Victims of the State

Clinton County, OH

Vincent Doan

Aug 29, 1996 (Blanchester)

Vincent Doan was convicted of the kidnapping and murder of his girlfriend, Clarissa Culberson, also known as Carrie. He was sentenced to 888 years in prison. Culberson, then 22, mysteriously disappeared one night and is presumed dead. Neither her body nor her car have ever been found. The case against Doan was based on speculation, guesswork, and hearsay, with no hard evidence.

In 2004, police received a tip that Culberson's body was buried on the property of Jarrod Messer. Cadaver detecting dogs were brought in and hit on a scent. Seven items were found buried under the concrete floor of Messer's barn. They included a piece of duct tape, a sock, and a shirt. Culberson's mother identified the shirt as her daughter's. Police said the concrete was poured just days after Culberson's disappearance.

Culberson knew Messer and even introduced him to her mother. Messer associated with Michael Fogt, who was later convicted of the 1998 murder of his wife. The father of Fogt's wife believes his daughter was killed because she knew too much. Fogt also shot Messer in the back in 1998, but Messer refused to press charges. In addition to the murder of his wife, Fogt was also convicted of a 1994 rape and the 2003 murder of a Hillsboro woman. Culberson knew Fogt because he lived next door to her best friend's parents.  (Justice for Vincent Doan)  [3/08]

Allegheny County, PA

John Dolenc

July 8, 1975 (Mt. Lebanon)

John Dolenc was convicted of murdering his wife, Patricia. The couple had separated for a week, but agreed to meet in Bridgeville on Saturday night, July 5. Dolenc said Patricia did not show up. The prosecution argued that she did show up, and Dolenc murdered her that night. Dolenc spent that night barhopping in Bridgeville with his uncle. He was able to prove that he had been at some bars, although police did not check them all. Even if they did, the prosecution later argued that he would have had time to murder his wife between some of the visits.
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Philadelphia County, PA

Domenech & Seranno

May 29, 1987 (Kensington)

Alfredo Domenech and Ivan Seranno were convicting of the shooting murder of Juan “Junior” Martinez. The case against them was largely based on testimony from a prostitute who contradicted a medical examiner's report. In 2002, a new witness came forward who was present when Martinez was shot and testified that the convicted pair were not present. In 2005, the District Attorney's office made a motion to nullify their convictions and drop charges against them. The pair were released in Nov. 2006.  (Phila. Inquirer)  [12/05]

Stark County, OH

Robert Domer

Apr 23, 1963

Robert K. Domer was sentenced to death for the murder of a corpse that he used to stage his own suicide. Domer owned a Canton, OH mortgage company which was going through hard times due to an economic downturn and because an employee had made loans that went bad because he did not follow proper procedures. This employee then ran off with some of the company's funds. Domer himself had illegally manipulated the company funds to keep the company afloat. After auditors came to look at his books, Domer faced disgrace and possible criminal charges.
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Lake County, IL 

Alejandro Dominguez

Sept 19, 1989 (Waukegan)

Alejandro Dominguez, a 16-year-old Mexican national, was convicted of raping a white woman. The assault occurred in a Waukegan apartment complex on the 2400 block of Dugout Road. The victim initially described her English-speaking assailant as having a diamond earring and a tattoo. Dominguez spoke only Spanish and did not have a pieced ear or a tattoo. The victim, however, identified Dominguez as her assailant after the lead detective singled him out in a lineup and asked her if he was “the one.” Forensic serologist William Wilson testified that tests performed on recovered semen could not exclude Dominguez as the perpetrator. He did not volunteer that the tests could not exclude 67% of the population. Dominguez served 4 years of a 9-year sentence. After serving his time, Dominguez paid for his own DNA testing, which exonerated him, so that he could avoid deportation by the INS. Gov. Blagojevich pardoned Dominguez in 2005. Dominguez was awarded $9 million in 2006.  (CWC) (IP) (Chicago Tribune) (JD)  [7/05]

Fresno County, CA

Keith Doolin


Keith Doolin was sentenced to death for the murders of two prostitutes.  (Justice: Denied)

 San Diego County, CA

Jane Dorotik

Feb 13, 2000 (Valley Center)

With little evidence, Jane Dorotik was convicted of murdering her husband Bob. Though physically incapable of lifting her husband, the prosecution contended she carried her husband's body long distances and lifted it into and out of a large pickup truck.

The prosecution withheld evidence from the defense that two eyewitnesses had seen Bob twelve hours after he was allegedly murdered. These witnesses placed him near or with two Hispanic looking men at a location that was close to where his body was found.  (Justice: Denied)  [9/06]

Los Angeles County, CA

Michael Dorrough

Mar 2, 1985

Michael Reed Dorrough, Sr. was convicted of a shooting murder. The murder occurred at the Nicherson Garden Housing projects in Los Angeles.  (IIPPI)

Allegheny County, PA

Thomas Doswell

Mar 13, 1986

Thomas Doswell was convicted of raping a 48-year-old woman at Forbes Hospital in Pittsburgh. Even though Doswell bore no resemblance to a description given to police, the victim and a witness picked him out of a photo lineup. Doswell had previously been charged with raping his ex-girlfriend. At trial on the previous charge, a jury called the sex consensual, but the detective who brought charges had wanted to “get” Doswell. He was the same detective who put together the photo lineup for the Forbes Hospital assault. Doswell was sentenced to 13 to 26 years in prison. He was denied parole four times because he refused to accept responsibility. DNA tests exonerated Doswell and a judge dismissed all charges against him on Aug 1, 2005.  (IP) (CS Monitor) (Innocence Institute)  [9/06]

 Cook County, IL

Gary Dotson

July 9, 1977 (Homewood)

Sixteen-year-old Cathleen Crowell feared she had become pregnant after having consensual sex with her boyfriend and made a rape allegation as a plausible explanation to tell her parents. It had not occurred to her that police would pursue her case. Police made her make a composite sketch, and Crowell says they pressured her to pick Gary Dotson from a mug book, pointing out how much he resembled the sketch. Dotson was arrested even though he then had a mustache that he could not have grown in the five days since the alleged incident.

At trial in July 1979, Crowell identified Dotson as her assailant. The state's forensic analyst, Timothy Dixon, also testified that tests on the semen sample recovered from Crowell showed the alleged assailant had a “B” blood type which was shared by only 11% of the population including Dotson. This testimony was false and misleading because Dixon did not volunteer that Crowell also had a “B” blood type and her fluids mixed in with the sample. Thus the sample would have tested positive for the “B” blood type regardless of the blood type of the semen donor. Dotson had four of his friends give alibi testimony, but the prosecutor branded them as “liars.” Dotson was convicted.

Crowell subsequently married and moved to New Hampshire where she became a born-again Christian. In early 1985, she told her pastor that she was riddled with guilt because she had sent an innocent man to prison. On her behalf, the pastor contacted a Wisconsin lawyer who tried to resolve the matter, but prosecutors were unresponsive. However, news about the recantation soon appeared in the Chicago Sun Times, taking up most of the front page. Illinois Governor Thompson said he did not believe Crowell's recantation and an appeals court would not overturn the conviction.

The public supported Dotson and Thompson tried to assume a middle ground by paroling him. However, Dotson's parole was revoked two years later when his wife accused him of assault. On Christmas Eve, 1987, Thompson granted Dotson another “last chance” parole, but it was revoked two days later when Dotson was arrested in a barroom fight. In 1988 Dotson had DNA tests performed which exonerated him. He got his conviction overturned on Aug. 14, 1989 and the prosecution declined to retry him. Many later reports on DNA testing listed Dotson as the first convicted person in the U.S. and the world to be exonerated by DNA evidence. However, priority to judicial exoneration goes to David Vasquez of Virginia who was exonerated and released on Jan. 4, 1989. Unlike Dotson's, Vasquez's case was little reported.  (CWC) (IP) (CBJ) (American Justice) (TWM)  [12/05]

Philadelphia County, PA

Daniel Dougherty

Aug 24, 1985

In 2000, Daniel J. Dougherty was convicted of starting a 1985 fire at his Carver St. house that killed his two sons, Danny Jr., 4, and John, 3. He was sentenced to death. Thirteen years after the fire, Dougherty's ex-wife called police and said he used gasoline to start the fire. Despite the fact that no traces of gasoline or accelerant were found during the fire investigation, the fire marshal, John J. Quinn, changed his original story to match that of Dougherty's ex-wife. On the day of Dougherty's arrest, his ex-wife left a message on his sister's answering machine stating, “I know he didn't do this. I still love him.” The tape then mysteriously disappeared after being given to his court-appointed attorney. However, paperwork surfaced that documented the tape.

By this time, two prison informants claimed that Dougherty confessed to them that he started the fire. The fire marshal then changed his story again so as to not so closely match the discredited testimony of Dougherty's ex-wife. Dougherty's ex-wife was not used at trial. At trial, the fire marshal testified that there were three separate sources of ignition, a classic indicator of arson according to old school fire investigation techniques.

Three arson experts using modern techniques have since reviewed the case and dispute the alleged separate sources of ignition. They found the original investigation to be so flawed that it was impossible to tell whether the fire was arson. One of them, John J. Lentini, estimated that nationally between 100 and 200 people might be “doing hard time” for arsons that were not arsons. As of 2007, Dougherty is appealing his conviction.  (DeathRowUSA) (News Article) (04) (09)  [3/07]

 Onslow County, NC

Doves & Williams

Aug 5, 1922

Frank Dove, Fred Dove, George Williams, and Willie Hardison were sentenced to death for the murder of Cyrus Jones. Jones was shot on a highway about a mile and a half from the town of Swansboro where he lived. The convictions of the first three were based solely on the testimony of Hardison. On the morning of his execution in 1923, Hardison admitted he had perjured himself to implicate the other three under the coercive threats of police. In 1928, the three men each received an unconditional pardon from the N.C. governor.  (News Article) (Mugshots) (MOJ) (ISI)  [4/08]

 Cook County, IL

David Dowaliby

Sept 10, 1988 (Midlothian)

David Dowaliby was convicted of murdering his 7-year-old stepdaughter, Jaclyn. Police initially assumed that the window, through which an intruder had allegedly entered to abduct Jaclyn, had been broken from the inside of their home. There was more broken glass on the outside than on the inside but forensic analysis established that it had been broken from the outside. During the investigation, Dowaliby and his wife, Cynthia, had followed police advice not to talk to the press, but such refusal had made them appear guilty.

At trial, for which both Dowaliby and his wife were charged with first-degree murder, the prosecution presented a witness, with a history of mental illness, who stated that he saw someone with a nose structure resembling Dowaliby on the night the victim had disappeared and near where her body was found five days later. This witness, Everett Mann, made this identification from an unlighted parking lot 75 yards away on a moonless night. The prosecution also presented 17 gruesome autopsy photos that are disallowed in many jurisdictions because they serve to prejudice a jury. The trial judge gave Dowaliby's wife a directed verdict of acquittal, but the jury convicted Dowaliby.

Afterwards, in an interview, the jury forewoman said that fist marks on the door of a bedroom were critical to the jury's decision to convict Dowaliby. These marks appeared in one of the evidence photos, but were never mentioned by either side. The jury concluded from these marks that Dowaliby had a terrible temper. In fact, they had no bearing on the case, as they had been present years earlier, before the Dowalibys had moved into their home. The jury forewoman also said, that if given the chance, the jury would have convicted Dowalibly's wife as well.

An appeals court reversed Dowaliby's conviction in 1991, on the grounds of insufficient evidence. The case came to a legal end in 1992 when the Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by the prosecution. The case is the subject of a book, Gone in the Night: The Dowaliby Family's Encounter With Murder and the Law by Protess and Warden (1993).  (CWC) (American Justice)  [12/06]

York County, PA

Kevin Brian Dowling

Oct 20, 1997

Kevin Brian Dowling was charged with of the robbery of 43-year-old Jennifer Lynn Myers. Fourteen months after the robbery, when Dowling was out on bail, Myers was murdered. Dowling was convicted of both crimes and sentenced to death for the murder.
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Montgomery County, AL

Robert Doyle


Robert Doyle was convicted of the sexual abuse of his two young daughters. His conviction was later vacated due to the withholding of exculpatory evidence.  (FJDB) (JD Blog)  [12/09]