Victims of the State

St. Clair County, IL 

Floyd Flood

Aug 23, 1924 (Freeburg)

Floyd Flood was convicted of robbing the First National Bank in Freeburg, IL. Two female bank employees identified him as one of the six men who robbed the bank. Along with Flood, two of the actual robbers were convicted. Following their conviction, the two confessed their part in the robbery, but stated that Flood was not involved and that they did not even know him. Two more of the actual robbers were then caught. They confessed and named the remaining two men involved, neither of whom were Flood. The bank employees who identified Flood admitted they could be mistaken, and a pardon application was made for him. However, the Bankers Association opposed the pardon until every one of the six robbers were caught and convicted. Eventually this demand was met. Illinois Governor Small pardoned Flood in Jan. 1926.  (CTI)  [4/08]

Polk County, IA 

David Flores

Apr 8, 1996 (Des Moines)

David Flores was convicted of murdering 42-year-old Phyllis Davis, a bank executive. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. During a rolling gun battle between two motor vehicles, an errant bullet killed Davis. Davis died within seconds as her car rolled into the intersection of University Ave. and Ninth St. It was not entirely clear that Flores was in one of the battling motor vehicles, and if he was, that he fired the bullet that killed Davis. However, the erratic behavior of Flores' girlfriend and her refusal to answer some questions during the trial led to Flores' conviction. Child welfare advocates had threatened to take away the girlfriend's child, which they eventually did.

On the day of Flores' sentencing, the jury foreman, Samuel McCrorey, who helped convict Flores, went public with his belief that Flores was actually innocent. McCrorey said he had doubts Flores was even at the scene. The judge harshly chastised McCrorey for going public with his regrets. The judge's criticism faulted McCrorey for presumably embarrassing other jurors, who had agreed not to talk publicly about their deliberations.

In 2003, evidence surfaced that a gang member told the FBI and the Los Angeles police prior to Flores' trial that another man, Raphael Robinson, shot Davis. The FBI interview had been in the custody of the Polk County Attorney for some time. A June 2008 court hearing is scheduled to consider the new evidence.  (Des Moines Register)  [3/08]

Los Angeles County, CA

Timothy Fonseca

Apr 23, 1995

Timothy Fonseca was convicted of the murder of Arthur Mayer. He was convicted because of a tainted identification procedure. Much more likely suspects are gang members who lived at the house where the shooting occurred.  (Justice: Denied)  [9/05]

Karl Fontenot - See Ward & Fontenot

Allegheny County, PA

Paul Ford, Jr.

Feb 1994 (West Mifflin)

Paul Ford, Jr. was convicted of murdering Maurice Price. Price, 25, was shot to death outside a Monview Heights tenement in West Mifflin. The 410 lb. Price had gone there with $250 to buy a quarter ounce of cocaine. Price could not find his regular dealer so he asked people milling around if anyone else could make the sale.

Initial descriptions of the assailant do not match Ford and the only evidence against him is testimony from three admitted liars. Seven people, including two jail guards, say that Joey Jones told them that he was the killer. Two others gave descriptions of the killer that match Jones. However, on the witness stand Jones fingered Ford. Nikela Carrington, a crack addict, told police she watched Ford rob and kill Price. When asked where she was at the time of the shooting, Carrington wavered, but eventually settled on saying she was in her apartment. However, from her apartment a neighboring building would have blocked her view. Nicole Bennett, a friend of Carrington's and a fellow drug user, denied seeing the shooting for six days, then told police she saw Ford pull the trigger. She later admitted conspiring with Carrington to extort money from Ford by threatening to say that he did it.

Ford, a street-level drug dealer, admitted being at the scene of the killing with some associates but denied involvement in it. He believes he was targeted because eight years previously his father had shot the lead investigator, Detective Gary Tallent. Ford's attorney, Robert Garshak, did not call a number of relevant witnesses at trial because he said the prosecution's case was so weak that he did not need them.  (JD) (Innocence Institute)  [4/08]

El Paso County, TX

Tony Ford

Dec 19, 1991 (El Paso)

Tony Ford was convicted of shooting four members of the Murillo family, killing one of them. The shootings occurred during the course of a robbery. The victims identified Ford at trial, but much evidence indicates their identification is mistaken. Ford was scheduled for execution in Dec. 2005. Eight days before his execution, a judge issued a stay so that DNA tests can be performed. It is expected that these tests will find that the victims' blood is on the clothes of the person believed to be the real shooter.  (Justice: Denied) (ODR)  [3/08]

 Cook County, IL

Ford Heights Four

May 11, 1978

Kenneth Adams, Dennis Williams, Willie Rainge, and Verneal Jimerson were convicted of gang raping and murdering 23-year-old Carol Schmal and murdering her fiancé, Larry Lionberg. The crimes occurred in the town of Chicago Heights which was subsequently renamed Ford Heights. The four, who later became known as the Ford Heights Four, were sentenced to 75 years, death, life without parole, and death respectively.

Years later, Northwestern University journalism students investigated the case. They uncovered a police file showing that, within a week of the crime, a witness had told the police that they had arrested the wrong men. The witness said he knew who committed the crime because he heard shots, saw four men run away from the scene, and the next day saw them selling items taken from the robbery of the victims. One of the men identified by that witness was by then dead, but the other three ultimately confessed. Then the results of the DNA testing established the innocence of the Ford Heights Four and implicated the three who had confessed. The four were pardoned and released in 1996. In 1999, the four were awarded $36 million in damages. Their case was the subject of a 1998 book entitled A Promise of Justice.

At a retrial in 1987, prosecutor Scott Arthur used blind belief in the police to counter defense arguments. “Maybe the police made up all this evidence … That's too far-fetched. If your find the defendants innocent, don't do it because [of a specific defense argument.] Do it because you believe the police framed these men – because that's what you would have to believe now.” In 1997, following a federal investigation into Ford Heights police corruption, Chief Jack Davis and five other officers – more than half the town's police department – were convicted of extorting bribes from drug dealers and abetting them in their distribution of heroin and crack. Some of the real killers of Schmal and Lionberg were drug dealers and the police department protected them by charging and convicting four innocents of the murders.  (CWC1) (CWC2) (CWC3) (CWC4) (IP1) (IP2) (IP3) (IP4)  [1/06]

McKinlay Forrest - See Trenton Six

Wayne & Colleen Forsythe - See Bakersfield Seven

Jackson County, GA 

James Foster

July 19, 1956 (Jefferson)

James Fulton Foster was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of grocer Charles Drake. The victim's widow identified him in an unlawful showup procedure and a jailhouse informant testified against him. Foster lost his direct appeals, but he was granted two reprieves from scheduled executions. After the actual murderer, Charles P. “Rocky” Rothschild, confessed, a new trial was granted. At Foster's new trial the judge entered a directed verdict of acquittal.  (ISI)  [7/05]

Bexar County, TX 

Kenneth Foster

Aug 15, 1996

Kenneth Foster drove a car that stopped to allow an occupant, DeWayne Dillard, an opportunity to get out and talk to a female (later learned to be a stripper) in a stopped car. Dillard shot her male friend, Michael T. LaHood, Jr., allegedly in self-defense, but the prosecutor argued robbery. According to Dillard, Foster in the car 80 feet away “appeared surprised and panicked” and started to drive away, but Dillard told him to stop. According to Texas “law of parties,” the jury had to agree that Foster had intended or conspired to participate in the alleged robbery in order to convict him of Capital Murder, but the trial judge blatantly disregarded this law in his instructions to the jury. Foster was convicted and sentenced to death in 1997.  (  [3/05]

 Dallas County, TX

Wiley Fountain

Jan 15, 1986 (Dallas)

Wiley Fountain was convicted of rape after being identified by the victim even though he had an alibi witness at trial. Gov. Rick Perry pardoned him in 2003 after DNA tests exonerated him of the crime.  (IP)  [1/07]

Stephens County, OK 

Lefty Fowler

Jan 23, 1948 (Duncan)

E. L. “Lefty” Fowler was convicted of the murder of Helen Beavers. Fowler was a Duncan policeman and had been with her a short time before she was killed. Following Beaver's murder, Fowler quit his job, failed to pick up his last check, and engaged in conversation indicating that he was considering suicide. He also began an excessive round of drinking.

Less than two months after Beavers' murder, Fowler was arrested in Waurika and imprisoned for drunkenness in the Jefferson County Jail. Three Crime Bureau Agents then fraudulently conspired to transport Fowler to Stephens County for interrogation. They freed Fowler (by paying his fine) on condition he drive a supposedly drunk cellmate, who was actually an agent, to Stephens County. Once in Stephens County, Fowler was arrested on bogus charges that were never filed. He was then denied access to a magistrate and a lawyer, and interrogated under coercive conditions for 12 days.

Fowler eventually confessed to the murder of Beavers, but the County Attorney thought the confession was inconsistent with the facts. Beavers was then required to give another confession, which was signed at 5 a.m., apparently after an all night grilling. Even this confession was not regarded as sufficient and Beavers had to give two more before authorities were satisfied.

In 1960, Fowler was granted habeas corpus relief due to his coerced and illegal interrogation. He presumably was released.  (Argosy)  [4/08]

 Cook County, IL

Fowler & Pugh

Sept 5, 1936

Walter Fowler and Heywood Pugh (aka Earl Howard Pugh) were convicted in 1937 of the murder of William J. Haag, a Railway Express Agency driver. Haag was stabbed to death on South State Street in Chicago during an apparent robbery. At trial both men testified that their confessions to the crime were beaten out of them. Fowler was sentenced to 99 years in prison and Pugh was sentenced to life imprisonment. Fowler died in 1948. In 1953, the police detective, George Miller, who had obtained Fowler's and Pugh's confessions, inadvertently allowed an attorney working for Pugh to see a manila folder containing statements from two eyewitnesses to Haag's murder. These eyewitnesses identified another man, Eddie Leison, as Haag's killer. Because of this evidence, Pugh was exonerated and released. In 1955, the Illinois legislature awarded Pugh $51,000 for his wrongful imprisonment.  (CWC)  [9/07]

Will County, IL 

Kevin Fox

June 6, 2004 (Wilmington)

Kevin Fox was charged with the murder of his 3-year-old daughter, Riley. Fox had confessed to the crime after a grueling interrogation that lasted more than 14 hours. Riley had fallen asleep on the living room couch, but was missing from her house the next morning. The front door was open. She may have opened it herself and gone outside. There were no signs of forced entry. Riley was found later that day, drowned in a creek four miles from her home. She had been sexually assaulted. Her arms and mouth were bound with duct tape. Fox was released after spending 8 months in jail. DNA tests failed to link him to the crime. Fox and his wife were awarded $15.5 million from Will County in Dec. 2007. The County plans to appeal the award.  (Chicago Tribune)  [4/08]

Fulton County, GA 

Leo Frank

Apr 26, 1913 (Atlanta)

Leo Frank was a Jewish businessman who managed a pencil factory. He was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a 13-year-old employee, Mary Phagan. Phagan's apparent murderer was black. However, as Phagan's minister, O. L. Brickner, put it, “One old Negro would be poor atonement for the life of this innocent girl. But when on the next day, the police arrested a Jew, and a Yankee at that, all of the inborn prejudices against Jews rose up in a feeling of satisfaction that here would be a victim worthy to pay for the crime.”

The conviction was based on the testimony of factory janitor, Jim Conley, whom many thought was the true murderer. Following the conviction and during Frank's appeals, many Georgians became incensed by Northern and later non-Georgian Southern press reports about the case. In many respects, Frank was given an eminently fair trial, not characterized by anti-Semitism or hooliganism. The prosecutor even praised Judah P. Benjamin, a Jew who served as the Confederate Government's secretary of state.

Georgia, at the time, had a tradition of private justice characteristic of pre-industrial times mixed with mass media newspapers characteristic of the modern era. The combination produced a mob spirit that was never far below the surface. Jurors, who might have rendered a just verdict, had reason to be afraid.

In 1915, Gov. John Slaton commuted Frank's sentence to life because of doubts about his guilt. (He privately thought him innocent.) After the announcement, a mob stormed the Governor's mansion. Some weeks later, a second mob abducted Frank from a state prison and lynched him. In the anti-Semitic hysteria that followed, other Jews were attacked and many were forced to flee the state.

Frank's case became the catalyst for the formation of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League as well as for the resurgence of the Klu Klux Klan. In 1913, Frank employed a 14-year-old office boy named Alonzo Mann. In 1982, Mann came forward and said he had seen Conley carrying Phagan's body. In 1913, he was afraid of Conley, and his mother told him not to get involved. In March 1986, Georgia granted Frank a posthumous pardon. A book was written about the case entitled The Leo Frank Case.  (CrimeLibrary) (Famous Trials)  [11/05]

San Mateo County, CA

George Franklin

Sept 22, 1969

“In January 1989, Eileen Franklin-Lipsker was playing with her young daughter, Jessica, and as the child turned toward her, a memory of another girl in just such a pose sprang into Franklin-Lipsker's mind. The memory was of her childhood best friend, eight-year-old Susan Nason, being raped and killed by Franklin-Lipsker's father nearly 20 years earlier.”
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 Harris County, TX

Robert Fratta

Nov 9, 1994

Robert Alan Fratta was convicted in 1996 of arranging his wife's murder. He was sentenced to death. Fratta had been in divorce proceedings with his wife. To gain custody of their children, his wife had made allegations of sexual perversion involving bathroom activities. The murder trial prosecutor used these allegations in an attempt to prejudice the jury. Fratta had no opportunity to confront the allegations, as he could not cross-examine the person who made them. Even in regard to living witnesses, Fratta's trial judge openly denied Fratta's Sixth Amendment right to confront his accusers. The judge permitted hearsay testimony from a police officer that an alleged co-conspirator had implicated himself and Fratta in the crime. Another witness testified to incriminating statements made by the alleged co-conspirator and a second alleged co-conspirator. Fratta's defense tried to call these alleged co-conspirators to refute the hearsay testimony, but the judge would not allow them to be called.  (ODR)  [11/07]

Warren County, OH

Jack Frederick

Apr 23, 1994

Jack L. Frederick was convicted of rape, kidnapping, assault, and domestic violence against Jackie Dawson, an ex-girlfriend. The lack of physical evidence and the evidence of trial witness perjury not only creates reasonable doubt, but also makes likely Frederick's claim that Dawson fabricated the charges in order to retaliate against him for leaving her and failing to share with her half of his $1200 disability check.  (Justice: Denied)  [10/08]

Johnnie Frederick - See Quincy Five

St. Clair County, MI 

Frederick Freeman

Nov 5, 1986

Frederick Freeman was convicting of murdering Scott Macklem in the parking lot of the St. Clair County Community College. At least 16, and as many as 19 witnesses put Freeman 460 miles from the murder scene in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the night before, the morning, the day of, and the night after the murder. A team of advocates, from former FBI agents to a veteran TV newsman, says Freeman was railroaded while the real killer remains free.  (Case Website) (Metro Times) (MT2) (MT3) (DFP)

Pickaway County, OH

Paul Freshour

Feb 1983 (Circleville)

Paul Freshour was convicted of the attempted murder of his sister-in-law, Mary Gillispie, a school bus driver. In 1976 Mary received a letter in the mail telling her that the letter writer was aware that she was having an affair with the superintendent of schools and that it had better stop. The letter also contained the threat, “I know where you live. I've been observing your house and know you have children. This is no joke. Please take it serious.” The envelope was postmarked Columbus, Ohio. There was no return address, no signature inside, no way to tell who sent it.
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Dennis Fritz - See Williamson & Fritz

 Ontario, Canada

Peter Frumusa

Aug 22, 1988 (Niagara Falls)

Peter Frumusa was convicted of murdering Richard and Annie Wilson, a married couple. The victims were found dead in their beds and died as a result of blows to their heads. No murder weapon was found. There was no evidence of forced entry to their house, or of robbery or vandalism. Since Richard's wallet and money were found close to his body, robbery appeared not to be a motive and the killings were thought to be executions.
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San Francisco County, CA

John Henry Fry

Aug 3, 1958

John Henry Fry was accused of murdering his common law wife, Elvira Hay, 47. Hay was found strangled to death in a hotel room bathtub at 493 Fourth Street in San Francisco. The prosecution developed a strong circumstantial case against him. Although Fry maintained his innocence, he pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter for which he received a 1 to 10 year prison sentence. Fry feared receiving a harsher sentence if he were convicted of murder. Gov. Edmund Brown pardoned Fry in June 1959 after a hotel cook named Richard Cooper confessed to the crime. The state legislature awarded Fry $3,000 for 7 months of wrongful imprisonment.  (People v. Cooper) (The Innocents)  [5/08]

Ralph Frye - Burrows & Frye

 Escambia County, FL

E. J. Fudge

June 27, 1916

E. J. Fudge was convicted of the murder of his two daughters Ethel and Tennie, ages 7 and 10 years. Evidence indicated the girls' deaths were suicides as Tennie left behind three notes in her handwriting giving reasons for her and her sister's suicides. At trial the state introduced a possible motive for Fudge to kill his daughters and argued that he forced Tennie to write the notes. However, the state's theory of the crime was unsupported and appeared to only be a remote possibility. In Mar. 1918, the state supreme court overturned Fudge's conviction for insufficient evidence. Charges against him were subsequently dropped.  (Fudge v. State) (MOJ)  [12/10]

 Dallas County, TX

Larry Fuller

Apr 26, 1981

Larry Fuller, a decorated Vietnam veteran, was convicted of aggravated rape and sentenced to 50 years in prison. The victim was assaulted and raped in her bedroom. When police showed her photographs of potential suspects two days later, she did not identify Fuller. Several days later, police showed her a second group of photos. The photograph of Fuller was the only one that appeared in both arrays. Although the victim said her assailant did not have facial hair, and Fuller was pictured with a full beard, she identified him and he was arrested. Fuller had an alibi that was corroborated and had no record of sex crimes. He was paroled in 1999, but returned to prison in 2005 for a parole violation. In 2006, he became the 10th Dallas County man in five years freed by DNA testing.  (IP) (NBC5)  [12/06]

Philadelphia County, PA

Roland Fuller

Dec 14, 2004

Roland Fuller's cousin, Marquise Roberts, 24, was a soldier and did not wish to return to duty in Iraq as some of his friends had been killed there. According to Fuller's lawyer, Fuller fell sway to Roberts “very strong emotional appeal” and shot Roberts in the leg. The gunshot wound would presumably prevent Roberts from having to return to Iraq. Fuller was sentenced to 15 to 30 months for aggravated assault despite having the consent and even the encouragement of his alleged victim. Although the motive for the shooting was to safeguard Roberts' life, the prosecutor told the judge that Fuller put Roberts' life at risk.  (News Article)  [9/05]