Victims of the State

18 Cases

Map of Counties

U.S. Cases


County/City:   Anne Arundel   Baltimore City   Baltimore County   Calvert   Cecil   Montgomery




Date of Alleged Crime


Anne Arundel County, MD Guy Gordon Marsh June 28, 1971 (Glen Burnie)
Guy Gordon Marsh was 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 Capital)  [1/07]


Anne Arundel County, MD Daughter of Laura Rogers 2003
The unnamed 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 Times)  [10/05]


Baltimore City, MD Nick Bagley 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 Walter Lomax Dec 2, 1967

Walter 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)  [1/08]


Baltimore City, MD Michael Austin 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]


Baltimore City, MD Hank Roberts 1991

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.

Roberts was 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 p4)  [7/07]


Baltimore City, MD Kenneth Barnes 1996

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 Paper) (2) (3) (4)  [12/09]


Baltimore City, MD Rodney Addison Oct 1996
Rodney Addison was 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 p13)  [12/06]


Baltimore County, MD Edward Chalk 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 Convicted 1979
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 imprisonment.  (Baltimore Sun)  [10/08]


Baltimore County, MD Bernard Webster July 1982 (Towson)
Bernard Webster was 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) (Baltimore Sun)  [12/05]


Baltimore County, MD Kirk Bloodsworth July 25, 1984
Kirk Bloodsworth 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 Bloodsworth by Tim Junkin.  (IP) (CWC) (CBJ) (Profiles of Injustice)  [12/05]


Baltimore County, MD Chris Conover Oct 20, 1984 (Randallstown)
Chris Conover was 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 murder.  (AP News)  [12/05]


Baltimore County, MD Kevin Wiggins Sept 15, 1988
Kevin Wiggins was 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 Sun)  [12/05]


Calvert County, MD Anthony Gray May 13, 1991
Anthony Gray was 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)  [10/05]


Cecil County, MD Allen Jacob Chesnet 1998

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.

The authorities 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 Chesnet 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.

Several weeks 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]


Montgomery County, MD 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 Dec 13, 2003
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 the jury 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]