Victims of the State

Queens County, NY

Cardenas Brothers

July 21, 1994

When some jewelry vendors were returning to their hotel in Elmhurst from a gem show in Manhattan, four Latino men snatched three cases of Tahitian black pearls from them. The pearls were valued at $1.5 million.  As they escaped, the thieves attempted to carjack an off duty police officer. The officer managed to shoot his service weapon, a 9-millimeter Glock, before he was knocked unconscious. He later told detectives later that he thought he had hit a robber who was grabbing at the barrel of the gun.
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Jose “Joe” Cardenas - See San Benito Three

 Wales (Cardiff CC)

Cardiff Three

Feb 14, 1988

“Yusef Abdullahi, Tony Paris, and Stephen Miller [were dubbed by the media as] the Cardiff Three. Twenty-year-old prostitute Lynette White was murdered on Valentine's Day in 1988 by being stabbed more than 50 times. Stephen Miller was the boyfriend and pimp of Ms. White. Miller was coerced into falsely confessing to the murder of Ms. White after 13 continuous hours of being shouted at and threatened by police interrogators. His false confession implicated his two codefendants who were likewise innocent. Once he confessed, the police stopped investigating promising leads that may have led to the killer. The three men were convicted in 1990 and sentenced to life in prison. The convictions of all three codefendants were quashed by England's Court of Appeal in 1992 and they were released after 4 years in custody.”

“Six years after their release journalist Satish Sekar, who had aided in the release of the men, published a book about the case – Fitted In: The Cardiff Three and the Lynette White Inquiry. As a result of the information in the book Ms. White's murder case was re-opened in June 1999. In 2003 DNA testing of crime scene evidence identified Jeffrey Gafoor [as] Ms. White's murderer. Gafoor was one of Ms. White's clients. He pled guilty to her murder in 2003 and was sentenced to life in prison. In December 2008 three witnesses who gave false evidence at the trial of the Cardiff Three were jailed for 18 months after pleading guilty to perjury. In March 2009 two more witnesses at the trial were charged with perjury, and 13 police officers involved in the original investigation of the murder were charged with perverting the course of justice for their actions that amounted to framing the three innocent men for the crime.” – FJDB  (Innocent)

 Orange County, CA

Arthur Carmona

Feb 12, 1998

After the robberies of an Irvine juice bar and a Costa Mesa Denny's restaurant, Arthur Carmona, a 16-year-old high school student, was walking to a friend's house when he noticed a helicopter circling overhead. Police stopped him at gunpoint. Witnesses to the robberies were brought to the scene of Carmona's arrest, but they could not identify him as the robber. Police had found a Lakers cap and a dark jacket that was discarded by the robber and asked Carmona to put them on. After he did so, witnesses then identified him as the robber. Carmona was tried as an adult. His defense counsel failed to pursue his strong alibi, and Carmona was convicted. Carmona was released after serving 2 years of a 12-year sentence. He had to sign a stipulation that he would not sue prosecutors or the police.  (Reference)  [4/07]

Clallam County, WA 

John Carothers

Sept 3, 1971

John V. Carothers was convicted of murdering Ronald and Wanda Buck. The victims were killed during a robbery in their home west of Sequim. Joseph Lalak, a friend of Carothers, was caught with a pistol stolen from the victims and with the murder weapon. Lalak implicated Carothers as the shooter and made a deal to testify against him. Following Carothers' arrest, police retrieved a sawed off shotgun and a rifle from his barn, weapons that Lalak admitted owning. The prosecution claimed these weapons were stolen from a gun shop by Carothers and Lalak. The prosecution never attempted to prove this claim. The weapons sat before Carothers' trial jury with no objections from defense attorneys.

Carothers had nearly a dozen alibi witnesses testify that he was 125 miles away when the Bucks were murdered. The judge informed the jury that the burden of proof of the alibi was with Carothers even though that instruction had been ruled unconstitutional in 1955. The judge also instructed the jury that they could find him guilty of aiding and abetting and of being an accomplice. However, Carothers was the only person indicted for the murders, so it is not clear who Carothers could be aiding and abetting or what he could be an accomplice to. The jury was even informed that Carothers did not need to be at the scene of the murders to be found guilty. Carothers has affidavits from several jurors indicating that the trial judge's illegal instructions are what cinched their agreement to find Carothers guilty.  (Justice: Denied)  [5/08]

Fulton County, GA 

Weldon Wayne Carr

Apr 7, 1993 (Sandy Springs)

Weldon Wayne Carr was convicted of the arson-murder of his wife in 1993. A trained dog purportedly found evidence that an accelerant was used to start the fire. Prosecutors said Carr had discovered his wife was having an affair and alleged that he knocked her unconscious before setting their house on fire. The jury acquitted Carr of assault. In 1997, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned Carr's conviction and the Court ordered a new trial. Carr was released on bond in 1998. In June 2004, the Georgia Supreme Court ordered the charges dropped because the prosecution had not initiated a retrial after six years. The prosecution was unable to find an expert to support their theory of the crime.  (Atlanta JC)  [7/05]

New York County, NY 

José Carrasquillo

Mar 29, 1983

“José Carrasquillo was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in New York County on December 17, 1986. [The victim, Dominick Barberi, was assaulted outside the La Fontaine Boutique on Sixth Avenue near 21st Street.] The prosecution charged that Carrasquillo had inflicted a fatal blow upon the victim, who was apparently shoplifting from the boutique where the defendant worked. The victim died two days after the attack. The Appellate Division reversed the conviction on April 21, 1988, and ordered the indictment dismissed. The court held that the evidence was insufficient to establish that Carrasquillo, rather than his accomplice, had struck the fatal blow.” – Inevitable Error  (Appeal)

Maricopa County, AZ

Paris Carriger

Mar 13, 1978

Paris Carriger was convicted in 1978 of the robbery and murder of Robert Shaw, 55. The crimes occurred at Shaw's Jewelry store on North Central Avenue in Phoenix. Carriger's attorney failed to cross-examine the state's key witness, Robert Dunbar. The attorney planned on calling him during the defense portion of the trial, but did not know till then that by waiting he waived his right to call Dunbar. Years after the trial when Dunbar was near death, he confessed to the crime in 1987 and again in 1991. Carriger was last scheduled for execution on Dec. 6, 1995. His conviction was overturned in 1997, leading to his release in 1999.  (Tucson Weekly)  [3/07]

 England (Lewes CC)

David Carrington-Jones


“David Carrington-Jones was wrongly convicted in December 2000 of raping twin sisters [K.J. and L.J.] based solely on the accusation of one of the sisters. Carrington-Jones was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. After his conviction the girl [K.J.] falsely accused her brother, step-father, fiancée, a boyfriend and even a customer at work of rape. Carrington-Jones denied raping the girls so he was denied parole in December 2005 and again in December 2006. In August 2007 he was released on bail while his appeal based on the new evidence that his accuser had made multiple false rape allegations was being considered. In October 2007 his conviction was quashed as ‘demonstrably unsafe’ by the Court of Appeals, since the new evidence undermined the credibility of the accuser. Carrington-Jones was released after 6 years and 8 months of wrongful imprisonment.” – FJDB  (Argus)

Francis M. Carroll - See Dwyer & Carroll

Jefferson County, AL

Taurus Carroll

Apr 9, 1995

Taurus Carroll was convicted of the murdering Betty Long during a robbery of the laundromat that she operated in Birmingham. Carroll, a juvenile at the time of the crime, was convicted due to a coerced false confession.  (TC) (CCADP)  [3/05]

Berrien County, MI 

Maurice Carter

Dec 20, 1973

Maurice Carter was convicted of the attempted murder of Thomas Schadler, an off-duty Benton Harbor police officer. Schadler was shopping with his wife at the Harbor Wig and Record Shop on East Main Street in Benton Harbor when a man suddenly and without provocation pulled a .22-caliber pistol and shot him six times. There were twelve eyewitnesses to the crime.
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Queens County, NY

Nathaniel Carter

Sept 15, 1981 (Cambria Hts)

Nathaniel Carter was convicted of stabbing his ex-wife's foster mother, Clarice Herndon, to death. He was convicted after his ex-wife, Delissa Durham, testified against him. He was cleared two years later when Durham admitted that she was the person who had stabbed her mother to death. Durham cannot be prosecuted for murder because she was granted immunity for her testimony at Carter's trial.  (NY Times)  [9/05]

Philadelphia County, PA

Raymond Carter

Sept 18, 1986

Raymond Carter was convicted of the murder of Robert “Puppet” Harris and sentenced to life in prison. For months following the murder, authorities could find no leads in the case until police officer Thomas Ryan located an eyewitness against Carter. In 1995, it was disclosed in court hearings that Ryan had paid the witness, whom he was also allegedly dated, $500 for her testimony. By Jan. 1997, Carter's conviction was overturned and charges against him were dropped. Ryan pleaded guilty to a federal corruption charge and was sentenced to 10 months of imprisonment.  (Jet)  [1/07]

Passaic County, NJ 

Rubin Carter

June 17, 1966 (Paterson)

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a contender for middleweight boxing title of the world, was convicted of a triple homicide. His acquaintance, John Artis, was also convicted. In 1974, while in jail, Carter published a book entitled The Sixteenth Round, From No. 1 Contender to #45472. The book was discovered by Bob Dylan, who made Carter a folk hero with the release of the song “Hurricane” and led to a public outcry that was largely responsible for his retrial in 1976. Carter was also supported by Coretta Scott King, Muhammad Ali, Joan Baez, and Bobby Seale as well as by some journalists and lawyers.

In a climate of racial tension, Carter was alleged to have killed white people to avenge the death of a black man who had been killed by a white man that same night in Paterson, NJ. The triple homicide occurred at Bob's Lafayette Grill at 18th and Lafayette Sts. Against evidence, Carter was reconvicted in 1976, in part because a first trial witness, who recanted his testimony, recanted his recantation and testified again. Later Carter's conviction was overturned because Judge H. Lee Sarokin declared that both of Carter's two previous convictions had been based on “racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure.” Carter was freed in 1985, but it took another three years for charges to be completely dismissed. His co-defendant, John Artis, was paroled in 1981. Carter later headed a Toronto-based lobbying group, AIDWYC, the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted.  (JD) (Carter v. Rafferty)  [6/05]

Jackson County, MO 

Byron Case

Oct 22, 1997

Byron Christopher Case was convicted of the murder of 18-year-old Anastasia WitbolsFeugen. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. On the night of her alleged murder, Anastasia had been with her boyfriend, Justin Bruton, 18, and another couple, Byron Case, 18, and Kelly Moffett, 15. The four had met at around 8:30 p.m. According to Byron and Kelly, Anastasia was angry at being picked up three hours late, got into an argument with Justin, and soon left the vehicle at a stoplight. Anastasia was found shot dead at 3:45 a.m. that night in a nearby cemetery. Justin never talked to the police and less than 48 hours later, he was found shot dead 30 miles away from a self-inflicted gunshot blast to the head.
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New York County, NY 

Harry Cashin

Feb 19, 1931

Harry F. Cashin was convicted of the murder of Detective Christopher W. Scheuing during the holdup of a speakeasy at 49 Lexington Avenue. Cashin was sentenced to death. His conviction was due to the testimony of Gladys Clayton, a woman of shady character. The prosecution concealed from the defense a witness who said Cashin was not “the right man.” On appeal, Cashin's conviction was reversed. The charges were dropped in 1933 when Clayton admitted that Cashin had nothing to do with the murder.  (ISI) (News Articles) (Archives)  [4/08]

Washoe County, NV 

Juan Castillo

Aug 13, 1995

Juan Mauricio Castillo was convicted of the murders of two rival gang members in Reno, Nevada.  (IIPPI)

 Cook County, IL

Miguel Castillo

May 1988

Miguel Castillo was convicted of murdering Rene Chinea, a 50-year-old Cuban immigrant. Chinea's decomposing body was found in Castillo's apartment on May 18. Castillo had been in jail until May 11. Castillo was cleared in 2001 when a re-examination of medical evidence showed that Chinea died no later than May 9. Castillo was awarded $1.2 million from the City of Chicago and was eligible for $160,000 from the State of Illinois.  (CWC)  [7/05]

Franklin County, OH

Wyman Castleberry

Mar 29, 1990

Wyman Castleberry was convicted at his second trial of murdering Jose Soriano, a drug dealer, on the east side of Columbus. Soriano was shot at 3417 Bexvie Avenue, Apartment C, on March 29, 1990. He died several months later. Following Castleberry's conviction it was found that the prosecution withheld three key pieces of evidence: (1) Before he died, the victim stated his assailant was clean-shaven and between 5'6" and 5'8". Castleberry was 5'9" to 5'10" and wore a goatee at the time of the crime. (2) Three of the victim's neighbors reported seeing two thin men go in or near the victim's building and make a threatening statement. This occurred on the day of the crime, and they later heard a gunshot, followed shortly afterward by a car driving away. Castleberry weighed 221 lbs. (3) A witness came forward who stated that the state's star witness against Castleberry, Kenneth “Chief” Thomas, had planned to rob the victim. In 2003, the Sixth Circuit Court overturned Castleberry's conviction. It is not known if the state plans to retry him.  (TruthInJustice)  [12/05]

Los Angeles County, CA

Juan Catalan

May 12, 2003 (Sun Valley)

Juan Catalan was charged with the murder of 16-year-old Martha Puebla. Puebla had testified against Catalan's brother in another case. Catalan insisted that he was watching the Los Angeles Dodgers with his six-year-old daughter at the stadium minutes before Puebla was killed about 20 miles north of the stadium. He said he had ticket stubs from the game and testimony from his family. However, police said that they had a witness who placed Catalan at the scene of the crime.

Catalan's attorney, Todd Melnik, subpoenaed the Dodgers and Fox Networks, who owned the team, to scan videotape of the televised baseball game and footage from its “Dodger Vision” cameras. Some of the videotapes showed where Catalan was sitting but Melnik could not make him out. Melnik later learned that HBO had been at the stadium the night of the killing to tape an episode of the TV show Curb Your Enthusiasm. The attorney found what he was looking for in footage that had not made the final cut. “I got to one of the scenes, and there is my client sitting in a corner of the frame eating a hot dog with his daughter,” Melnik said. “I nearly jumped out of my chair and said, ‘There he is!’”

The tapes had time codes that allowed Melnik to find out exactly when Catalan was at the ballpark. Melnik also obtained cell phone records that placed his client near the stadium later that night, about 20 minutes before the murder. The attorney said it would have been impossible for Catalan to get out of the parking lot, change vehicles and clothing, and play with his daughter as well as kill Puebla during that span.

Catalan, who could have been sentenced to death had he been convicted of murder, was released after 5 1/2 months of imprisonment because a judge ruled there was no evidence with which to try him.  (CBS)  [7/07]

 Cook County, IL

Xavier Catron

Sept 19, 1992

Xavier Catron was convicted of murdering 16-year-old Kendrick Thomas. The conviction was based on the testimony of three eyewitnesses who later swore under oath that Chicago police had coerced them to falsely identify Catron. Catron eventually won a new trial and charges against him were dropped in 2000.  (CWC)  [7/05]

David Cawthon - See GFI Five

New York County, NY

Central Park Five

Apr 19, 1989

Harlem teens Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, and Kharey Wise, ages 14 to 16, were accused of bludgeoning, raping, and leaving to die a 28-year-old female jogger in New York's Central Park. The jogger was later learned to be Trish Meili, an investment banker at Salomon Brothers. The media referred to the assault as a brutal “wilding” by out of control youth.

The teens had been picked up in a police sweep of the park and conveniently were already in custody when the victim was found. All the teens except Salaam confessed to the crime on videotape. The prosecution would admit 13 years later that the confessions “differed from one another on the specific details of virtually every major aspect of the crime – who initiated the attack, who knocked the victim down, who undressed her, who struck her, who raped her, what weapons were used in the course of the assault and when the sequence of the events in the assault took place.” The victim was knocked unconscious and was not able to identify any assailant. All five were convicted at trial solely because of the confessions.

In 1990, following the convictions, DNA tests on semen found inside and on the victim, showed that it did not match any of the Central Park Five. The test results received little publicity and the recovered semen was attributed to a sixth “mystery” member of the gang. In Jan. 2002, Matias Reyes, 31, a serial rapist, confessed to committing the crime alone. DNA test results matched Reyes and the convictions of the five were vacated. The five had already served their seven to thirteen year juvenile sentences. At least three were denied parole for maintaining their innocence in the crime.  (American Justice) (IP1) (IP2) (IP3) (IP4) (IP5) (CWC)

 Suffolk County, MA

Gangi Cero

June 11, 1927

Gangi Cero, an Italian seaman, was convicted of the murder of Joseph Fantasia and sentenced to death. Following the conviction, Cero's brother discovered a witness who identified Cero's employer, Samuel Gallo, as the actual murderer. Gallo had a motive to kill Fantasia while Cero did not. This evidence secured a reprieve four hours before Cero's execution. In 1929, Cero was retried as Gallo's accomplice in a bizarre trial in which each defendant accused the other. Both defendants were acquitted.  (CIPM) (NY Times)  [10/05]

 San Diego County, CA

Jose Aguado Cervantes

Oct 22, 1999

(Federal Case) Jose Aguado Cervantes, a Mexican national and Tijuana resident, spent more than three months in a U.S. jail after border agents stopped him on his entry into the U.S. and found 119 pounds of marijuana hidden in the bumper of his car. Cervantes, 67, had bought the car three months earlier at a U.S. auction. The car had been seized four months prior to the auction in connection with its use in smuggling illegal immigrants. “I put 100 percent of my trust in the American government,” he said in Spanish. “I never imagined they would sell me a car loaded with drugs.” Cervantes subsequently filed a civil suit against the U.S. based on negligence, and the U.S. settled the suit for $275,000.  (E&B) (L.A. Times) (Cervantes v. USA)  [2/09]