Date of Alleged Crime
Guy Gordon Marsh
June 28, 1971 (Glen Burnie)
convicted of murdering Charles Erdman, a customer inside a Glen Burnie
7-Eleven on Crain Highway near Aquahart Road. The victim had tried to stop
a robbery that was in progress. Linda Packech, a heroin addict and the main
witness against Marsh at trial, said she saw Marsh come out of the store and
pull his mask up. In 1987, Packech admitted she lied. She was in jail at
the time she claimed to have seen Marsh. She told a reporter and a
prosecutor that she had been pressured to finger Marsh by a county police
detective who was convinced Marsh was guilty. Marsh was released after 14
years of imprisonment and Packech was convicted of perjury. (Annapolis
Daughter of Laura Rogers
daughter of Laura Rogers was convicted as a 16-year-old of filing a false
police report after accusing her stepfather of raping her. Later the girl
told her mother that her stepfather had made a videotape of the rapes, and
after finding and viewing the tape, the mother, Laura Rogers, shot her
husband to death that night while he was sleeping. After seeing the
evidence, prosecutors agreed to vacate the girl's conviction. Laura Rogers
pleaded guilty to manslaughter and served six months in jail. (Seattle
|Baltimore City, MD
Nov 28, 1961
Nick Donald Bagley was convicted of the murder of Donald J.
Davis. Davis operated a retail meat store on Falls Road in Baltimore
City. Around 7 a.m. one morning, he was found in his store lying in a
pool of blood with a gunshot wound to his head. A revolver belonging
to Davis was on the floor close to and pointing toward the left side of his
head. He died four days later. The medical examiner reported
that his findings indicated a typical self-inflicted wound.
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Baltimore City, MD
Dec 2, 1967
Lomax was convicted of the robbery and murder of
the proprietor of the Giles Food Market. The crime was one of many
robberies that occurred that month. In an effort to solve the crimes, the
police resorted to en-masse lineups at the main police station, which they
advertised in the newspaper. Showing up to view the lineups were 75
witnesses to 58 crimes including the Giles Food Market murder. Lomax heard
that there was a warrant out for his arrest and went to the police station
to find out why. The warrant was actually issued for his brother, for
non-payment of child support. For reasons unknown, Lomax was placed in one
of the numerous lineups. Three witnesses identified him as the shooter at
the Giles Food Market.
Prior to the crime, the shooter had engaged in
extended interaction with two store clerks in the checkout line, and had
carried away two bags of groceries before returning to rob the store.
Significantly, these two clerks, who had the best opportunity to view the
shooter, could not identify Lomax.
Nine days before the crime, 20-year-old Lomax
chaperoned his younger sisters to a dance and was attacked by 10 to 12 thugs
who came to the dance to cause trouble. During the attack he was stabbed in
his right hand, punched, and kicked. Due to injuries, Lomax wore a plaster
cast from his palm and fingers to his elbow. Also, during the following
week, he could hardly move due to painful chest and rib injuries. None of
the witnesses to the shooting noticed any cast worn by the robber and they
indicated that he fired his gun with his right hand. A doctor who treated
Lomax on the day of the shooting indicated that the padding and cast on his
hand rendered it immobile. Lomax's rib and chest injuries made it
impossible for him to have carried two large grocery bags immediately prior
to the shooting.
Lomax's trial attorney did not present Lomax's
hand injury in a way the jury could grasp, and made no mention of his rib
and chest injuries. The judge wondered aloud at trial why Lomax's hand had
been stabbed. Not knowing the circumstances of the hand injury, the jury
could have attributed it to criminal conduct on Lomax's part.
In a Dec. 2006 resentencing hearing, Lomax's
attorneys were able to present the full facts and circumstances of Lomax's
case. The judge citing “evidence of actual innocence” as well as
Lomax's spotless 39-year prison record, modified Lomax's sentence to time
served. With the prosecutor's agreement, Lomax walked out of the courtroom
a free man. (CM)
Apr 29, 1974
Michael Austin was convicted of shooting
to death Roy Kellam, a security guard, at a Crown Food Market. A store
clerk, Jackie Robinson, who identified Austin at trial, had changed his
initial description of the shooter after police charged him in another
case. Robinson's family later said Jackie was not a civic-minded college
student as prosecutors told jurors, but a drug dealer. Following Robinson's
death by heroin overdose in 1997, his brother came forward and said that
Jackie had confessed to him that he sent an innocent man to prison. Another
eyewitness, the store's assistant manager, was not called at trial, but had
given a physical description that did not fit Austin. Austin also clocked
out of his factory job at 4:53 p.m., 27 minutes before the murder, and given
the distance from his job to the store, could not have committed the murder.
In July 2001,
after spending 27 years in prison, Austin's lawyer presented overwhelming
evidence of his innocence, police misconduct, and ineffective counsel by his
original defense lawyer. A key piece of evidence was the eyewitness
testimony of Erik Komitzski, the assistant store manager. Komitzski, who is 5
feet 9 inches tall, said he knew, absolutely, that the shooter was not
taller than himself because he stood eyeball to eyeball with him. Austin is
6 feet 5 inches tall. Austin was freed in Dec. 2001, pardoned in 2003, and was awarded $1.4
million in 2004 for his 27 years of wrongful imprisonment. (AP
News) (CNS) (CM) [9/06]
Henry Myron Roberts was
convicted of the second-degree murder of his nephew, 21-year-old Henry
Robert Harrison, despite the fact that
Roberts was critically wounded during the killing. Police found the murder
weapon, a gun registered to Roberts, in Herring Creek Run, 1/2 mile
downstream from Roberts' house. They argued that Roberts had thrown the gun
into the run and that it washed downstream. Roberts argued that the gun
could not have washed downstream since even during a rainstorm the run never
exceeded 6 inches in depth.
sentenced to 50 years in prison. He proclaimed his innocence in hundreds of
letters written from prison. In April 2002, another man, Robert Tomczewski,
pleaded guilty to the murder, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Prosecutors searched for Roberts to release him, but he had died in 1996.
Tomczewski had shot both Roberts and his nephew and threw the gun, which he
had stolen from Roberts a year before the murder, into the run at the
location where it was found. It had never washed downstream. (JD35
|Baltimore City, MD
Kenneth Barnes was charged with sexual assault after the 8-year-old sister
of his girlfriend claimed he had raped her. In 1998, prior to trial,
Barnes' mother (and court-appointed guardian) met with
his attorney, Warren Brown. Brown explained a
prosecution offered plea agreement in which Barnes
did not have to admit guilt for which he would receive no jail time,
only probation. It seemed like a good deal so Barnes took the plea.
However, the defense attorney never explained that Barnes would be branded a
sex offender for life and have his name, picture, and address placed on the
Maryland Sex Offender Registry.
In 2005, Barnes, who is mentally ill, was
given a suspended sentenced for being days late in failing to register a change of address.
Months later he was jailed for a year and a half for maintaining a separate
address. In 2007,
Lydia Fitzsimmons, the owner of a Tropicool Italian ice stand on Falls
Road in Roland Park, found that Barnes lingered near her business before and after
ordering an ice and then sat in his car watching customers. Many of
the customers were children. Barnes may have been watching the young
mothers, though no one really knows. He denies having a prurient
interest in children. After being told by a customer that Barnes was on
the sex-offender registry, Fitzsimmons called the police. Since
watching customers was not a crime, police could not do
anything, but Fitzsimmons wrote a letter to Barnes' parole board asking them
to incarcerate him. Parole officials complied on the grounds that
Barnes was in a "pre-contemplative state of re-offending."
Later that year, the
girl who made the rape allegation against Barnes was located and she admitted Barnes did not rape her.
The girl, named Marian, then age 20, said she accused Barnes because she was jealous of her older sister's
closeness to him and wanted to break them up.
Those who support Barnes are seeking to get his
conviction overturned so that it cannot be used as an excuse to incarcerate
him at will for alleged non-crimes. (City
convicted of the shooting murder of Lewis Jackson. In 2005, Addison's
conviction was overturned after exculpatory evidence was discovered that was
withheld from the defense. Three witnesses had made statements prior to
trial, which contradicted the testimony of the state's sole witness. The
state decided to drop charges and Addison was released. (JD31
|Baltimore County, MD
May 12, 1936 (Reisterstown)
One evening two women spotted two men loitering near a darkened home in
their neighborhood. When the women questioned the loiterers, the men
gave evasive answers and drove away. After being notified, the police
stopped the loiterers' car. However, the men drew their guns and took
the officers' revolvers. Police later found the loiterers' abandoned
car near the home of Edward Chalk. Chalk was identified as one of the
men by the officers and by the two women who reported the men to the police.
While Chalk was in jail awaiting trial, Joseph C. Martin confessed to being
one of the loiterers who held up the officers and stated that Chalk had not
been his companion. Nevertheless, Chalk was brought to trial and
convicted. The judge, however, suspending sentence pending Chalk's
motion for a new trial. In the meantime, police found Martin's
accomplice and Chalk was released. (Not Guilty) [6/08]
|Baltimore County, MD
Cornell Avery Estes
Cornell Avery Estes was 15 when he was sentenced in 1979 to life in prison
for stabbing a woman to death on Security Boulevard. Less than a year after
Estes's conviction, somebody else confessed to the murder and Estes was
released. In 1984, Estes was awarded $16,500 for his wrongful
July 1982 (Towson)
convicted of breaking into a 47-year-old schoolteacher's home and raping
her. The victim identified Webster in a photo lineup. DNA tests exonerated
him in 2004. (IP)
July 25, 1984
was convicted of the rape and murder of Dawn Hamilton, a 9-year-old girl.
He was sentenced to death. In 1986 the Maryland Court of Appeals
overturned Bloodsworth's conviction because prosecutors Robert Lazzaro and
Ann Brobst withheld evidence pertaining to another possible suspect.
Bloodsworth was reconvicted in 1987, but in 1993 he was exonerated by DNA
tests and released from prison. In 1994 he received a full pardon.
Bloodsworth was the first death-row inmate to be freed through the use of
DNA tests. In 2003 a match was found to the real killer. Bloodsworth knew
the real killer, having spent years living in the same prison cellblock with
him. Bloodsworth's case is featured in a 2004 book entitled
by Tim Junkin. (IP)
of Injustice) [12/05]
Oct 20, 1984 (Randallstown)
convicted of murdering Charles ``Squeaky'' Jordan and his 18-year-old
stepdaughter, Lisa Brown, during a home invasion. Brown's mother, Linda
Jordan, was shot in the head but survived and offered eyewitness testimony.
Conover had a seemingly airtight alibi as he was with dozens of people at a
birthday party during the time of the murder. "Expert" FBI lab technicians
testified that a hair found at the murder scene matched Conover's. DNA
tests in 2003 excluded the hair as being from Conover. After Conover's
conviction was overturned, prosecutors announced their intention to retry
Conover. Desperate to get out of prison without waiting another year for a
retrial, Conover agreed to plead no contest to the armed robbery related to the
Sept 15, 1988
convicted of the murder of Florence G. Lacs, 77, who was last seen on Sept.
15, 1988 and found drowned in her bathtub on Sept 17. On the night of Sept
15, and on the following day, Wiggins and his girlfriend allegedly used
Lacs's credit cards and car, and on Sept. 17, they pawned a ring she owned.
Lacs's apartment was ransacked, but Wiggins's fingerprints were not found in
the apartment, and unidentified fingerprints were found. Wiggins was
sentenced to death. In 2001, a federal judge overturned the conviction,
ruling that "no rational finder of fact could have found Wiggins guilty of
murder beyond a reasonable doubt." In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court
reinstated Wiggins murder conviction, but not his death sentence. (Baltimore
May 13, 1991
convicted of the rape and murder of 38-year-old Linda Mae Pellicano.
The crime occurred in Pellicano's Chesapeake Beach home. Police coaxed a confession out of the
borderline retarded Gray by telling him that that his codefendants had
confessed. Years later when a burglary suspect reported unpublicized
details of the crime, DNA testing was done which exonerated Gray and the two
other men who were arrested. The DNA tests produced a match with the
burglary suspect. (IP) (MAIP)
Allen Jacob Chesnet
Allen Jacob Chesnet, a learning disabled
sixteen-year-old, had cut his hand while he was doing some work in the
basement of his house. While he was waiting outside his house for a ride to
the hospital, a television news team, investigating the murder of a woman,
Belulah Honaker, who lived down the street, approached him for directions,
but Chesnet did not know where the victim lived. Noticing that his hand was
bleeding, the reporter later told the police about Chesnet, and the police
brought him in for questioning.
fed Chesnet details of the crime by showing him crime scene photos of the
victim's body, her clothing, and the physical make-up of her apartment.
Then the lead detective faked a call from the state crime lab and told
that the lab had matched his DNA to the blood found at the crime scene.
According to police reports, Chesnet just put his head down and began to cry.
Soon thereafter, Chesnet began telling police officers what he thought they
wanted to hear. The details of his confession were at odds with the
evidence, but it did not deter the officers from arresting him.
after the arrest, police learned that Chesnet's blood did not match
bloodstains found in the apartment. By September, further reports confirmed
this result. The District Attorney, in the midst of an election, continued
to keep Chesnet in custody. In late November, after the District Attorney had
won the election, Chesnet was finally released. According to Chesnet, in the
time frame between the discovery that the blood at the crime scene was not
his and the time of his release, he was stabbed once and raped twice in the
adult county jail where he was being held. (The Problem of False
Confessions in the Post-DNA World by Drizen & Leo) [12/06]
Giles, Giles, & Johnson
July 20, 1961
James Giles, John Giles, and
Joseph Johnson Jr., all blacks, were convicted of raping Joyce Roberts, a
white teenager. They were all sentenced to death. The prosecution withheld
evidence that the victim was highly promiscuous and that she had later
falsely accused two other men of raping her prior to the defendants'
trials. The victim initially told police that John Giles had not raped her,
but later claimed that all three defendants raped her. She apparently had a
motive to lie because she was on probation. She had not gone to the police
on her own, but rather was discovered by them.
Because of the
withheld evidence, the Giles brothers had their convictions vacated, but the
Maryland Court of Appeals reinstated their convictions. On appeal, the U.S.
Supreme Court in 1967 voted 5-4 not to uphold the convictions. The Giles
brothers were released the same year. They could not be retried because
Roberts refused to testify against them again. Governor Askew pardoned
Johnson in 1968. (Maryland's
Mockingbird Case) (Giles
v. Maryland) (ISI) [9/07]
|Montgomery County, MD
Maouloud Baby was convicted of raping an 18-year-old Montgomery College
student, identified as J. L. The alleged victim had consented to intercourse with Baby, but told
him that he needed to stop if she said so. During intercourse, J. L. requested the intercourse stop because of the pain it was causing
her. However, she said he continued for "five or so seconds" more.
Baby, who was a 16-year-old high school student at the time of the incident,
said he stopped immediately. Baby was tried as an adult. His first trial resulted in a hung
jury, but he was convicted at a retrial in 2004. At the end of Baby's retrial, the judge defined rape
for the jury as "the unlawful intercourse with
another by force, or threat of force, and without consent." He then had
decide whether Baby committed rape. On appeal in 2006, the Maryland
Court of Appeals overturned Baby's conviction on the basis that under
Maryland law a man cannot be convicted of rape once a consensual sex act has
commenced. (Maryland v. Baby) [9/08]