Victims of the State

Eddy County, NM 

Ralph Rodney Earnest

Feb 12, 1982

Ralph Rodney Earnest was convicted of murdering 31-year-old David Eastman, an oil field worker who was killed near Carlsbad, NM. Eastman's body was found on Feb. 12, 1982 in a ditch beside N.M. 31. At Earnest's trial, his two co-defendants, Perry Conner and Phillip Boeglin, were called to testify. Conner testified that while he and Boeglin committed the crime, Earnest was not involved. Boeglin refused to testify, even though he was given immunity from the use of his testimony and was held in contempt of court for his refusal to testify. The prosecution then introduced into evidence a taped recoding and a transcript of a unsworn statement made by Boeglin to police on the day of his arrest. In the statement Boeglin admitted that he attempted to cut Eastman's throat, but he implicated both Conner and Earnest, stating Earnest shot Eastman in the head.

In 2007, the New Mexico Supreme Court overturned Earnest's conviction because he was denied the opportunity to cross-examine Boeglin regarding the taped statement and was thereby deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to confront an accuser. The prosecution had to drop charges against Eastman because Boeglin again refused to testify.  (AJ#1) (AJ#2) (Appeals)  [2/10]

McLean County, IL 

Corey Eason

Convicted 2005

Corey Eason was listed in the Illinois sex offender registry and had his picture posted on the Internet as a sex offender. In March 2005, he was convicted of three counts of failing to notify the McLean County police that he had changed his address. However, he had never been convicted of a sex-related offense and was not required notify the police. In Oct. 2005, a judge vacated the convictions and a prosecutor dismissed the charges.  (JD)  [2/07]

Joseph Wayne Eastridge - See DC Three

Damien Echols - See West Memphis Three

Douglas Echols - See Scott & Echols


Edmary & Masembe


Mpagi Edward Edmary and his cousin Fred Masembe were sentenced to death for the alleged 1981 murder of George William Wandyaka, a neighbor in Masaka, Uganda. Mpagi thought he saw Wandyaka standing at the back of the court during his trial. A few years later, further sightings were made of Wandyaka in Jinja, Uganda. Masembe died in 1985. In 1989, authorities in Masaka confirmed that Wandyaka was alive, and informed the attorney general, though Mpagi remained on death row for a further 11 years. It transpired that Wandyaka's parents had a grudge against Mpagi's parents, and had staged the murder to hurt them. A doctor had received a bribe to testify that he had carried out a post-mortem on the alleged victim's body. Mpagi was pardoned in 2000. Wandyaka died of natural causes in 2002 before Mpagi had the chance to meet him.  (Guardian) (AI) (Video)  [9/09]

Dane County, WI 

Audrey Edmunds

Oct 16, 1995

Audrey Edmunds, a day care provider, was convicted of killing 7-month-old Natalie Beard, who died allegedly from “shaken baby syndrome.” Dr. Robert Huntington, the forensic pathologist who testified against her in 1996, “now unequivocally rejects his prior opinion and its implications and will testify to that effect,” according to an appellate brief. New studies show that “shaken baby syndrome,” as previously understood, does not exist. The studies show that if infants could be shaken hard enough to be injured or killed, they would have severe injuries to their necks – injuries Natalie Beard did not have. Hearings on the matter are scheduled in Jan. and Feb. 2007.  (TruthInJustice) (Jan. Hearings)  [3/07]

Darlene Edwards - See Kansas City Five

Lenworth Edwards - See New York Boys

Lane County, OR 

Karlyn Eklof

Mar 21, 1993

Karlyn Eklof was convicted of the murder of James Salmu. After eight to ten hours of daily interrogation for nine days, Eklof recited on videotape a police invented scenario in which she stabbed Salmu with a plastic knife. Eklof was prosecuted for Salmu's murder based on this “confession.” Following Eklof's indictment, Salmu's body was found. At trial, testimony was presented indicating that Salmu had been stabbed. The prosecution then presented Eklof's confession, which appeared to agree with the cause of death as she confessed to stabbing Salmu. The prosecution also presented the testimony of two witnesses who made incriminatory statements against Eklof.

On appeal it was discovered that DA Fred Hugi had engaged in multiple Brady violations involving the withholding of exculpatory evidence. Salmu's cause of death was bullet wounds and there was no evidence that he had been stabbed. It was also not revealed that the two witnesses who testified did so in order to avoid prosecution themselves. One of these witnesses was under indictment for molesting his daughter, and the DA went to extraordinary efforts to conceal this fact. As of 2007, Eklof is using the Brady violations to appeal her conviction. Eklof's complete story is written in Improper Submission: Records of a Wrongful Conviction by Erma Armstrong.  (JD)  [7/07]

Phillips County, AR

Elaine 51

Sept 30, 1919

On Sept. 30, 1919, black sharecroppers held a meeting at a church in Hoop Spur, outside Elaine, Arkansas. The purpose was to obtain better payments for cotton crops in the face of patently unfair practices of white landowners. After two deputized white men and a black trustee arrived, shots rang out. One of the white men was killed and the other was wounded. Who fired first is not clear. In any event, a posse of hundreds of white men was dispatched to put down an alleged black rebellion. Five whites and between 100 and 200 blacks were killed in the days that followed.

Following the “rebellion,” 12 blacks were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. Ten were convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 21 years of imprisonment. Another 29 were convicted of second-degree-murder and sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment. None of the defendants were executed and in 1925 the state governor granted indefinite furloughs to those that remained imprisoned.  (PCR) (EA) (Moore v. Dempsey) (Blood in their Eyes) (On the Laps of Gods)  [1/10]

Summit County, OH

Clarence Elkins

June 7, 1998 (Barberton)

Clarence Elkins was convicted of the rape and murder of his 58-year-old mother-in-law, Judith Johnson. Johnson was assaulted in her one-bedroom rental home on Summit Street in Barberton, OH. The assailant also assaulted Johnson's six-year-old granddaughter, Brooke Sutton, knocking her unconscious before strangling and sexually assaulting her. He left her for dead. Later evidence indicated Sutton herself was the intended target of the assailant and Johnson was killed merely for being in the way. Sutton, however, was not dead but regained consciousness after a few hours.
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 Suffolk County, MA

Ella Mae Ellison

Nov 30, 1973

Ella Mae Ellison was convicted of murder and armed robbery in 1974. The crime involved the robbery of Suffolk Jewelers, a pawnshop on Washington St. in Roxbury. During the robbery, Detective John Schroeder, an off-duty police officer, entered the store and attempted to thwart the robbers. He was shot and killed. The 1997 Boston Police Headquarters is on “One Schroeder Plaza,” named in honor of Schroeder and his brother Walter, also an officer, who was killed responding to a bank alarm in 1970. In 1976, two key witnesses recanted their testimony against Ellison and claimed she was innocent. In 1978, an appeals court vacated her convictions because the prosecutor withheld evidence that could have exonerated her. Ellison was released in 1978.  (CIPM)  [4/08]

King County, WA 

Arthur Emery

Dec 1952 (Seattle)

Arthur F. Emery was convicted of robbing bus driver Charles D. Taulbee of $105. The conviction was based on eyewitness identification of the victim who happened to see Emery on a downtown Seattle street. After Emery served 9 months of imprisonment, another man, Eugene Albert Gough, confessed to Denver authorities that he had robbed the bus driver and even revealed where he hid the bus driver's money changer. Gov. Arthur Langlie pardoned Emery in Jan. 1954. Emery was later awarded $13,000 by the state legislature for his wrongful imprisonment.  (News Article) (The Innocents)  [7/09]

George Emmett - See Marietta Seven

Collis English - See Trenton Six

St. Louis City, MO 

Lonnie Erby

July - Oct 1985

Lonnie Erby was convicted of raping three girls, ages 14 to 16, in separate incidents. Each victim had identified Erby as her assailant. In 2003, DNA tests exonerated him of committing two of the rapes. There was no semen evidence for the third rape, as the victim had bathed before it could be collected, but officials accepted the premise that Erby was innocent of committing this rape as well. Erby was freed after serving 17 years in prison.  (IP) (Post-Dispatch)  [12/05]

Chuck Erickson - See Ferguson & Erickson

Baltimore County, MD 

Cornell Estes

Dec 8, 1978

Cornell Avery Estes was 15 when he was sentenced to life in prison for the robbery-murder of Donna Turner at the Social Security complex in Woodlawn. Turner was stabbed once in the chest. After nearly 11 hours of police interrogation, a 13-year-old co-defendant confessed to the crime and testified against Estes at trial. Less than a year after Estes's conviction, somebody else gave a verified confession to the murder and Estes was released. In 1984, Estes was awarded $16,500 for his wrongful imprisonment.  (Archives)  [10/08]

 Dallas County, TX

Jerry Lee Evans

Aug 29, 1986

Jerry Lee Evans was convicted in 1987 of raping an 18-year-old Southern Methodist University freshman. The victim was abducted on her way to go dancing in Deep Ellum, near downtown Dallas. Evans said that his whole defense was that when victim saw him in court, she would say it wasn't him. “Unfortunately, it didn't happen like that,” said Evans. The identification of Evans was facilitated by outdated Dallas police witness identification procedures that have since been revised. In 2009, DNA tests exonerated Evans, making him the 20th person in Dallas County exonerated by DNA evidence. Evans was released after serving 22 years of imprisonment.  (Dallas Observer) (Life) (IP)  [5/09]

 Cook County, IL

Evans & Terry

Jan 14, 1976

Michael Evans and Paul Terry were convicted of the rape and murder of 9-year-old Lisa Cabassa. No physical evidence was ever found to tie them to the crime. A neighbor of Cabassa, Judith Januszewski, testified against the two, although by her own admission, she repeatedly lied to police and did not give them a full account of what she said she witnessed until six weeks after the victim's body had been found. She did not come forward until after reward money was offered. According to her family, Lisa left home with her 12-year-old brother at 6:30 p.m. to walk to the home of a friend a few blocks away. On the way, Lisa complained of a headache and turned to walk back home. She never made it home and apparently was abducted on the way. Januszewski initially stated that she saw two youths, she later identified as Evans and Terry, struggle with a girl around 6:37 p.m. By the time of trial, the prosecution had to disclose Januszewski's work timecard, which showed she worked to 8 p.m., so at trial they asserted the abduction occurred after 8 p.m. Evans and Terry were each sentenced to 400 to 800 years of imprisonment, but because sentencing for different charges ran concurrently, they only had to serve 200 to 400 years. DNA tests exonerated Evans and Terry in 2003. They had served 27 years of imprisonment, more time than any previous Americans exonerated by DNA.  (Chicago Tribune) (CWC) (JP)  [12/05]

Los Angeles County, CA

Evans & Ledbetter

July 8, 1928

Police officers Walter E. Evans and Miles H. Ledbetter, both detectives, were convicted of extorting a $750 bribe from Harry McDonald, a person with a criminal record of felonies. After being arrested in 1929 for receiving stolen property, McDonald surprised the District Attorney by confessing to conspiracy transactions involving over 50 LAPD officers. Among those were officers Evans and Ledbetter. McDonald claimed that the officers had in 1928 extorted a $750 bribe from him in exchange for suppressing evidence that McDonald had purchased stolen diamonds from a Jack Hawkins.

At trial, McDonald, his wife, and his maid all swore that Evans and Ledbetter had visited McDonald on a Saturday and Sunday in 1928 and that McDonald had paid the officers a bribe. The officers countered that they had indeed visited McDonald on Saturday July 7 and Sunday July 8, 1928, but the visits were to investigate an unconnected robbery of two diamond rings. In rebuttal, McDonald and his wife testified that the detectives could not have visited them on the specified dates as the McDonalds moved to a bungalow in Venice, CA on the Sunday before July 4, and that they were not in Los Angeles for the two weeks thereafter. The jury chose to believe the McDonalds and convicted the two officers. In 1930, following unsuccessful appeals, the two officers started serving their sentences in San Quentin.

Later evidence surfaced that McDonald signed a safety-deposit record of a Los Angeles bank on July 9, 1928, so he could not have been out of town that day as he and his wife swore. Also evidence surfaced that their maid had not been in their employ until after August 8, so she could not have been present on July 7 or July 8. Coupled with these disclosures, and other discovered facts, California Governor Young pardoned both officers in 1931. Evans and Ledbetter later received $4533.36 and $3313.39 in compensation.  (CTI)  [11/07]

Pulaski County, IL 

Will Evans

Dec 23, 1911

Will Evans was arrested and tried for an attempted rape that occurred near Grand Chain, IL. However, he had an alibi. At the time of the alleged rape attempt, he had been committing a crime, albeit a less serious one, 25 miles away. Specifically, he had been burglarizing a rail car with his brother in Cairo, a burglary that was interrupted by the Cairo Chief of Police. Thinking he would not be convicted of attempted rape, he did not reveal his alibi at trial. However, he was convicted anyway and sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Following sentencing, Evans revealed his alibi to his court-appointed attorney. Within days the Cairo Chief of Police corroborated Evans' alibi with a sworn statement.  The trial judge held that the exculpatory evidence came too late and let the verdict stand. The judge later summed up his view stating that Evans was “probably in prison rightfully, but upon the wrong charge.” Evans remained in prison until 1932, when Gov. Emmerson granted a pardon, acknowledging that Evans “had been the victim of mistaken identity.”  (CWC)

Davidson County, TN 

Frank Ewing

June 24, 1918

Frank Ewing, a black man, was convicted of raping a 25-year-old white woman after being brought to the victim and identified by her. The victim, A. F., was raped at her home on Stokes Lane, west of Hillsboro Pike, a few miles south of Nashville. A police officer testified that Ewing confessed to the crime. However, Ewing had a strong alibi that he was working 25 miles away at the time of the crime. The alibi was supported by multiple witnesses, none of whom had known Ewing long or had a plausible reason to lie. The alibi was also supported by written records.

At trial, however, Ewing's white employer, J. M. Summers, was his only alibi witness, and on the day of his testimony he had misplaced records of Ewing's employment. The rape had occurred on a Monday. Without his records, Summers mistakenly remembered that Ewing had left his employment after the rape at the end of the week. Ewing had actually left Summers employment on Wednesday. The prosecutor was able to bring out that Ewing had been working elsewhere at the end of the week and that consequently Summers' statement was wrong. On appeal, further alibi evidence was submitted including the written records, but appeals courts declined to reverse Ewing's conviction. Ewing was executed in the electric chair on May 31, 1919.  (Wrongly Convicted)  [7/08]