's neck and on the bed where her body was discovered. (2) Fingerprints were found in the condo that could not be positively identified.  (3) An attempted break-in occurred at a nearby condo.  (4) A taxi driver had seen a car occupied by two black men exit the condo complex at 5:45 a.m.  The taxi driver said the car's driver looked "tense," faced straight ahead while gripping the steering wheel, and was driving very slowly.

In 2002, the federal 5th Circuit Court overturned DiLosa's conviction due to the withholding of evidence.  It is not known if DiLosa was retried, but a reference source lists DiLosa as having been exonerated in 2003.  (DiLosa v. Cain)  [10/08]


Jefferson Parish, LA Willie Jackson Dec 12, 1986 (Marrero)
Willie Jackson was convicted of rape and robbery after being identified by the victim.  In addition, a forensic odontologist testified at trial that the bite marks on the victim matched Willie.  Just days after Willie's conviction, his brother Milton confessed to the crime.  At least three pieces of evidence implicated Milton, but the victim still identified Willie.  In 2006, Willie was freed after DNA tests showed that Milton was the rapist.  Milton is serving a life sentence for an unrelated 1998 rape.  (IP)  [12/06]


Jefferson Parish, LA Matthews & Hayes Apr 5, 1997 (Bridge City)
Ryan Matthews was sentenced to death for murdering Tommy Vanhoose, a grocer, at Comeaux's Grocery in Bridge City.  Travis Hayes was thought to be Matthews' getaway driver.  He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.  Under police interrogation, Hayes had confessed to a scenario presented him by police in which he drove Matthews to the store in Bridge City.  Both defendants were 17 and lived more than 10 miles from Bridge City.  Even by the time they were tried there were significant problems with Hayes confession:  (1) DNA tests on the ski mask worn by the gunman and discarded at the scene of the crime produced a profile that matched neither Matthews nor Hayes.  (2) In fleeing the crime, the gunman jumped headfirst into the side window of the getaway car.  Although Hayes had a car similar to the getaway car, numerous witnesses testified the side window was broken and could not be opened.  (3) Witnesses described the gunman as 5'4" to 5'7" in height.  Matthews was 6'1" tall.  Matthews was released in 2004.  Hayes spent another 2 1/2 years in prison, but he was released in Dec. 2006.  (IP1) (IP2)  (IPNO)


Orleans Parish, LA Labat & Poret Nov 12, 1950 (New Orleans)
Edgar Labat and Clifton Alton Poret, both blacks, were convicted of raping a white female and each was sentenced to death.  The two men smuggled an appeal out of death row that was published as an ad in the Los Angeles Times.  A woman reader of the ad was moved to hire attorneys for the men.  These lawyers obtained a stay of execution only three hours before it was to be carried out.  The men's convictions were eventually reversed when it was shown that a witness named Earl Howard testified falsely under police pressure.  (Time) (L&P v. Bennett) (MPL v. LA)  [10/05]


Orleans Parish, LA Johnny Ross July 1974
Johnny Ross, a 16-year-old black juvenile, was convicted at a three hour trial and sentenced to death for the rape of a white woman.  The trial consisted of the prosecution's claim that Ross had signed a confession after the victim had identified him.  Ross maintained that he had signed a blank piece of paper after his interrogators beat him.  On appeal, his death sentence was commuted to a term of years.  Years later tests revealed that the rapist's semen did not match Ross's blood type.  Based on this new evidence, the New Orleans DA agreed to drop charges and Ross was released from prison in 1981.  (DPIC)  [7/05]


Orleans Parish, LA Bright & Truvia Oct 31, 1975
Gregory Bright and Earl Truvia were convicted of murdering 15-year-old Elliot Porter.  The convictions were based solely on the testimony of a witness, Sheila Caston, who claimed that she had seen the pair dragging the victim around the corner of a building in the housing project where they all lived.  The jury never heard from the coroner, who would have testified that the time of death did not coincide with the time that the Caston claimed she saw the victim.  Nor did the jury know that Caston was a paranoid schizophrenic who suffered from auditory and visual hallucinations and had several aliases, one of which she used at trial.  Caston medicated her mental illness with heroin and gave police information in exchange for cash.  The pair's convictions were overturned in 2002 because of Caston, and also because the state had withheld a police report describing alternate suspects.  Charges against Bright and Truvia were dropped and they were released in 2003.  (Ford) (IPNO) (TruthInJustice)  [10/05]


Orleans Parish, LA Curtis Kyles Sept 20, 1984 (New Orleans)
Curtis Kyles was sentenced to death for murdering Dolores Dye during a car theft in the parking lot of a Schwegmann's Giant Supermarket.  A man named Joseph "Beanie" Wallace claimed that he purchased Dye's stolen car from Kyles after he was found driving around in it.  Several witnesses also testified that they saw Kyles at the crime scene.  The defense called this testimony into question and the jury in Kyles' first trial was hung.  Upon retrial, Kyles was convicted, but this conviction was ultimately reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that the prosecution had hidden exculpatory evidence about changes in the witnesses' accounts and about the corruption of the investigation.  Had this material been disclosed to the defense, it would validate Kyles' claim that Wallace and the New Orleans authorities were framing him.  The case was remanded for a third trial, which ended in a hung jury, as did fourth and fifth trials.  The DA then conceded defeat and Kyles was freed in 1998.  The case is profiled in the book, Desire Street by Jed Horne (2005)  (TWM)  [7/05]


Orleans Parish, LA John Thompson Dec 6, 1984 (New Orleans)

John Thompson, who had no history of violence, was charged with the robbery and murder of 34-year-old Ray Liuzza, Jr., a hotel executive.  In 1985, the day after his picture was in the newspaper and on the evening news, three victims of an attempted carjacking came forward and stated Thompson was the perpetrator.  Even though the attempted carjacking occurred after the murder, Thompson was convicted of the attempted robbery prior to his murder trial.  Thompson was then convicted of murder and sentenced to death in part because of the prior conviction.  The prior conviction prevented him from testifying on his own behalf.

In 1999, intentionally hidden blood evidence from the attempted carjacking incident surfaced that showed the perpetrator had a different blood type than Thompson.  That conviction was overturned and led to his murder conviction being overturned.  At the murder retrial, the defense tracked down an eyewitness who had fled the area out of fear for her life a month after the murder.  She testified in the defense's favor and Thompson was acquitted.  (Times-Picayune)  [9/05]


Orleans Parish, LA Shareef Cousin May 2, 1995
Shareef Cousin was convicted of the murder of Michael Gerardi.  To get reduced time on unrelated charges, former friend James Roswell fingered Cousin as the murderer, but later recanted.  An eyewitness, who initially said she doubted she could identify the killer, but did say that he was shorter than the victim, said at trial she was 100% certain it was Cousin despite the fact that Cousin is 4 inches taller.  Cousin had a taped statement given by his basketball coach establishing his alibi, but the prosecution altered the time given on the tape.  Three teammates who waited outside the courtroom to testify were not available when the defense attorney went to call them.  The defense found out too late that prosecutors had relocated the boys to the DA's air-conditioned office, supposedly to give them relief from the hot weather.  After the murder conviction was overturned and charges were dropped, Cousin remained imprisoned because of a plea bargain he made on minor charges at a time when he felt his future was hopeless.  (JD02)  [6/05]


Orleans Parish, LA Dan Bright Jan 29, 1995 (Ninth Ward)
Daniel L. Bright III was convicted of the robbery and murder of Murray Barnes.  The crime occurred on Super Bowl Sunday outside Creola's bar at 2904 Laussat St.  Barnes had just collected $1,000 in the bar's Super Bowl pool.  Bright was sentenced to death.  The only evidence that served to convict him was the testimony of Freddie Thompson.  Bright's conviction was overturned after it was noted that Thompson was very drunk on the day of the crime and that the prosecution failed to disclose that Thompson was a convicted felon and in violation of his parole.  The prosecution dropped all charges against Bright in 2004.  [3/06]


Orleans Parish, LA Dwight Labran Dec 26, 1996
Dwight Labran was convicted of murdering Martin Hubbard.  The conviction was due to a sole eyewitness who had serious credibility problems.  The eyewitness, Kevin Watson, aka Kevin Ellis, was Hubbard's cousin.  Watson was the owner of the car in which the victim's body was found and had outstanding warrants for firearms and drug offenses.  By giving a false name and naming Labran as the killer, he not only avoided becoming a suspect, but also avoided being arrested on his own outstanding warrants.  None of this evidence was presented at trial.  Labran's conviction was later reversed because of eyewitness perjury and he was released in 2001.  (NOIP)


Plaquemines Parish, LA Alvin Latham July 16, 2000

After a storm at sea, a shrimp boat named “The Bandit,” containing Alvin Latham and the ship's captain, Raymond Leiker, failed to return to its home port of Venice, LA.  Latham was picked up at sea 14 hours later holding onto a piece of wood.  He said the storm came up suddenly and that while trying to pull fish into the boat, Leiker's foot got caught in a fishing net. Latham tried to help Leiker free his foot, but eventually Leiker told him to save himself.  Moments after Latham swam away from the boat, the boat submerged into the sea.

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Rapides Parish, LA Amanda Hypes Jan 2001 (Tioga)
Amanda Hypes, aka Amanda Gutweiler, was indicted in April 2002 for the arson murder of her three children, Sadie Plum, 10, Luke Hayden, 6, and Jessica Gutweiler, 3.  A fire “expert,” John DeHaan, ruled that the Jan. 2001 fire that destroyed her home on Friar Tuck Road in Tioga was arson.  Prosecutors said they would demand the death penalty.  After being held in jail awaiting trial for more than four years, a judge dismissed the indictment and released Hypes.  He ruled that the original arson finding was based “merely on an old wives tale,” of discredited fire investigation techniques.  (Chicago Tribune)  [3/07]


Sabine Parish, LA Rickey Johnson July 12, 1982

Rickey Johnson was convicted of raping a woman on July 12, 1982 at an apartment complex in Many, LA.  He was convicted solely on the victim's identification.  She was unable to describe any distinguishing marks that Johnson had, including his gold front tooth, despite her testimony of looking at her assailant's face during the entire four hours he was in her bedroom.

In 2001, a close friend and fellow inmate, Calvin Willis, told Johnson to contact the Innocence Project to help exonerate him of his wrongful conviction.  Johnson watched Willis walk out of prison after being exonerated by DNA evidence in 2003.  In Jan. 2008, Johnson was also exonerated after DNA tests showed that another man, John Carnell McNeal, had committed the rape.  McNeal had been convicted in 1984 of raping another woman on April 30, 1983 at the same apartment complex.  (Shreveport Times)  [3/08]


St. Mary Parish, LA Hampton & Spencer Convicted 1961
To get even with Mary Kathryn Hampton for her instrumental role in getting him convicted of killing a Key West, FL salesman, Emmitt Monroe Spencer (aka Emitt, Emmett) confessed to committing two murders with Hampton.  The murders were that of Hermine Fiedler, a Boutte bar operator, in St. Mary Parish and Benjamin Yount, a New Orleans business executive, in St. Charles Parish.  A guard quoted Spencer as saying: "I'll get that bitch if it's the last thing I do."  The police interrogated Hampton for 43 days before she finally cracked and gave a false confession.  Both Hampton and Spencer were convicted of the murders.  It was later proven that Hampton and Spencer had been in Florida when the murders were committed.  Both were cleared in 1966.  [10/05]


St. Tammany Parish, LA Dennis Brown Sept 1984 (Covington)
In Sept. 1984, a woman was raped in Covington, LA.  Dennis Brown was not even a suspect in the rape, but he had unwisely volunteered to serve as a filler in a police lineup.  The victim had only seen the eyes of her masked assailant, but she identified Brown in the lineup and at trial.  On the basis of this identification, Brown was prosecuted and convicted.  He served 19 years of a life sentence before DNA tests exonerated him in 2004.  (IP) (IPNO)


Terrebonne Parish, LA Clyde Charles Mar 12, 1981
Clyde Charles was convicted of rape.  Clyde and his brother Marlo Charles had been out drinking together at a bar.  The brothers then went their separate ways hitchhiking.  The victim, a 26-year-old, was subsequently raped after her car had a flat tire on the same road as the bar.  The victim initially told police that her assailant was clean-shaven, but she identified the fully bearded Clyde as her assailant when police brought him to her several hours after the assault.  Police had found Clyde hitchhiking an hour before the assault and had ordered him off the road.  Marlo bore a strong resemblance to Clyde and was dressed similar to him on the night of the assault, but the victim maintained that Clyde was her assailant.  At trial, Marlo testified in his brother's defense, but was not asked by either the prosecution or the defense if he was the rapist.  However, Clyde's defense attorney filed an affidavit stating he believed Marlo was the rapist.  Clyde began requesting DNA tests in the early 1990's but prosecutors blocked these requests for years.  In 1999, DNA tests exonerated Clyde and implicated Marlo.  (IP) (Frontline) (JD12)  [11/08]


Union Parish, LA Graham & Burrell Aug 31, 1986 (Downsville)
Michael Ray Graham, Jr. and Albert Ronnie Burrell were convicted of the robbery and murders of William Delton Frost, 65, and Callie Maude Frost, 60, at their home near Downsville.  Graham and Burrell were sentenced to death.  The two were arrested after Burrell's ex-wife, Janet, stated that she had seen Burrell with a rifle on the night of the murder and that he told her Graham had used it to shoot the couple.  Janet also said she saw Delton Frost's wallet with his social security card in Burrell's car.  However, police reports showed that Delton's wallet and social security card were found on his bed at the murder scene.  Following the arrests, Olan Wayne Brantley, a prison informant, claimed that Graham had confessed to him, and after Brantley was moved to Burrell's cell, he claimed that Burrell had confessed as well.  A law enforcement official acknowledged that Brantley was known as "Lying Wayne."  In early 2000, 17 days before Burrell's scheduled execution, his ex-wife recanted her statement.  She said she had implicated him in an effort to gain an advantage in a child-custody dispute.  She had attempted to recant before the pair's trials, but she was threatened with loss of custody if she did.  Graham and Burrell were released on Dec 28, 2000 and Jan. 3, 2001.  (CWC) (Profiles of Injustice) (JD15)  [1/06]


Webster Parish, LA Jimmy Wingo Dec 25, 1982 (Dixie Inn)
Jimmy Wingo was convicted of murdering Newton and Erline Brown after breaking into their Dixie Inn home. Wingo and a co-defendant, Jimmy L. Glass, had escaped the day before from the Webster Parish Jail.  Glass testified to the unlikely story that after he had stated Wingo's name within earshot of the Browns, Wingo held a shotgun to his head and forced him to kill the Browns.  Centurion Ministries' investigation yielded videotaped recantations by the two main state witnesses who admitted they were coerced by a deputy sheriff into lying at Wingo's trial.  A dismissive Louisiana Governor and Board of Pardons rejected this strong evidence.  Wingo was executed by electric chair on June 16, 1987.  (CM)  [5/05]


West Feliciana Parish, LA Angola Three Apr 17, 1972 (Angola)

Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, both blacks, were convicted of murdering white prison guard Brent Miller in Louisiana's State Penitentiary at Angola, the largest U.S. Prison.  Evidence against them seems to depend solely on coerced or bribed testimony.  Woodfox and Wallace were known prison activists, and the conviction allowed the prison to keep them permanently in solitary confinement.

Robert King Wilkerson, also a prison activist, was also held initially in solitary confinement because officially he was "under investigation" for the death of Miller, although he was not at Angola at the time of Miller's death.  Later he was charged and convicted of killing inmate August Kelly, but there was compelling evidence of his innocence.  His conviction was later overturned.  Afterwards, apparently to avoid being sued, the state insisted he plead guilty to conspiracy and receive time served.  Wilkerson agonized over the decision, but agreed to it and was released.  Woodfox got a retrial in 1998, but despite the lack of evidence was re-convicted.  (JD01, Herman Wallace)  [6/05]