Victims of the State

Delaware County, PA

H. Beatty Chadwick

Apr 1995

In July 1994 a court ordered H. Beatty Chadwick to deposit $2.5 million into a court bank account for use in his divorce settlement. Chadwick contended that he did not have the money. In 1990 he had invested in a limited partnership called Maison Blanche run from the British territory of Gibraltar. The partnership invested in European real estate. Chadwick said the investment made him liable for $2.75 million if the Maison Blanche partners ever issued a capital call. Chadwick says a capital call came in January 1993, two months after his wife filed for divorce.

Forensic accountants traced a $2.502 million transfer of funds from Chadwick to the partnership in Gibraltar. They said some of the money briefly returned to accounts in the United States before going to Luxembourg and Panama. However, accountants could produce no proof that any part of the $2.5 million still belonged to Chadwick. In April 1995 Chadwick was imprisoned on a civil contempt charge to coerce him into producing the missing funds.

After more than a decade of imprisonment, Chadwick's attorney noted that if Chadwick had been convicted of stealing the money, he could have completed the maximum seven-year sentence years ago. The attorney also compared the “missing” money to Saddam Hussein's “missing” weapons of mass destruction. In July 2009 a judge freed Chadwick after Chadwick had been imprisoned for more than 14 years. The judge noted that Chadwick's incarceration had lost its coercive effect. He added he agreed with previous court rulings that Chadwick “had the ability to comply with the court order ... but that he had willfully refused to do so.”

Chadwick insisted that he was unable to pay the money and said the law should be written so people in his situation can have a jury decide if they are capable of complying with court orders. He said there also ought to be time limits on jailing people for contempt, adding that there is an 18-month limit in the federal courts for refusing to testify before a grand jury. “There's no question about whether they're able to do it – everybody's able to testify. But in my case, of course, there's a question: Was I able?” he said.  (CJA)  [8/09]

Baltimore County, MD 

Edward Chalk

May 12, 1936

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]

Westchester County, NY

Terry Chalmers

Aug 18, 1986

Terry Leon Chalmers was convicted of rape and robbery solely because the victim identified him as her assailant. The victim was unable to identify him from photo lineups at first, but eventually identified him 46 days after the crime through a later lineup in which Chalmers picture was the only one that was used from previous lineups. DNA tests exonerated Chalmers in 1995.  (IP) (CBJ)  [12/05]

 Australia (NT)

Lindy Chamberlain

Aug 17, 1980

Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murdering her 10-week-old daughter Azaria. Lindy claimed Azaria was snatched by a wild dog, known as a dingo, from a campsite in central Australia. Azaria was never seen again.  ( (A Cry in the Dark)  [12/10]

Isiah Chambers - See Pompano Boys

Wilkinson County, MS 

Leon Chambers

June 14, 1969 (Woodville)

Leon Chambers was convicted of the murder of Sonny Liberty, a police officer. Two Woodville police officers, James Forman and Aaron “Sonny” Liberty, tried to arrest a local youth named C. C. Jackson at Hayes' Café, a bar and pool hall on First West St. However, a crowd of 50 to 60 people gathered who frustrated their arrest attempt. Forman radioed for backup and Liberty removed his riot gun, a 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun, from his patrol car.
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Los Angeles County, CA

Chance & Powell

Dec 12, 1973

Clarence Chance and Benny Powell were convicted the murder of David Andrews, an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer at a South Central Los Angeles gas station. The murder occurred in the gas station men's room reportedly during a robbery of the station. A four-year investigation by Centurion Ministries, supported by the district attorney's office, showed that the LAPD had coerced trial witnesses to lie against the two men. The judge who freed Chance and Powell apologized to them. Both defendants each served 17 1/2 years of life without parole sentences. Since their release, each man has been awarded $3.5 million.  (CM)

 Suffolk County, MA

John H. Chance

Apr 4, 1898 (Boston)

John H. Chance and another man, Arthur Hagan, were tried for the murder of Charles Lamont Russell. Russell, a store clerk, was murdered during a robbery of Chapin's drug store. Chance was convicted while Hagan was acquitted. In 1905, Hagan confessed to committing the murder alone. Having been acquitted, Hagan could not be retried. Further investigation corroborated the truth of Hagan's confession. In 1911, the Governor pardoned Chance.  (CIPM) (CTI)  [10/05]

Catawba County, NC 

Glen Chapman

Aug 1992 (Hickory)

Glen (aka Glenn) Edward Chapman was sentenced to death for the murders of Betty Jean Ramseur, 31, and Tenene Yvette Conley, 28. The bodies of both victims were found in abandoned houses within two blocks of each other in southeast Hickory. DNA tests showed that Conley, a prostitute, had had sex with Chapman within days of her death. A report by a forensic scientist later showed that Conley likely died of a drug overdose, rather than by foul play. Three witnesses told jurors Chapman confessed to killing or talked about killing Ramseur. But two of those witnesses have since recanted, saying they lied because they were afraid of police and prosecutors. The third witness said she believes Chapman was joking when he told her he had killed Ramseur. “If anyone asked me at trial, I would have testified that police pressured me into testifying and that I did not believe Edward killed anyone.”

In Nov. 2007, a judge overturned Chapman's convictions. The judge found that: (1) The lead investigator, Detective Dennis Rhoney, withheld information that a key witness in the Ramseur murder identified someone other than Chapman. (2) Rhoney did not reveal that a jail inmate was overheard admitting that he killed Ramseur. (3) Detectives never reported that witnesses said Conley was seen alive with someone who had a history of violence against her in the days after prosecutors said she died. (4) Rhoney lied during his trial testimony against Chapman. (5) Chapman was inadequately defended by his court-appointed attorneys. Chapman's appeals attorneys had argued that his trial attorneys, Thomas Portwood and Robert Adams, failed to interview several critical witnesses and were “excessive users of alcohol.”

Chapman's trial also featured juror misconduct. According to affidavits signed by two jurors, the jury discussed whether Chapman killed a 13-year-old Shelby girl whose body was found the same summer as Ramseur's and Conley's. Chapman was never charged in the girl's slaying, nor was that slaying discussed in the trial. Also, one juror, Irene Freeman, slept through essential testimony until the judge ordered her to wake up. In April 2008 the state dropped charges against Chapman and he was released.  (DW) (News & Observer) (Archives)  [6/08]

Terrebonne Parish, LA 

Clyde Charles

Mar 12, 1981

Clyde Charles was convicted of rape. Clyde and his brother Marlo Charles had been out drinking together at a bar. The brothers then went their separate ways hitchhiking. The victim, a 26-year-old, was subsequently raped after her car had a flat tire on the same road as the bar. The victim initially told police that her assailant was clean-shaven, but she identified the fully bearded Clyde as her assailant when police brought him to her several hours after the assault. Police had found Clyde hitchhiking an hour before the assault and had ordered him off the road. Marlo bore a strong resemblance to Clyde and was dressed similar to him on the night of the assault, but the victim maintained that Clyde was her assailant. At trial, Marlo testified in his brother's defense, but was not asked by either the prosecution or the defense if he was the rapist. However, Clyde's defense attorney filed an affidavit stating he believed Marlo was the rapist. Clyde began requesting DNA tests in the early 1990's but prosecutors blocked these requests for years. In 1999, DNA tests exonerated Clyde and implicated Marlo.  (IP) (Frontline) (Justice: Denied)  [11/08]

Chatham County, GA 

Earl Charles

Oct 3, 1974 (Savannah)

Earl Patrick Charles was sentenced to death for the murders of Max Rosenstein and his son, Fred Rosenstein. The murders occurred during an armed robbery of a Savannah furniture store which the victims operated. The key evidence against Charles was the eyewitness testimony of a surviving witness who identified him, even though she had not picked his picture out of a photo lineup. The prosecution also presented an informant who claimed to have heard Charles confess to killing a “man and a little boy.” It should be noted that the youngest victim was 42 years old. After the trial, it emerged that there were several other problems with the identification made by the surviving witness. The witness claimed to have seen the perpetrators on the day of the murders at a time in which they had airtight alibis and she had also identified one man who was in prison at the time of the offense. New evidence was found which substantiated Charles's alibi that he was at work in Tampa, FL when the crime occurred. His conviction was reversed on appeal. Afterwards, the prosecution re-investigated the case and decided to drop all charges against Charles. Charles eventually received a $75,000 civil rights settlement in his action against one of the detectives.  (JP) (CWC) (PC)  [7/05]

Terrebonne Parish, LA 

Marlo Charles

Mar 12, 1981

Marlo Charles, a black man, was convicted in 2002 of the 1981 rape of a white woman. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. His brother Clyde Charles was previously convicted of the rape, but was later exonerated because blood tests showed the assailant has type O blood while Clyde had type B. Following Clyde's exoneration Marlo was convicted of the crime because he had type O blood. However, blood tests showed that the full blood type of the assailant was O- while Marlo's full blood type is O+. Records also show other evidence discrepancies.  (IIPPI)

 Suffolk County, MA

Ulysses Rodriguez Charles


Ulysses Rodriguez Charles, a Trinidad native, was convicted of raping three Brighton women. Charles has asserted that he was targeted by a police officer who had a vendetta against him. DNA tests exonerated him in 2003.  (CIPM) (IP)  [10/05]

Washington County, NY

Jack Chase

Feb 17, 1990 (Hampton)

Jack Chase was convicted of arson and insurance fraud in a case that involved perjured testimony by neighbors. Insurance company investigators had previously cleared Chase of any wrongdoing. In 2005, Chase's conviction was overturned.  (PDF)  [9/06]

 Dallas County, TX

Charles Chatman

Jan 15, 1981

Charles Chatman was convicted in 1981 of aggravated sexual assault. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison. In Jan. 2008 DNA tests exonerated Chatman after he spent 27 years in prison. Chatman became the 15th inmate exonerated by DNA tests in Dallas County since 2001. Unlike many jurisdictions, the lab used by police and prosecutors in Dallas County retains biological evidence, allowing decades-old crimes to be solved. DA Craig Watkins also attributed the large number of exonerations to a past culture of overly aggressive prosecutors seeking convictions at any cost.  (AP)  [2/08]

Cecil County, MD 

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.

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.  (Drizen & Leo)  [12/06]

Bucks County, PA

Frank Chester

Dec 14, 1987 (Tullytown)

Frank Chester was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Anthony Milano. Chester, 19, and a friend, Rick Laird were at a Tullytown bar where they met Milano. Laird, Chester, and Milano then left the bar. While on the way to a friend's house, Laird, drunk and strung out on drugs, lost his temper when Milano wanted to go home. In a fit of rage, Laird dragged Milano to a nearby wooded area off of Rt. 13 and knifed him in the throat. Milano was soon dead. Chester says he saw the murder as it was happening and ran through the woods to a friend's house, shaken by what he witnessed.

After the murder, Chester cooperated with the police. He produced the clothes he was wearing at the time (which had not one drop of Milano's blood on them), and gave the police the names of all his friends and the patrons in the bar. He even submitted to a lie detector test, which he passed with flying colors. Laird had a previous arrest history for violent behavior.

Milano was a gay man who was learning to accept his identity. When the DA learned this fact, he used Milano's homosexuality as the cause of his death. Laird and Chester were depicted as hate mongers. The press picked up on the DA's depiction and joined in portraying the two as evil gay bashers. The fact that Milano just happened to be gay did not enter the picture. Both Laird and Chester landed on death row. Laird has exonerated Chester from any responsibility for the murder.  (Source)  [2/07]

Worchester County, MA 

John Chesterman

Nov 1885

John Chesterman, aka John Christman, was convicted of stealing from the home of his former employer, Charles Vokes, and sentenced to a year in jail. A few weeks after the conviction, Vokes confessed to falsely accusing Chesterman and to committing perjury at his trial. Chesterman had merely gone to Vokes's house seeking payment of $42 in back wages. To avoid paying him, Vokes ran him off and staged a robbery with his personal property strewn about the floor. Because of Vokes's confession, the prosecutor obtained a pardon for Chesterman and he was released in Feb. 1886. Vokes was prosecuted for perjury.  (CIPM) (CTI)  [10/05]

Alameda County, CA

Kum Yet Cheung

Feb 1, 1995 (Emeryville)

Kum Yet Cheung was convicted of attempted murder in the shooting of two men outside a Denny's restaurant. The conviction was based on (1) eyewitness error, (2) the failure of counsel to get a taped confession of another man translated from Cantonese or introduced as evidence, (3) the withholding of exculpatory medical records from the defense, and (4) a DA allowing a witness to lie on the stand. Cheung also suffered from his own lack of command of the English language. After Cheung's conviction was twice vacated, prosecutors negotiated a disposition in which Cheung pleaded guilty to obstructing justice in return for time served. Cheung accepted the disposition because he had initially lied to investigators to protect a friend. Cheung served 7 years of a 29-year sentence.  (SF Mag) (Cheung v. Maddock)  [6/05]

Choctaw County, AL

Choctaw Three


In Feb. 1999, Victoria Bell Banks was in the county jail and pretended to be pregnant as a ploy to get released. She had two doctors check on her, the second of which claimed to have heard a fetal heartbeat. Victoria was released on bond in May 1999, after she threatened to sue the jail for failing to provide prenatal care. In August, the sheriff, Donald Lolly, stopped Victoria and questioned her about the baby that was due in June. After Victoria told him she miscarried, the sheriff took her to the second doctor who examined her before, and he could find no evidence she had ever been pregnant. The sheriff then had officials with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation question her to find out where was the missing baby. Victoria could not have been pregnant because she had had her tubes tied in 1995.

After being questioned for extended periods of time, Victoria, her husband Medell Banks Jr., and her sister, Dianne Bell Tucker all reportedly confessed to participating in the killing of the non-existent child. They were charged with capital murder in Sept. 1999. Rather than face the electric chair, Victoria pleaded guilty to manslaughter after her trial had begun in Nov 2000, and the other two did likewise six months later as their trial dates approached. All were sentenced to 15 years in prison. A nationally known fertility doctor examined Victoria and concluded she was sterile. The prosecutor filed perjury charges against Victoria for telling a judge she had not been pregnant. The charges were dismissed in Jan. 2003 when Victoria signed a statement that said, “I, Victoria Banks, hereby state that I lied when I said I didn't have a baby. I am sorry.” Medell Banks faced retrial on capital murder charges in Jan 2003, but all charges were dropped after pretrial hearings established that Medell never admitted to killing a baby. (Justice: Denied) (ForeJustice) (IDE) (Small Town Justice) (P2) (P3)  [11/05]

 Australia (WA)

Rory Christie

Nov 15, 2001

Rory Christie was convicted of the murder of his wife, Susan Christie. He was charged nearly a year after her disappearance. On retrial he was judicially acquitted because the evidence was insufficient to convict him.  (IPWA) (Christie v. The Queen) (Regina v. Christie)