Victims of the State

Cuyahoga County, OH

Donte Booker

Nov 11, 1986

Donte Booker was convicted of a Beachwood rape after being identified by the victim. After being raped, the victim said the rapist took her car. The car was later recovered, but a toy gun that was previously inside it was missing. Booker was arrested in Feb 1987 on an unrelated incident involving a toy gun. The victim identified the toy gun as the one stolen from her, and she identified Booker as her rapist. Booker was paroled in 2002 after refusing chances at an earlier parole because he would not admit he committed the crime. He applied for DNA testing, and in 2005 DNA tests exonerated him of the crime.  (IP)

Philadelphia County, PA

George Booker

Jan 20, 1981

George Booker was convicted of the robbery and murder of Paul Lehman. Lehman worked a lottery stand at the corner of Germantown and Lehigh Aves. The robbery netted $14,000 in state lottery receipts. A year after the murder, a witness, Eric Murphy, appeared of his own volition and fingered two suspects. “Two of the males I knew from before.” “One of the males was Michael Sanford, and the other male was a guy named Spud.” Spud turned out to be Tyrone Payne. “The third guy,” continues Murphy's statement, “I did not know but he was a tall black guy. He had on a black leather jacket.” Police took a second statement from Murphy 24 hours later in which he identified the first two men from photos and referred to the third man as “the other guy.” Yet in a third statement 12 hours later, Murphy suddenly “knew” the third man for he identified Booker from a series of photos and said, “That's Junie, I saw him wrestling with the lottery man.”

In 2001, a female friend of Booker located Murphy and he readily recanted his testimony. Booker petitioned for a new trial and at the court hearing, Murphy said he identified Booker because police told him to. He said police had told him that failing to identify Booker would free Sanford and Payne. Sanford had threatened Murphy after the shooting, warning him not to snitch. Murphy thought he could best assure his own safety by turning him in. Detectives may have fixated on Booker as the third man because as a juvenile he had been arrested with Payne. The judge denied Booker's motion for a new trial, but Murphy was arrested for perjury as the prosecutor had threatened during cross-examination. Murphy served 14 months of imprisonment on the charge. The Innocence Project is reviewing Booker's case.  (Phila. Weekly)  [7/07]

 England (Sheffield CC)

Shaun Booker

June 19, 1999

Shaun Booker was convicted of manslaughter for beating 57-year-old Michael Marples to death in a Sheffield parking lot. Booker was convicted because the prosecution claimed that blood found on his clothes splattered on him during the assault. Booker claimed the blood got on him when he found Marples after the assault and tried to revive him. Booker's trial jury acquitted him of murder but convicted him of manslaughter. In February 2006 at the request of the Crown, an appeals court quashed Booker's conviction based on new evidence which it said “casts very great doubt on the correctness of the appellant having been the assailant.” However, the court refused to reveal what the new evidence was, stating, “We are satisfied...that the nature of the evidence is such it cannot be disclosed without causing serious damage to the public interest.”  (Innocent)  [12/10]

Bronx County, NY

Boone & Cleveland

Convicted 1973

“[Larry Boone and Arthur Cleveland were] convicted of murder in Bronx County on December 6, 1973. [Boone's] conviction was reversed on July 15, 1975, because the prosecutor had failed to disclose crucial exculpatory evidence. On remand, the trial court dismissed all charges because the detective’s notes had been lost and because witnesses favorable to the defense (whose identities were not revealed by the government at the time of trial) were no longer available, and because there was no proof of Boone’s criminal intent other than his mere presence at the scene. The Court of Claims granted Boone summary judgment on his wrongful imprisonment compensation claim. He had been sentenced to twenty-five years to life in prison, and had served nearly two years before being released.”

“[Cleveland] was sentenced to twenty years to life in prison. His conviction was reversed in 1975 on the authority of People v. Boone, on the grounds that the prosecutor had unconstitutionally failed to disclose crucial exculpatory evidence. The trial court on remand dismissed all charges. Cleveland had been imprisoned for four and one-half years.” – Inevitable Error  (People v. Boone) (People v. Cleveland)

Bennington County, VT 

Jesse & Stephen Boorn

1812 (Manchester)

When Russel Colvin disappeared in 1812, suspicion of foul play fell on his brothers-in-law, Jesse and Stephen Boorn, who held Colvin in disdain. Seven years later, the uncle of the suspects had a recurring dream in which Colvin appeared to him and said that he had been slain. Colvin did not identify his killers but said that his remains had been put in a cellar hole on the Boorn farm. The cellar hole was excavated but no remains were found. Shortly afterward, a dog unearthed some large bones from beneath a nearby stump. Three local physicians examined the bones and declared them human.

Officials took Jesse Boorn into custody. They would have arrested Stephen Boorn as well, but he had moved to New York. While in custody, Jesse's cellmate, forger Silas Merill, told authorities that Jesse confessed. In return for agreeing to testify against Jesse, Merrill was released from jail. Faced with mounting evidence against him, Jesse admitted to the murder, but placed principal blame on Stephen, who legally was beyond the reach of the local authorities. However, a Vermont constable met up with Stephen, and Stephen agreed to return to Vermont with him to clear his name. After his return to Vermont, Stephen confessed as well, although he claimed to have acted in self-defense.

The local physicians then changed their minds that the found bones were human, and declared them animal. Nevertheless, the prosecution pressed ahead with its case and both of the Boorn brothers were convicted and sentenced to death. The Vermont legislature commuted Jesse's sentence to life in prison, but denied relief to Stephen. Shortly before Stephen was to be hanged in 1820, Colvin was found living in New Jersey. On Colvin's return to Vermont, both brothers were released.  (CWC) (CTI)  [12/05]

Lane County, OR

Boots & Proctor

June 7, 1983 (Springfield)

Christopher Boots and Eric Proctor were initially charged with the murder of 19-year-old 7-Eleven clerk Raymond John Oliver, but charges were dropped and they were released. They then filed a wrongful imprisonment suit. In retaliation for filing the suit, Springfield, OR police recharged them with the same offense and framed them for the murder. They were both convicted of committing the murder in 1986. They were cleared in 1994, after DNA tests excluded them as the killers, and the real killer confessed in a recorded conversation with a police informant. Both men were awarded $1 million each in 1998.  (Justice: Denied)  [10/05]

Bronx County, NY 

Georgino Borrero

May 8, 1982

“Georgino Borrero, a [drug] store security guard, was convicted of criminally negligent homicide in Bronx County on July 6, 1983, in the shooting death of John Johnson. [The shooting occurred near the store located at 1500 Metropolitan Ave.] On appeal in 1986, the Appellate Division found that, after Johnson pulled a gun on him, Borrero had left the store to find a police officer and fired only when Johnson advanced toward him with a gun and assumed a ‘combat stance.’ The court found that Borrero had ‘acted entirely reasonably.... [His] conduct was that of a responsible citizen.’ His conviction was reversed and the indictment dismissed.” – Inevitable Error  (Appeal)


Cees Borsboom

June 2000 (Schiedam)

Cees Borsboom was convicted of raping and murdering Nienke Kleiss, a 10-year-old girl. He was also convicted of the attempted murder of Kleiss's 11-year-old male friend named Maikel. After being severely beaten, Maikel survived by pretending to be dead. Borsboom came across the victims and reported the crime to police on his cellphone. After being arrested for these crimes, Borsboom confessed his responsibility for them to police officers, to a prosecutor, and to the investigative judge. After a while, Borsboom withdrew his confession, claiming it was coerced by the police.

Borsboom's confession was given in vague terms, without providing specific information and without his defense lawyer being present. Peter R. de Vries, a Dutch TV journalist, thought the case was fishy and did some investigation. He found that Borsboom did not fit the description given by Maikel, nor did Maikel recognize Borsboom. De Vries also found that Borsboom did not have time to commit the crime, especially since there was a second witness on the scene right when he called 112 (the Dutch equivalent to 911).

In 2004, another man, Wik Haalmeijer, who got caught for two other child molestation crimes, confessed to the crimes for which Borsboom was convicted. Further investigation revealed that the DA and the National Forensic Institute had known all along that Borsboom did not commit the crime. They had performed DNA tests which excluded Borsboom as the perpetrator, but had withheld the test results from Borsboom' defense. This DNA evidence was matched to Haalmeijer following his confession. Borsboom was exonerated and released in 2005. He was also awarded $706,000 for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment.  (JD34) (VDG) (Utrecht Law Review)  [10/08]

 Monroe County, FL

Orlando Bosquete

June 25, 1982 (Stock Island)

Orlando Bosquete was convicted of rape. The victim was raped in her apartment and said her assailant was a Latino who wore no shirt and had no hair. Shortly after the incident, an officer stopped several Cuban-American men in a convenience store parking lot. Only Bosquete had no shirt and no hair. The victim identified Bosquete as her assailant from 20 feet away as he was in a police car. Bosquete had a large, black moustache that the victim then added to her description of her assailant.

Bosquete had come to the U.S. as part of the 1980 Mariel boatlift. Bosquete escaped from prison in 1985, but was arrested 10 years later. Three months later, he escaped again, but was arrested again after a year. DNA tests proved him innocent in 2006, and the prosecutor has apologized. Nevertheless, upon release from prison, he was rearrested by immigration because while he was on the run, he failed to register and pursue citizenship. A judge will decide whether he can be deported.  (AP News) (IP)

 Broward County, FL

Larry Bostic

Oct 12, 1988 (Ft Lauderdale)

After being identified by the victim of a rape as her assailant, Larry Bostic pleaded guilty to the crime. He stated during appeals that he was “coerced” to plead guilty by both the prosecutor and his court-appointed attorney. Bostic was released on parole after serving three years of imprisonment, but 9 months later he violated his parole and was sent back to prison. In 2005, Bostic filed a handwritten motion from prison, requesting DNA testing. In 2007, DNA tests were performed which exonerated him. Reportedly, the victim told an investigator in 2007 that she had not seen her assailant, but identified Bostic because she believed she had seen him in the neighborhood days before the crime.  (IP)  [10/07]

Jasper County, SC 

Roger Bostick

Mar 7, 1999 (Pineland)

Roger Bostick was convicted in 2001 of murdering his neighbor, 69-year-old Sarah Polite. Polite served as the treasurer and secretary of her church. Typically, she would bring home a briefcase containing money from the church on Sunday for deposit at the bank on Monday. On a Sunday afternoon she had been struck in the head with a blunt force object and her house was set on fire. She died from smoke inhalation.

Two days after the murder, car keys and other items belonging to Polite were found on a burn pile at a nearby property belonging to Bostick's mother. Specks of blood were found on Bostick's jeans which according to his attorney were “microscopic, not visible to the naked eyes except under very close inspection.” DNA analysis was performed on a sample of this blood. Analyst Nancy Skraba testified that while ninety-nine percent of the population could be excluded as contributing to the sample, she was unable to determine whether the blood sample actually came from Polite. Evidence of gasoline was found on Bostick's shoes which was also used to start the fire in Polite's house.

Defense witnesses presented testimony which cast suspicion on Polite's son, Rudy. According to one witness, Polite was upset that Rudy fixed everyone's car except hers, threw her keys at him, and then went inside her house. The witness saw Rudy drive off in a truck a few moments later. Rudy stated he left to go to an auto parts store to buy a part for his mother's car. When he returned about an hour later, the house was engulfed in flames. Another witness testified that after Polite's body was brought out and placed on the ground, Rudy started to smoke a cigarete and “didn't express any emotion or feeling.”

At trial Bostick requested a directed verdict of aquittal due to insufficient evidence, but it was denied. In 2011, the state supreme court ruled that trial court erred when it denied this request. It found that the state's evidence had only raised a suspicion of guilt. The ruling acquitted Bostick and he was subsequently released from prison.  (State v. Bostick) (Justice: Denied)  [12/11]

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]

Saratoga County, NY 

Daniel P. Boutin

Nov 26, 1985

“Daniel P. Boutin was convicted of two counts of criminally negligent homicide in Saratoga County on February 5, 1987. While driving his truck on the Adirondack Northway in Saratoga County, Boutin collided with a police car that had stopped in the right hand roadway behind a disabled tractor trailer. The police car’s lights were flashing, but visibility was low due to fog and rain. Both the state trooper and the driver of the disabled truck, who were seated inside the police vehicle, were killed. The Appellate Division affirmed the conviction, but the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the evidence does not show that defendant was engaged in any criminally culpable risk-creating conduct.... Rather, it establishes only that defendant inexplicably failed to see the vehicle until he was so close that he could not prevent the collision.... [T]hat unexplained failure, without more, does not constitute criminally negligent homicide.” – Inevitable Error  (Appeals)

Oklahoma County, OK

Clifford Bowen

July 6, 1980

Clifford Henry Bowen was convicted of murdering Ray Peters, Marvin Nowlin and Lawrence Evans. The victims were killed as they sat around a poolside table at a Guest House Inn motel in Oklahoma City. Bowen was given three death sentences. On appeal, the Tenth Circuit Court overturned his conviction in 1986. The Court held that prosecutors in the case failed to disclose information about another suspect, Lee Crowe, a South Carolina police officer. The Court ruled that had the defense known of the Crowe materials, the result of the trial would probably have been different. Crowe resembled Bowen, had greater motive, no alibi, and habitually carried the same gun and unusual ammunition consistent with that used in the murders. Bowen, on the other hand, maintained his innocence, provided twelve alibi witnesses to confirm that he was 300 miles from the crime scene just one hour before the crime, and could not be linked by any physical evidence to the crime. Charges against Bowen were dropped in 1987.  (Bowen v. State) (Bowen v. Maynard)

 England (Hove CC)

Sheila Bowler

May 13, 1992 (East Sussex)

Sheila Bowler was convicted of murdering her late husband's 89-year-old aunt, Florence Jackson. While Bowler was driving Jackson one night, a tire on her car became deflated and Bowler stopped on Route A259 near Station Road in Winchelsea. She left Jackson in the car and went to seek help. She knocked on the door of a residence and met a Mr. Soan. She used his telephone to call for roadside assistance. When she came back to her car with Mr. and Mrs. Soan, Jackson was missing. In the search for Jackson that followed, Bowler told others not to look far away, as she did not think Jackson was mobile enough to have wandered very far. Jackson's body was found the next day 600 yards away in the River Brede. She had drowned.
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Mercer County, WV 

Payne Boyd

May 30, 1918 (Modoc)

In 1918, a black coal miner named Cleveland Boyd was convicted on vagrancy complaints. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $25. The judge who convicted him, Squire H. E. Cook, and a deputy sheriff, A. M. Godfrey, then prepared to take him to the jail at Matoaka. Boyd, however, pleaded to stop at his home about 100 yards away where he could exchange his new shoes for older, more comfortable ones. On stopping at his home, Boyd retrieved a revolver and shot the judge twice, mortally wounding him. The deputy sheriff fled for his life. Boyd fled into the hills and escaped capture.
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Dutchess County, NY 

Dewey Bozella

June 14, 1977

Dewey Bozella was convicted in 1983 and again in 1990 of the murder of 92-year-old Emma Crapser. The victim interrupted a burglary after returning to her 15 N. Hamilton Street apartment in Poughkeepsie. She was beaten, bound with an electrical cord, and suffocated. At Bozella's trials, the prosecution relied almost entirely on the testimony of two career criminals, Wayne Moseley and Lamar Smith, both of whom repeatedly changed their stories and both of whom got favorable treatment in their own cases in exchange for their testimony.

According to the witnesses' testimony, the two left a park with Bozella about 8 p.m. and arrived outside Crapser's apartment when it was dark. Then according to Smith, both Mosley and Bozella were on the victim's front porch for five to ten minutes before they went inside. Not more than five minutes later, a car pulled up and the victim got out. Such testimony placed Crapser's arrival and death around 9 p.m. However, other evidence indicated with relative certainty that Crapser was dropped off and killed very close to 11 p.m.

There was no physical evidence linking Bozella to the crime. In 1983 the FBI found that a fingerprint lifted from the inside of Crapser's bathroom window matched a man named Donald Wise. Wise was convicted of murdering another elderly woman in the same neighborhood as Crapser. This murder occurred just months after that of Crapser and the victim's sister who was present at the crime said the assailant tried to stuff something down her throat. Crapser was suffocated with several pieces of cloth stuffed down her throat.

In 2007, the law firm of WilmerHale agreed to handle Bozella's case on a pro bono basis. Among the people the lawyers interviewed was Arthur Regula, a retired Poughkeepsie police lieutenant, who surprised them by pulling out Bozella's case file. Regula said it was the only case file he kept after retirement, figuring that the conviction was so problematic lawyers might want it someday. The file contained statements from Crapser's neighbors that contradicted the two key witnesses against Bozella. Using Freedom of Information Act filings, the lawyers obtained a tape recording of someone who implicated Wise in the murder. None of this evidence had been turned over to Bozella's trial attorneys. In 2009, a judge overturned Bozella's conviction, the prosecution dropped charges, and Bozella was released after 26 years of imprisonment.  (NY Daily News) (NY Times) (Appeals)  [4/10]