Victims of the State

Argelia Diaz - See Zepeda & Diaz

 Dade County, FL

Luis Diaz

1977-79 (Coral Gables)

Luis Diaz was charged with being the Bird Road rapist and convicted of 7 rapes after being identified by 8 victims, some of whom initially described their attacker as being 6' tall, 200 lbs., and fluent in English. Diaz is 5'3", 134 lbs. and speaks little to no English. In 1993, two victims recanted their identification of Diaz and those convictions were vacated in 2001. In 2005, DNA tests excluded him as the attacker in two other Bird Road rapes and showed that the same perpetrator committed both rapes. The DNA results cast doubt on Diaz's remaining rape convictions. Diaz was freed on Aug. 3, 2005.  (IP) (SP Times)  [9/05]

 Riverside County, CA

Robert Diaz

Apr 1981 (Perris)

Robert Rubane Diaz was sentenced to death for the murders of 12 hospital patients. In early 1981, Community Hospital of the Valleys in Perris, California experienced an abnormally large number of deaths among its most elderly patients. To gather evidence, the coroner exhumed or intercepted all the patients who had recently died and he collected tissue samples from them. The coroner found that 11 patients had a supposedly lethal level of the heart drug lidocaine in their system. Investigators focused on Diaz, a male nurse, who worked at the hospital during many of the deaths. They also investigated his previous employment and came up with a 12th patient from another hospital whose exhumed body showed a supposedly lethal level of lidocaine.
Read More by Clicking Here

Joseph Dick, Jr. - See Norfolk Four

Sullivan County, TN

Jeffrey Dicks

Feb 15, 1978 (Kingsport)

Jeffrey Stewart Dicks and another man, Donald Wayne Strouth, were convicted of the capital felony murder of James Keegan. Keegan was killed during the robbery of a Kingsport clothing store.

At Strouth's trial, the state presented hearsay evidence that Strouth had committed the murder. Different people related that Strouth had said to them that he hit the victim in the head with a rock, that he had to hurt the victim, and that he had to slit his throat. The state vouchsafed this evidence as trustworthy as it was inculpatory of Strouth. However, at Dicks's trial the same evidence was deemed untrustworthy and prohibited, as it was exculpatory of Dicks. One would think the reverse situation might apply, as the evidence might be trustworthy enough to prove reasonable doubt, but not absolute guilt. Other witnesses offering evidence of Dick's innocence were also prohibited from testifying. Dicks was prevented from presenting a full defense as allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Chambers v. Mississippi.
Read More by Clicking Here

Wayne & Grace Dill - See Bakersfield Seven

 Brevard County, FL

William Dillon

Aug 17, 1981

William Dillon was convicted of the murder of James Dvorak. Dvorak was found murdered at Canova Beach. He had been beaten to death and left in a wooded area, an apparent homosexual meeting place near the beach. A motorist, John Parker, had picked up a hitchhiker near the scene of the crime and drove him to a tavern three miles away. Along the way, Parker stopped his truck and performed oral sex on the hitchhiker. After dropping off the hitchhiker, Parker found that his passenger had left behind a bloody yellow T-shirt which he disposed of in a trash can near a grocery store. After he saw a news story about the murder, he called police, and police recovered the T-shirt.
Read More by Clicking Here

Jefferson Parish, LA 

Douglas DiLosa

Sept 27, 1986 (Kenner)

Douglas A. DiLosa was convicted of the murder of his wife, Glinda. When police arrived at DiLosa's condominium following a 911 call from his son, they found DiLosa tied up on the living room floor. His wife was found bound and strangled on a bed. DiLosa said he was awakened about 3:30 a.m. to noises downstairs. When he investigated, he discovered two black male intruders. The intruders him beat him unconscious. When he recovered from his unconsciousness, he found himself bound and the house in shambles. He called out to his son and instructed him to dial 911. The crime occurred at Apartment 7-C, Chardonnay Village Condominiums, 1500 West Esplanade Ave. in Kenner, LA.

In time, DiLosa was arrested for Glinda's murder based on an alleged lack of evidence supporting his version of events. Investigators also discovered a possible motive. DiLosa was out of work, his unemployment benefits were about to run out, a large payment was near due on the condo, and his wife's life was insured for a substantial sum. At trial the prosecution focused on the lack of evidence that any other perpetrator besides DiLosa committed the crime. During his closing argument, the prosecutor told the jury, “There was not one, not one shred of black hair found in that residence.” And he also stated, “Did you hear any evidence about any other houses that were hit that night?”

However, there was evidence supporting DiLosa's version of events, but it was withheld from the defense: (1) Hair of a non-Caucasian type was found on the rope around Glinda's neck and on the bed where her body was discovered. (2) Fingerprints were found in the condo that could not be positively identified. (3) An attempted break-in occurred at a nearby condo. (4) A taxi driver had seen a car occupied by two black men exit the condo complex at 5:45 a.m. The taxi driver said the car's driver looked “tense,” faced straight ahead while gripping the steering wheel, and was driving very slowly.

In 2002, the federal 5th Circuit Court overturned DiLosa's conviction due to the withholding of evidence. It is not known if DiLosa was retried, but a reference source lists DiLosa as having been exonerated in 2003.  (88) (95) (02) (04)  [10/08]

 Ontario, Canada

Dimitre Dimitrov

Feb 21, 1996 (Vanier)

Dimitre Dimitrov was convicted in 1999 of murdering his friend and landlord, Hristo Veltchev, 37. Veltchev's body was found in a public parking lot, stuffed in the trunk of his car. Evidence indicated that he had been bludgeoned to death in the garage of his house. Dimitrov's conviction was based on expert testimony that his feet matched impressions found inside a pair of bloody boots at the victim's house. The boots were found in a front hall closet in the house. The closet was used by all the boarders of the house including Dimitrov. Apart from the expert's testimony, there was no evidence Dimitrov owned or had worn the boots. A retrial was ordered in 2003 after a court ruled that the impression evidence was inadmissible to establish positive identification unless it was accompanied by corroborating evidence. At retrial in 2004, DNA test results were presented, which showed that the blood on the boots belonged neither to the victim, nor to Dimitrov, nor to anyone else known to have entered the house. Dimitrov was acquitted. He had spent 4 1/2 years imprisoned.  (JD)  [5/08]

Bucks County, PA

Michael Dirago

Apr 16, 1985

Michael Dirago was convicted in 1991 of the 1985 murder of his 23-year-old girlfriend, Yvonne Davi. Davi's body had been found near the Delaware River. The conviction was secured by John Hall, a career prison informant and star witness who unexpectedly came forward just a few days before Dirago's then scheduled trial in Bucks County, PA. Hall said Dirago told him about the crime when they were both in the Bucks County Jail.

Hall's testimony placed the murder on the New Jersey side of the bridge on which, he claimed, the victim had been killed. Dirago was actually convicted in Burlington County, NJ, but only Hall's testimony places the murder there. Hall gave a riveting account of the murder on the bridge, and of the victim gurgling as she died. C. Theodore Fritsch, then the chief deputy DA of Bucks County, wrote that Hall's “unsolicited cooperation,” had changed the case from one with a “rather slim” chance of conviction to a “strong one from the prosecution standpoint.” Howard Barman, then deputy attorney general of New Jersey wrote that Hall was “a remarkable person” who, but for an alcohol problem, “would probably be a significant member of society.”  (Archives) (City Paper)  [3/08]

Lackawanna County, PA

Christopher DiStefano

Apr 5, 1996

Christopher DiStefano was convicted of the murder of his former high school girlfriend, Christine Burgerhoff, 24, of Eynon. Burgerhoff's nude body was found in a parking lot off Keyser Avenue in Scranton on April 6, 1996. Police said she was killed hours earlier at the Reflex Center in Clarks Summit, where she worked. Police labeled the Reflex Center a house of prostitution masquerading as a massage parlor. After an 11-hour interrogation filled with promises of leniency and direct and implied threats of harm, DiStefano signed a confession written by detectives. Following his arrest, he languished in jail until he was convicted of third degree murder in Feb. 2000. He was sentenced to 15 to 40 years in prison. In 2001, the PA Superior Court reversed his conviction on the grounds that his confession was coerced. The state could not realistically retry him without a confession, but they got him to plead no contest to misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter. The case against DiStefano was unusual in that it began as a capital case, but ended as a misdemeanor case.

DiStefano has since published a well-reviewed book about his case entitled Anything You Say: The True Story of One Man's Ordeal With A Derailed Murder Investigation.  (Book Review)  [12/06]

Essex County, NJ 

John Dixon

Dec 23, 1990

After being identified by a victim of kidnapping, rape, and robbery, John Dixon pleaded guilty to the crime out of fear of a harsher sentence if convicted by a jury. He later asked a judge to withdraw his plea and perform DNA testing. Dixon's appeals were unsuccessful at first, but eventually DNA testing was done and Dixon was exonerated after serving 10 years of 45-year sentence.  (IP) (TruthInJustice)  [5/05]


Dixon & Sangster

Sept 18, 1996

“Randall Dixon and Mark Sangster were wrongly convicted on July 9, 1998 of murdering a policeman during the robbery of a a Western Union branch in Spanish Town, Jamaica of $18 million in September 1996. Their convictions were based on their identification in a line-up by two policemen who witnessed the robbery. Sangster was sentenced to life for non-capital murder, and Dixon was sentenced to death by hanging for capital murder. After their convictions the men learned that the prosecution had failed to disclose to them that they did not appear on the film of the robbers recorded by a security camera in the Western Union branch. Eyewitnesses saw four robbers, and neither man was among the four robbers captured by the security camera. The men appealed their convictions to the Privy Council in London, which is the highest court of appeal for Jamaica, and on October 7, 2002, their convictions were set aside and their sentences were quashed. On October 8, 2003, Jamaica's Court of Appeal ordered judgments of acquittal for both men and they were released after seven years of wrongful imprisonment. In 2005 the men sued the government of Jamaica for false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, breach of their constitutional rights and for exemplary and aggravated damages. In October 2007 Mark Sangster was awarded $13,450,500, and Randal Dixon was awarded $13,192,500. [$71 Jamaican = $1 U.S. in 2007]” – FJDB  (Jamaica Observer)

Erie County, NY

Valentino Dixon

Aug 10, 1991 (Buffalo)

Valentino Dixon was convicted of the machine gun murder of Torriano Jackson, 17, and the wounding of three others. After Dixon's arrest, Lamarr Scott, 18, confessed to the shooting but recanted for a time after police charged two others who said he was the shooter with perjury and threatened to charge him also. Scott also claims Detective Mark Stambach repeatedly threatened his life. Jackson was apparently killed after he fired a gun at others. Two charged witnesses were later convicted of perjury after Dixon was convicted. Police wanted to convict Dixon, 21, because he was a perceived drug dealer and was too old to warrant the Youthful Offender status and lenient treatment that Scott would receive. At trial, Dixon's defense attorney refused to call defense witnesses waiting outside the courtroom. As of 2004, eight witnesses have signed sworn statements that exonerate Dixon, and one prosecution witness has recanted. In 2009, Dixon's appeal to obtain a new trial was denied.  (Buffalo News) ( (Golf Digest) [7/05]