Victims of the State

Pecos County, TX 

Sonia Cacy

Nov 10, 1991

Sonia Cacy was convicted of the arson murder of her 76-year-old uncle, with whom she shared a house. Cacy's uncle, Bill Richardson, was a careless chain smoker who smoked several packs a day. According to Cacy, his smoking had started about 50 fires, including one about three years earlier that burned his leased home to the ground. Testimony described multiple cigarette burns on Richardson's furniture. The fire marshal had been to the home three times in the month prior to the fatal fire to investigate smaller fires.

An autopsy of Richardson showed evidence he had a heart attack and that he was dead before he could inhale any of the heavy smoke from the fire. Nevertheless, at trial, Joe Castorena, the chief toxicologist for the Bexar County Crime Lab testified that there was evidence of gasoline on Richardson's clothing remnants. Based on this finding and no other evidence, the prosecutor convinced a jury that Cacy had doused her uncle with gasoline and set him on fire. Cacy was sentenced to 99 years of imprisonment.

Cacy's court appointed lawyer, Tony Chavez, did little to challenge Castorena's testimony. He did not hire an expert to rebut Castorena, and he was later convicted of being part of a multi-ton marijuana smuggling operation. The chain of custody of Richardson's clothing remnants had been lost and the remnants presented at trial had no documentation on them to show where they originated. Other clothing remnants of Richardson had been sent to a Houston crime lab, which found no evidence of gasoline. After serving 6 years of imprisonment, Cacy was paroled in 1998. However, she is fighting her conviction, in part, because she does not want to be on parole for another 93 years.  (TIJ)  [7/07]

 Cook County, IL

Dean Cage

Nov 14, 1994

Dean Cage was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl. The assault occurred on Nov. 14, 1994, in an alley in the rear basement stairwell of a building in the 7000 block of South Wabash Avenue. The victim gave a description of her assailant from which a computer-generated composite sketch was made. After the sketch was publicized, police received an anonymous tip that a man who worked at a certain meat packing plant resembled the sketch. Cage worked at the plant, but had no criminal record and did not closely resemble the sketch. In 2004 Cage filed a handwritten petition of habeas corpus in federal court. He asserted he was innocent because the girl had contracted venereal diseases from her assailant, and tests showed Cage did not have any venereal diseases. Cage's petition was rejected. Nevertheless he was arrested and identified by the victim in a live lineup. In 2008 DNA tests exonerated Cage of the crime.  (CWC) (FJDB)  [6/08]

 Ontario, Canada

Rodney Cain

Apr 7, 1985 (Toronto)

Rodney Cain was convicted of murdering Joel Willis outside an after-hours club located at 566 St. Clair Ave. West in Toronto. Cain's conviction was overturned in May 2004 because of new evidence that strongly suggested Cain acted in self-defence. Cain is currently free on bail while a court decides whether to order a new trial or exonerate him.  (Canoe) (R. v. Cain, 2006) (The Star)  [12/05]


Jean Calas

Oct 1761

“Jean Calas was wrongly convicted on March 9, 1762 of murdering his son [Marc-Antoine] by hanging him. 63-year-old Calas was executed later the same day he was convicted by being strangled and burned. Calas had been horrifically tortured in an effort to extract a confession, but he did not confess. Voltaire took up the cause of finding evidence to prove Calas was innocent. On June 4, 1764, France's Great Council annulled Calas' judgment of guilt. On March 9, 1765, Calas was acquitted after a retrial, and his son's death was officially ruled a suicide. After the decision was announced, Voltaire wrote, "This is an event that seems to allow one to hope for universal tolerance." At the time Voltaire was 71-years-old. After making an application to the King, Madame Calas was awarded 12,000 livres, his two daughters were each awarded 6,000 livres, 3,000 livres was awarded to each of his sons and the Calas’ housekeeper, and 6,000 livers was awarded to the family to cover legal expenses. One thousand livres was equal to 10.8 ounces of gold, so these were very significant sums in 1765 given the generally low standard of living in France.” – FJDB

Alfonso Calderón León - See Rivera & Calderón

St. Louis County, MN 

Roger Sipe Caldwell

June 27, 1977

Roger Sipe Caldwell was convicted of murdering Elisabeth Congdon, an elderly Duluth heiress, and her nurse, Velma Pietila. Caldwell had married Marjorie Congdon LeRoy, the adopted daughter of the victim, in 1976. Marjorie received $22,000 per year from trust funds established by the Congdon family, and stood to inherit and estimated $8,200,000 when her mother died. Caldwell was convicted because his fingerprints allegedly matched prints left behind by the perpetrator. A year later when his alleged co-conspirator, Marjorie, went to trial, three expert witnesses for the defense testified that Caldwell's prints did not match. Marjorie was acquitted. Caldwell's conviction was later reversed on appeal. Rather than face another trial, Caldwell entered a time-served plea and was released.  (State v. Caldwell) (More Than Zero)  [10/07]

Suffolk County, NY

Lennie Callace

Jan 1985

Lennie Callace was convicted of three counts of sodomy and four counts of sexual abuse. He was sentenced to 25 to 50 years imprisonment. The victim described her rapist as 5'10" or taller, with reddish-blond afro style hair, a full beard, and a cross tattoo on his left hand. She identified Callace from a photo array and he was arrested 18 months after the crime. Callace is 5'8" and has straight blond hair. He had a goatee he has always kept tightly trimmed and a tiny cross on his right hand. Another suspect in the crime was eliminated after he revealed that he was circumcised, but Callace was also circumcised. Callace has type A blood, the same as the assailant. Callace rejected a plea bargain that would have given him 4 months imprisonment if he pleaded to a lesser charge. DNA tests exonerated Callace in 1992.  (IP) (CBJ) (News Article)  [9/06]

 England (Manchester CC)

Kevin Callan

Apr 15, 1991

“Kevin Callan was wrongly convicted of murder in 1991 of shaking to death his girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter, Amanda Allman, based on the testimony of two prosecution experts. ... Callan was sentenced to life in prison. He became an expert in neurology and his knowledge helped prove that his daughter, who had cerebral palsy, died from the after-effects of brain damage caused by an earlier fall. ... Callan spent four years prison before the Court of Appeal overturned his conviction on April 6, 1995, based on the new medical evidence about the girl's cause of death. The charges were dismissed and Callan was released. Callan wrote a [1997] book about his experience [entitled Kevin Callan's Story.] .... Callan died [in] 2003 at the age of 45. Callan's sister and supporter during his ordeal, Janice Davies, helped to set-up the organisation ‘Innocent,’ to support Kevin and other wrongly convicted prisoners and their families in the United Kingdom. ‘Innocent's’ website is,” – FJDB  (Innocent)

Montgomery County, PA

Paul Camiolo

Sept 30, 1996

Paul Camiolo was charged in 1999 for the 1996 arson murder of his parents after they died from a fire in the home he shared with them. He faced the death penalty. Authorities also charged Camiolo with insurance fraud. They said he set the fire to collect on a $400,000 inheritance. Camiolo's chain smoking mother had presumably started the fire by dropping a cigarette or match on a sofa. Camiolo tried to put out the fire by throwing a pitcher of water on it, but such an action only made the fire worse. He said he told his semi-invalid parents to go out the back door and he called 911. His mother made it out to the back porch, but later died from injuries sustained during the fire. His father was found in an indoor bathroom and was pronounced dead soon afterwards. Camiolo went out the front door and was retrieving clothes from a gym bag in his car when police arrived. It was shortly before dawn and he was still in his underwear. On arrival, the police witnessed the living room windows blow out as the fire reached flashover status.

Floor samples from the first floor where the fire originated tested positive for the presence of gasoline. However, neither the carpet nor the padding above the floor tested positive for gasoline. A volunteer firefighter, Steven Avato, who helped fight the fire, happened to have experience as an ATF arson investigator. He was dumbfounded that Camiolo was charged and rocked the boat by publicly criticizing the arson charges. The state thought Camiolo's exit through the front door was suspicious, but Avato thought it was common for people caught in fires to exit through the door they most commonly use, even if it is not the closest one.

A private investigator tracked down the contractor who built the house. The contractor said the sealer used on the hardwood floors had been thinned with gasoline. Lab tests were performed that revealed the presence of lead in the detected gasoline. Since leaded gas had not been sold for 15 years prior to the fire, investigators concluded that it could not have been used to start this fire. The charges against Camiolo were dropped and he was released after 10 months of imprisonment. For taking a stand in the case for which he was later proven right, Investigator Avato won an Investigator of the Year Award from the International Association of Arson Investigators.  (Forensic Files) (TruthInJustice)  [9/05]

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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Hamilton County, OH

Jerome Campbell

Dec 23, 1988

Jerome Campbell was convicted of stabbing to death his ex-neighbor Henry Turner, 78, during a burglary. Turner was an elderly bootlegger who sold alcohol and cigarettes from his first floor apartment at 1008 York St. Police seized Campbell's gym shoes, one of which had blood on them. Campbell asserted that blood dripped on them once when he cut his finger, but the state claimed it was Turner's blood. The shoes, however, did not match the bloody shoeprints found at the crime scene, but the jury did not learn of this fact. The state also claimed Campbell had taken a bottle of rum as it had the same code number as one in Turner's apartment. However, Turner had a cabinet full of liquor, plus money and a gun near the cabinet, none of which were taken. Campbell was sentenced to death.

In 2002, the bloodied shoe was tested using advanced DNA testing and the tests showed the blood was Campbell's. The state then claimed the blood on the shoe was irrelevant and Campbell was still scheduled for execution in 2003. After an appeals court refused to overturn Campbell's conviction, Gov. Taft commuted his death sentence to life without parole.  (City Beat) (Campaign)  [12/05]

Mark Canter - See Tobias Five

Bexar County, TX 

Ruben Cantu

Nov 8, 1984

Ruben Cantu was convicted of murdering Pedro Gomez, a Mexican laborer. Gomez was robbed and shot to death while he was sleeping in a house under construction on Briggs Street in South San Antonio. The house was right across the street from where Cantu, then 17, lived with his father. Cantu was executed by lethal injection on Aug. 24, 1993. Following Cantu's execution, witnesses have come forward to exonerate him.

Juan Moreno, who was wounded during the attempted robbery and a key eyewitness in the case against Cantu, now says that it was not Cantu who shot him and that he only identified Cantu as the shooter because he felt pressured and was afraid of the authorities. Moreno said that he twice told police that Cantu was not his assailant, but that the authorities continued to pressure him to identify Cantu as the shooter after Cantu was involved in an unrelated wounding of a police officer. “The police were sure it was [Cantu] because he had hurt a police officer. They told me they were certain it was him, and that's why I testified.”

David Garza, Cantu's co-defendant during his 1985 trial, signed a sworn affidavit saying that he allowed Cantu to be accused and executed even though he was not with him on the night of the killing. Garza stated, “Part of me died when he died. You've got a 17-year-old who went to his grave for something he did not do. Texas murdered an innocent person.”

Sam D. Millsap, Jr., the Bexar County District Attorney who charged Cantu with capital murder, said he never should have sought the death penalty in a case based on testimony from an eyewitness who identified a suspect only after police showed him Cantu's photo three separate times. Miriam Ward, forewoman of the jury that convicted Cantu, noted, “With a little extra work, a little extra effort, maybe we'd have gotten the right information. The bottom line is, an innocent person was put to death for it. We all have our finger in that.”  (Houston Chronicle)  [1/07]

Erie County, NY

Anthony Capozzi


Anthony Capozzi was charged with three 1985 rapes, known as the Delaware Park rapes. The rape victims told police their attacker weighed about 160 pounds, but Capozzi weighed 200 to 220 pounds. None of the victims mentioned a prominent three-inch scar on Capozzi's face. A jury convicted Capozzi in 1987 of two of the rapes, but acquitted him of the third. He was sentenced to 35 years of imprisonment.  At the request of Capozzi and his attorney, biological evidence collected from two victims in 1985 was DNA tested in 2007. The results matched the profile of a man then in state custody. Capozzi was exonerated and released in April 2007. In 2010, New York State awarded him $4.25 million for his 22 years of wrongful imprisonment.  (IP)  [7/07]