Victims of the State

Canyon County, ID 

Charles Irvin Fain

Feb 24, 1982 (Nampa)

After 9-year-old Daralyn Johnson was kidnapped, raped, and drowned, Charles Irvin Fain, along with dozens of others was asked to provide hair samples for comparison to the hairs found on the victim. After performing microscopic hair comparison, an FBI forensics expert determined that the suspect hairs were similar to Fain's. At trial, the prosecution also relied on the testimony of two jailhouse informants. They claimed that Fain had told them of his involvement in the crime and provided graphic details. Fain was convicted and sentenced to death. He served 18 years of imprisonment before DNA tests showed that the hairs did not come from him.  (IP) (CWC)  [6/05]

Pulaski County, AR

Barry Lee Fairchild

Feb 26, 1983

Barry Lee Fairchild was convicted of the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a 22-year-old Marjorie “Greta” Mason. Mason was a white Air Force nurse and a former homecoming queen. Six days after the murder and after the media had reported many details of the crime, the police received a tip from an unnamed informant, a man described in police files as inaccurate about half the time, with a tendency to exaggerate. He named Barry Lee Fairchild as one of the culprits.
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Kings County, NY

Faison & Shepherd

Mar 14, 1987

Anthony Faison and Charles Shepherd were convicted of murdering cab driver Jean Ulysses. They were convicted because an informant perjured herself in order to split the $1,000 reward with her boyfriend, who was the actual murderer. Faison wrote 62,000 letters trying to enlist help from someone on the outside. He found help from one police detective. Because fingerprints found at the crime scene that did not match them, Faison and Shepherd were exonerated. In 2003, each of them was awarded $1,650,000 for 14 years of wrongful imprisonment.  (NY Times)  [10/05]

Kings County, NY

Scott Fappiano

Dec 1, 1983

Scott Fappiano was convicted of rape, sodomy, burglary, and sexual abuse. The victim picked him out of a photo lineup and out of a live lineup. The victim's husband, a police officer, also viewed the live lineup and picked one of the fillers. Fappiano's first trial ended in a hung jury that voted 11 to 1 for acquittal, but he was convicted on retrial. Fappiano was sentenced to 20 to 50 years imprisonment. In 2006, DNA tests cleared Fappiano of the crime and he was released.  (IP) (NY Times)  [12/06]

 Riverside County, CA

Lee Perry Farmer

June 1981

Lee Perry Farmer, Jr. was convicted of fatally shooting Erich Allyn Schmidt-Till, 18, during a Riverside apartment burglary. Farmer was sentenced to death. In 1997, a federal court reversed his conviction because he had incompetent counsel and he was acquitted in 1999 when evidence was presented that another man had committed the murder.  (DP Focus) (89) (97)  [7/05]

Jackson County, MI 

Robert Farnsworth, Jr.

Mar 11, 1999 (Jackson)

Robert Farnsworth, Jr. worked as a manager of a Wendy's restaurant. As part of his duties, he placed the day's receipts in two deposit bags and dropped them in the night depository of the restaurant's bank. The next day the bank found only one bag. The missing bag contained $2,289.20. Farnsworth insisted that he deposited two bags, but his boss at Wendy's did not believe him and fired him about a month later.

Later while being questioned by police, Farnsworth confessed to stealing the money. He immediately recanted his confession stating he was badgered into confessing, but his confession, however temporary, was used to convict him. At his July 1999 trial, bank employees testified that it was “absolutely impossible” for a deposit placed in the night depository to be lost.

In Feb. 2000, the owner of a car wash dropped a deposit in the same night depository and it too ended up missing. The car wash owner knew the bank president, and on Feb. 28, the depository was opened and inspected. Three deposit bags were found, the missing bag deposited by Farnsworth, the bag deposited by the car wash owner, and a third bag containing a deposit from a Rite Aid store that had not been reported missing. On May 8, a judge vacated Farnsworth's conviction and ordered that police records concerning him be destroyed.  (JD)  [3/07]

Bossier Parish, LA 

Jack Favor

Apr 17, 1964

Jack Graves Favor, a former rodeo star, was convicted in 1967 of the murders of Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Richey who were killed at their bait stand near Haughton, LA. Favor had picked up two hitchhikers, Floyd Cumbey and Donald Yates, who afterwards committed the murders. During Favor's trial Cumbey pled guilty to the murders and testified that Favor was the triggerman. Yates also confessed to the murders and agreed that a third person was involved, but denied it was Favor. The trial judge ruled that he could not give this testimony to Favor's jury. After the trial Cumbey was allowed to change his murder pleas to pleas of guilt to manslaughter and received suspended sentences on each count. Cumbey was released from prison seven months after Favor's trial and two days later he killed his former girlfriend and her roommate in Oklahoma. At a retrial in 1974, Yates denied Favor was involved in the murders and Favor was acquitted. Favor was later awarded $55,000 for his wrongful imprisonment. A 1998 TV movie was made about Favor and his wrongful imprisonment entitled Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack.  (ISI) (American Cowboy) (News Article) (Photos)  [2/10]

Salvatore “Sam” Fazzari - See Walsham Three

Franklin County, OH

Joseph Fears

1983 (Columbus)

Joseph R. Fears, Jr was convicted in connection to a pair of rapes committed a week apart in Columbus, Ohio, in 1983. An initial review of Fears' case by the Ohio Innocence Project could not go forward because biological evidence from the rapes could not be located. However, the exoneration of another inmate, Robert McClendon, made such an impression on Franklin County prosecutor, Ron O'Brien, that he ordered a comprehensive review of the county's evidence room and case files. The review turned up evidence from both rapes, although only one rape had material suitable for DNA testing. DNA tests not only exonerated Fears, but it implicated a Michigan felon who has since died. Further investigation revealed the Michigan felon was in the Columbus area at the time of the crime. Fears was released in 2009 after serving more than 25 years of imprisonment.  (UC) (Columbus Dispatch)  [5/09]

New York County, NY

Francis Featherstone

Apr 25, 1985

Francis Featherstone was convicted of the murder of construction worker Michael Holly, 41. Featherstone was reputedly a ranking member of the Westies, an Irish organized crime group based on the West Side of Manhattan. Featherstone's conviction was overturned six months after his conviction when prosecutors felt another man had committed the crime. Prosecutors also said that Featherstone's defense attorneys had known the identity of the real killer throughout his trial.  [1/07]

Houston County, GA 

Ellis Wayne Felker

Nov 24, 1981

Ellis Wayne Felker was convicted of the rape and murder of 19-year-old Evelyn Joy Ludlam. The conviction was obtained through hair analysis, which is notoriously unreliable, and by claimed similarities between the murder and another crime for which Felker was convicted years before. Felker was put under police surveillance within hours of Ludlam's disappearance on Nov. 24, 1981. Ludlam's body was found in Twiggs County fourteen days later floating in Scuffle Creek. An autopsy indicated that she had been strangled and put her death within the previous five days. However, when police realized this would have ruled Felker out as a suspect because he had been under surveillance, the findings of the autopsy were changed.

An unqualified lab technician conducted the autopsy. During appeals, Felker's lawyers showed notes and photos of Ludlam's body to pathologists who unanimously agreed that she could not have been dead for longer than three days. In spite of the medical opinion, appeal courts upheld Felker's conviction. Felker was executed on Nov. 15, 1996.

The state hid boxes of evidence from Felker's attorneys until just before his execution. Some held exonerating evidence, including another person's confession. Others held materials that could have been DNA tested.  (Felker v. State)

Middlesex County, MA 

Fells Acres Day School

1984 (Malden)

School officials Gerald Amirault, his mother Violet, and his sister Cheryl got caught up in snowballing sex abuse allegations and hysteria and were eventually accused of abusing more than 40 children. Children apparently were led into creating abuse stories after being badgered many times by investigating case workers (and some parents) looking for abuse. Many child witnesses unsaid on cross-examination what they had said on direct examination. No corroborating evidence was ever found. The school's insurance company paid more than $20 million to 16 families. The three defendants were convicted and their convictions were never permanently overturned. The longest serving defendant, Gerald Amirault, was paroled in April 2004. Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, which had never taken such a stand, called the case a “travesty of justice.”  (American Justice) (Website)  [5/05]

Philadelphia County, PA

Neil Ferber

May 27, 1981

Neil Ferber was sentenced to death for the murder of reputed mobster Chelsais “Steve” Bouras (aka Booras) and companion Jeanette Curro at Meletis Restaurant, near Eighth and Bainbridge Sts. Their dining mates were mobster Raymond “Long John” Martorano and disc jockey Jerry Blavat. Years after the conviction, evidence emerged that police had fed information to a jailhouse informant and that the police had created a false composite sketch designed specifically to match Ferber. The police had also manipulated witnesses to secure identifications of Ferber, and the prosecution had suborned perjury when it allowed the jailhouse informant to deny that he was receiving consideration for his testimony. Ferber was imprisoned for four years. A judge characterized the police handling of Ferber's case as a “Kafkaesque nightmare” and said that Ferber's 1982 criminal trial was a “malevolent charade.” Ferber received a $1.9 million award after a jury found that homicide detective Daniel Rosenstein and police sketch artist Dominic Frontino framed him.  (CWC) (TWM)  [7/05]

Boone County, MO 

Ferguson & Erickson

Nov 1, 2001 (Columbia)

Ryan Ferguson and Chuck Erickson were convicted of the brutal murder of Columbia Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. A janitor, Jerry Trump, caught a glimpse of two young white men running away from Heitholt's car around the time of the murder. The janitor said he could not provide a detailed description of them. Two years after the crime, after reading anniversary newspaper coverage, Erickson began telling friends he dreamed he had killed Heitholt.
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Grant County, WV 

Paul Ferrell

Feb 17, 1988

Paul William Ferrell, a rookie sheriff's deputy, was convicted of the murder of Cathy Ford, a 19-year-old waitress from nearby Maryland. Her body has never been found and no one had ever seen her with Ferrell. Some time after Ford's disappearance, her boyfriend, Darvin Moon, discovered her badly burned truck 75 yards from Ford's trailer home. Some believed that the truck was burned elsewhere because there was no scorching on the vegetation surrounding the vehicle.
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 England (Birmingham CC)

Julie Ferris

1993, 1998

“Julie Ferris was wrongly convicted in June 2000 of smothering two of her children. [The first child, Hayley, died at nine months in 1993 and initially was thought to have been a cot-death victim. When the second child, Brandon, died five years later, aged eight months, Ferris was arrested.] The prosecution relied on the ... testimony of discredited expert witness Sir Roy Meadows – the same expert whose erroneous testimony contributed to the wrongful convictions of Sally Clark and Angela Cannings. [Ferris's] conviction was reversed in May 2003 and she was released on bail pending a retrial, which was scheduled for November 2004. On August 6, 2004 the prosecution announced it was dropping all charges against Julie Ferris.” – FJDB  (Times)

Jefferson County, AL

Ellis Fewell

Apr 10, 1949

After 13 days of continuous questioning, Stanford Ellis Fewell confessed to the sex murder of Phyllis Dean Carver, the 9-year-old daughter of Fewell's cousin. He soon repudiated the confession, but was convicted of the crime in 1952. Subsequent investigation by a former editor of the Birmingham News and the Court of Last Resort led to four witnesses who confirmed Fewell's alibi. In 1959, after this new evidence was introduced, the Alabama Parole Board released Fewell.  (ISI)  [9/07]

Jefferson County, KY 

Matthew Fields

Oct 2005

Eighteen-year-old Matthew Fields confessed under police interrogation to a home break-in and a sexual assault. After spending a year in jail awaiting trial, DNA tests exonerated him.  (Louisville CJ)

 Santa Rosa County, FL

Lance Fierke

June 25, 2001

Lance Fierke's cellmate at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution had raped him and had threatened to rape him again. Fierke reported the incident and when he refused to go back to his cell for more, Officer Dean beat him.  (Report)  [9/05]

Pulaski County, IN 

R & L Finnegan


Roman and Lynnette Finnegan were charged with abusing and neglecting their child, Jessica Salyer, following her death at age 14. Jessica was born with tricuspid atresia, a heart defect that causes the right ventricle to be underdeveloped. She had her first heart surgery at age 2, and was on medication to treat her heart condition and seizures for much of her life. In 2005, Jessica died from sudden cardiac arrest caused by a prescription error. Her dose of Coumadin was inexplicably increased to many times the safe limit while she was taken off her seizure medication altogether. During her autopsy, Jessica suffered a skull fracture. It was alleged that this fracture had existed prior to her death. Authorities never explained why it began at the autopsy saw line, why there was no blood in the fracture, or why Jessica never complained of a head injury.

Lynnette was charged in April 2007 with neglecting a dependent resulting in serious injury, a Class B felony. Both Lynnette and Roman were charged with neglecting a dependent, a Class D felony. The Indiana Department of Child Services in Pulaski County removed Lynnette's other two daughters from her Francesville home when the investigation began in Nov. 2006. Her son, who was old enough to live on his own, moved out. Roman Finnegan, who worked as a corrections officer for the Medaryville Facility, was suspended from work because he was charged with a felony. Lynnette could not work because she suffers from epilepsy. A bank eventually foreclosed on their home. By Nov. 2007, the couple got their daughters back and charges against them have been dropped. Roman even got his job back.  (False Allegations)  [11/07]

New York County, NY

David Finnerty


(Federal Case) David Finnerty, a New York Stock Exchange specialist, was convicted of cheating customers by engaging in interpositioning. Interpositioning means that instead of matching pending buy and sell orders, a specialist can repeatedly trade for his company's proprietary account, making a profit from the slight differences in pricing. In 2007, the conviction was overturned and judgment of acquittal was entered. The judge held that the prosecution failed to prove that interpositioning is fraudulent or deceptive conduct.  (NY Law Journal)  [4/07]

Lauderdale County, MS 

Larry Fisher

May 4, 1983 (Meridan)

Larry Fisher was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Melinda Gail Weathers, an 18-year-old high school student. A series of similar crimes had occurred in the area, and pre-trial media coverage of the case was extensive. Fisher asked for a change of venue but was denied. The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed his conviction because he was denied his right to a fair trial. Two months later he was tried in a different county and acquitted of all charges.  [4/07]

New York County, NY

William Fisher

Jan 28, 1933

William Fisher was convicted of manslaughter for shooting David Feldman to death in a Harlem speakeasy. Feldman's killing occurred at the Belden Social Club on the southeast corner of 124th Street and Second Avenue. Three others were wounded during the incident, a “wild melee,” in which pistols roared and knives flashed.

Fisher was paroled in 1944. In 1958 a state court overturned his conviction for two reasons: (1) The trial prosecutor had introduced a gun into evidence as the murder weapon, which he knew had not been fired by Fisher. (2) The prosecutor had also suppressed witness statements that clearly supported Fisher's innocence. In 1986, Fisher was awarded $750,000 for his wrongful imprisonment.  (Archives) (ISI)  [9/07]

Vernon Parish, LA 

Kevin Fitzpatrick

July 2, 1992

Kevin Fitzpatrick was sentenced to 60 years in prison for armed robbery. The victim's statements are full of inconsistencies and known falsehoods.  (IIPPI) (WAFB 9)