Victims of the State

Norfolk, VA 

Joseph Giarratano

Feb 5, 1979

Joe Giarratano was convicted of murdering Michelle Kline, 15, and her mother, Barbara “Toni” Kline, 44. Michelle had been strangled and Toni had been stabbed to death. Joe had stayed at the Kline's apartment a few weeks before the murders. The day after the bodies were found, Joe was in Jacksonville, Florida and police there contacted him. He confessed to them that he committed the crime. He gave four statements inconsistent with details of the crime. After two detectives from Norfolk arrived and interviewed him, he gave a fifth statement.

This statement was more consistent with the facts of the crime, as Norfolk detectives showed him crime scene photos and could feed him details of the crime, but it was still inconsistent. Joe claimed to have killed Lori before Michelle, but medical reports show that Michelle died before Lori. He had stated that he strangled Michelle with his hands, when the autopsy report stated a non-hands form of strangulation. This report was changed to say manual strangulation prior to trial. Other discrepancies exist.

At trial the prosecution withheld evidence such as that of an alternate suspect whose driver's license was found in the Kline's apartment. This suspect was heroin user and a federal informant with a history of sexual assaults. All trace of him has since disappeared as though he entered the federal witness protection program. In 1991, Joe's appellate attorneys convinced Gov. Wilder to commute Joe's death sentence to life imprisonment and to recommend a new trial. However, Virginia law does not allow new evidence to be introduced after 21 days following a conviction.

Joe had been a serious alcohol and drug abuser. However, in prison, after he stopped taking tranquilizers issued to him by prison doctors, he became a competent “jailhouse lawyer.” A couple of his cases have made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. He worked tirelessly on Earl Washington's case as well as many others. He taught non-violence classes and helped some inmates to read and write. Officials at Red Onion State Prison have since stopped his activism by placing him in solitary confinement.  (Justice: Denied)  [2/07]

Kings County, NY

Barry Gibbs

Nov 4, 1986

Barry Gibbs was convicted of murdering Virginia Robertson, a prostitute whose strangled body was found dumped on the Belt Parkway near Mill Basin Bridge. A witness, Peter Mitchell happened to be jogging on the bike path of the Parkway and said he saw the man who dumped the body.

Ten days later Gibbs was working as a counterman at a deli at the junction of Flatbush and Nostrand Aves. Police detective Louis Eppolito came in and took a can of soda out of the fridge. Gibbs told him, “That will be 75 cents.” According to Gibbs, Eppolito got so PO'd that he had asked for money that he took him down to the precinct station and tried to beat him into confessing to Robertson's murder, a murder he had no idea about. The witness, Mitchell, then identified Gibbs from a lineup as the man who dumped the body. Mitchell had initially described the dumper as 5-foot, 6-inches tall with a moustache. Gibbs was was 5-foot, 11-inches tall and had no facial hair.

In 1999, noted attorney Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project took up Gibbs case, but the case evidence file had mysteriously disappeared. In 2005, agents of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency arrested Eppolito in Las Vegas and charged him with being a hit man for the Lucchese crime family. In his home the Feds found Gibb's case file and when they contacted Mitchell, he told them Eppolito had coerced him into identifying Gibbs and that he “believed, and continues to believe, that Barry Gibbs is not the person he saw disposing of the victim's body.” Gibbs was subsequently exonerated and released after more than 18 years in prison. Eppolito was convicted of numerous charges including eight counts of murder.  (NY Daily News) (Fox News)  [4/10]

McCurtain County, OK

Charles Ray Giddens

Sept 1977 (Idabel)

Charles Ray Giddens was sentenced to death for the murder of an Idabel grocery store clerk named Beulah Fay Tapley. The evidence against Giddens rested solely on the account of one Johnnie Ray Gray, a man whom the police had arrested for the crime. Gray, who was never indicted in the incident, claimed that he waited outside the grocery store while Giddens committed the murder. On appeal, a court ruled in 1981 that Gray's testimony was fraught with contradictions and that in light of the fact that Gray had much to gain by fabricating his story, his uncorroborated account could not support a conviction. Giddens was immediately set free. The state was barred from retrying Giddens on double jeopardy grounds.  (Oklahoman) (ISI)  [7/05]

 Dallas County, TX

James Curtis Giles

Aug 1, 1982

James Curtis Giles was convicted of participating in a gang rape with two other men. Police knew before Giles' trial that the real perpetrator was a teenager with an almost identical name, James Earl Giles. He lived across the street from the rape victim. Police withheld two sworn statements identifying him. James Earl Giles died of cancer in 2000. James Curtis Giles was released in 1993 and is on parole until 2013. He must register as a sex offender. In early 2007, prosecutors are joining with defense attorneys to get the wrong James Giles cleared.  (IP)  [3/07]

Montgomery County, MD 

Giles, Giles, & Johnson

July 20, 1961

James Giles, John Giles, and Joseph Johnson Jr., all blacks, were convicted of raping Joyce Roberts, a white teenager. They were all sentenced to death. The prosecution withheld evidence that the victim was highly promiscuous and that she had later falsely accused two other men of raping her prior to the defendants' trials. The victim initially told police that John Giles had not raped her, but later claimed that all three defendants raped her. She apparently had a motive to lie because she was on probation. She had not gone to the police on her own, but rather was discovered by them. Because of the withheld evidence, the Giles brothers had their convictions vacated, but the Maryland Court of Appeals reinstated their convictions. On appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 voted 5-4 not to uphold the convictions. The Giles brothers were released the same year. They could not be retried because Roberts refused to testify against them again. Governor Askew pardoned Johnson in 1968.  (Maryland's Mockingbird Case) (Giles v. Maryland) (ISI)  [9/07]

Stark County, OH

John Gillard

Jan 1, 1985 (Canton)

John Grant Gillard was sentenced to death for shooting three people, killing two of them. John's brother, William Gillard, attended a New Year's Eve party. While there, Leroy Ensign beat William and forcibly ejected him from the party. William returned later, after midnight, and fired a shot into the air. Shortly thereafter, Ensign, Denise Maxwell, and Ron Postlethwaite were shot. Ensign and Maxwell died. Police put out an all points bulletin for a truck driven by William, the truck seen leaving the scene of the shootings.

Four hours after the shootings, the Ohio Highway Patrol caught William trying to flee the state. He had high-velocity blood spatter on him that placed him within two feet of the victims at the moment they were shot. Tests showed that blood spots found on him were consistent with all three victims. Police did not issue an arrest warrant for his brother John until Jan 2.

Police later claimed they lost Postlethwaite's original statement as to the identity of the shooter. At trial, Postlethwaite identified John as the shooter. Postlethwaite also testified that he had at least eight beers and was sleeping in a poorly lit room at the time of the shootings. During trial, the state emphatically maintained that Postlethwaite identified John immediately after the shootings. However, the lead investigator has since admitted that the investigation had focused originally on William.

John's attorney, Louis Martinez, also represented William. During John's trial Martinez challenged the evidence against William, even though doing so prejudiced John. William testified at John's trial stating that he was not present at the shootings and he tried to explain away the physical evidence that implicated himself. After entering into a plea agreement that allowed him to be immediately paroled, William testified at the trial of another man that he (William) was present when Ensign was shot, but fled prior to the other shootings.  (Appeals)  [2/08]

Greene County, OH

Roger Dean Gillispie

Aug 1988 (Fairborn)

Roger Dean Gillispie was convicted of raping three women. The first woman was raped on Aug. 5, 1988. The other two, twin sisters, were kidnapped and raped on Aug. 20, 1988. The three victims identified Gillispie from a tainted photo lineup two years after the crime. According to the initial descriptions by the victims, the attacker had reddish-brown hair, no chest hair, a loud commanding voice, no accent, bushy eyebrows and a dark suntan. He was also a smoker, wore cologne, and smelled of alcohol.  Gillispie had brown hair that grayed at the sides, a cleft chin, thick chest hair, pale skin, a Kentucky drawl, and rarely wore cologne. Friends say he rarely drank and never smoked.

After the Ohio Innocence Project took on Gillispie's case in 2003, an anonymous tipster called and provided the name of man said to be the real rapist. He was a guard at Lebanon Correctional Institution. This man matched the victim's initial descriptions to a tee. He had even been arrested in 1990 for the apparent kidnapping of a woman, but charges were dropped after the victim refused to cooperate. When spoken to, the man claimed ignorance about the Gillispie case, but seemed overly curious about it and referred to the “ladies” without being told there were multiple victims.  (Western Star) (State v. Gillispie)  [10/07]

Yavapai County, AZ

Ray Girdler

Nov 20, 1981

Ray Girdler was convicted of setting a fire that killed his wife and child. The conviction was based on testimony by the prosecution's “expert” witness that a flammable liquid was present in Girdler's home. Subsequent tests showed there were no such liquids and that the fire started from natural origins. Girdler was cleared in 1990 after 8 years of imprisonment.  [7/05]

Dauphin County, PA

David Gladden

Mar 11, 1994 (Harrisburg)

David Gladden was convicted of beating and strangling to death 67-year-old M. Geneva Long. He was convicted on the testimony of an alleged accomplice, James Carson, who now says his testimony was the product of police coercion. Gladden has been mentally retarded since suffering a childhood head injury. Police chose not to focus on an alternative suspect, Andrew Dillon, who at the time of Long's murder was living in a room next to her. By the time of Gladden's trial, Dillon was suspected of killing four elderly women, not including Long. Seven days after Gladden's conviction, Dillon was charged with these murders when DNA results matched him to a victim. Dillon later pleaded guilty to the murders. One of these victims was stomped on, dumped on a bed, and set on fire – a manner of death identical to that of Long.

At trial, Gladden's attorney pursued a defense that alleged that Carson was the killer. The attorney did not try to implicate Dillon, because police had assured him that the DA had ruled Dillon out as a suspect. In Feb. 2007, Gladden's conviction was overturned and he was released from prison.  (Patriot-News)  [3/07]

Thomas Gladish - See Albuquerque Four

 Cook County, IL

Michael Glasper

Mar 16, 2006

“Michael Glasper was wrongly convicted in Chicago of the robbery of a [South Loop] parking lot attendant in September 2006. One of the items stolen was the attendant's cell phone. Glasper and his girlfriend found a cell phone near Chicago's Columbia College where his girlfriend worked. She scrolled through the numbers stored in the telephone. She identified the owner, called her, and returned the telephone to her. The robbery victim called the police to report the returned phone. In her statement to the police the victim described the robber as a person 7 inches shorter than Glasper. However, because of Glasper's record they considered him as a suspect. The victim subsequently picked him out of a lineup as the robber. Michael Glasper was convicted based on the victim's in-court identification, and he was sentenced to life in prison as a habitual offender, because of two robbery convictions in the 1990s. Glasper's conviction was overturned on appeal, and he was acquitted after a retrial in July 2008.” – FJDB

Montgomery County, PA

Bruce Godschalk

1986 (King of Prussia)

Bruce Donald Godschalk was convicted of a rape and burglary that occurred on July 13, 1986, and a second rape and burglary that occurred on Sept. 8, 1986. The crimes occurred at the Kingswood Apartments on South Gulph Road in King of Prussia. The victims did not know each other. The first victim was unable to identify the perpetrator, but the second victim assisted police in creating a composite sketch of the perpetrator. This sketch was broadcast on television and placed in local newspapers. After receiving a call telling them that Godschalk resembled the sketch, police picked up Godschalk. Upper Merion Detective Bruce Saville subsequently obtained a confession from Godschalk, one that Godschalk contended was coerced. Following Godschalk's conviction, the prosecution refused for years to turn over a copy of his taped confession. Once a copy was obtained, it was sent to an expert who concluded that it was likely that Godschalk had falsely confessed. After DNA testing was requested, the prosecution claimed to have secretly sent the evidence for testing (via Saville) which yielded no results and that the evidence was destroyed in the testing. However, evidence from both assaults was found and DNA tests on it exonerated Godschalk in 2002. The tests also revealed that the same perpetrator had committed both assaults. Godschalk was awarded $1.6 million by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and $740,000 by Montgomery County for 16 years of wrongful imprisonment.  (NY Times) (IP)  [5/05]

San Francisco County, CA

Goff & Tennison

Aug 19, 1989

Antoine Goff and John Tennison were convicted of the shotgun murder of Roderick Shannon that occurred during a gang war. Two young girls named Goff, 20, and Tennison, 17, as the killers. The girls' stories contradicted each other, the physical evidence, and other people who had seen the crime, but that did not deter investigators Napoleon Hendrix and future police chief Earl Sanders. When one of the girls recanted, saying she did not witness any murder, Hendrix and Sanders pressured her to go back to her original version of events, the girl later said in a sworn statement.

When another witness came forward to say that Goff and Tennison had not been at the crime scene and named the real killer, the cops did not turn over her name or information to the defense. When the real killer, Lovinsky Ricard, volunteered in a taped confession to other police officers after the trial that he was the shooter, police still did not turn the tape over to the defense for another several months. By then, it was too late. (Legally, defendants have only a fixed amount of time after conviction to introduce new evidence.) In 2003, a DA conceded innocence. Both defendants served 14 years of 25 years to life sentences.  (SF Chronicle)  [7/05]

Allegheny County, PA

Zeke Goldblum

Feb 9, 1976

Charles J. “Zeke” Goldblum was convicted of stabbing to death George Wilhelm on the top deck of a parking garage in downtown Pittsburgh. It was established that Wilhelm drove his car into the Seventh Avenue garage with Clarence Miller in the front passenger seat and Zeke Goldblum in the rear seat behind Wilhelm. The stabbing appeared to be unplanned as it occurred at a relatively public site at 9:15 p.m. on a night when all the downtown stores were open. In addition, the killer did not bring a weapon, but used half a grass shear that had been in Wilhelm's car. Under Pennsylvania law, two persons cannot be legally culpable in the unplanned murder unless both participated in the assault.
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 Polk County, FL

Andrew Golden

Sept 13, 1989

Andrew Golden was convicted and sentenced to death for the drowning murder of his wife, Ardelle. Golden's rented car was found submerged in Lake Hartridge at the end of a boat ramp. The body of his wife was found floating in the lake. Although the medical examiner had concluded that there was no evidence of foul play, the prosecution argued that Golden was in debt and stood to collect on a life insurance policy if his wife were to die. There was no eyewitness testimony, no confession, and no other evidence tending to show that Golden's wife had been murdered by anyone. Golden's lawyer did little to prepare for trial, having assumed that the case would be thrown out before trial. He did not argue that Ardelle may have committed suicide, having been depressed over the recent death of her father. He did not tell the jury about the four death notices of her father that Ardelle had with her in the car. On appeal, the Florida Supreme Court reversed the conviction, holding that there was simply no evidence on which to base the conviction. Golden was exonerated of all charges and released in 1994.  (FLCC) (DPIC) (Golden v. State)  [12/06]

 Los Angeles County, CA

Thomas Lee Goldstein

Nov 3, 1979 (Long Beach)

Thomas Lee Goldstein, an ex-Marine, was convicted of the shotgun murder of jogger John McGinest. The conviction was based on eyewitness error, false informant testimony, and police influencing eyewitnesses. Police were helped by a heroin-addicted informant with the unlikely name of Edward F. Fink who claimed Goldstein had confessed to him. Fink made the same claim about ten other cellmates. Prosecutors also hid a leniency deal that could have helped discredit Fink. The Ninth Circuit Court overturned Goldstein's conviction in 2004 and ordered Goldstein's immediate release from custody. L.A. County initially defied the order, by recharging Goldstein, but they subsequently dropped charges and released him from custody. Goldstein served 24 years of a 27 years to life sentence.  (L.A. Times)  [12/05]

Lucas County, OH

Elizabeth Golebiewski

May 21, 1983

Elizabeth Golebiewski was convicted of murdering her 19-month-old daughter, Tennille. Tennille was found wedged between her bed and a closet door. The case against Golebiewski was largely circumstantial and hinged on testimony from a prison informant who had a long rap sheet.  (Toledo Blade)

Portage County, OH

Gondor & Resh

Aug 14, 1988

Bob Gondor and Randy Resh were convicted of murdering Connie Nardi, 31. Nardi had left the Upper Deck pub in Mantua with Troy Busta for a ride on his motorcycle. Three hours later Busta returned to the pub alone. They next day Nardi's dead body was found in a pond. She had been strangled. At about the same time that Nardi and Busta left the pub, Gondor entered the pub and joined his friend Resh. The two friends knew Busta from the pub, but did not consider him much more than an acquaintance. The two left the pub to visit the nearby Village Tavern, but returned after an hour.

Authorities used Gondor and Resh's absence from the pub to assert that they rendezvoused with Busta. The three then allegedly attempted to rape Nardi, but killed her when she resisted. Busta agreed to testify against Gondor and Resh and his testimony led to their convictions. In 2002, a judge overturned the convictions because defense attorneys failed to locate exculpatory evidence in the prosecutor's master file. However, few believed the defense attorneys were that incompetent and instead believed the prosecution played hide and seek with the evidence.

The missed evidence revealed authorities coerced testimony, blurred timelines, and concealed forensic data. Among this evidence is a taped interview with Busta in which he admits a willingness to say anything to avoid going to the electric chair. The prosecutor, David Norris, left office in 1994 for cocaine possession, but his successor fought the judge's ruling. In Dec. 2006, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the 2002 ruling and ordered new trials for Gondor and Resh. Resh was acquitted on retrial in April 2007. Gondor was scheduled for retrial, but nine days after Resh's acquittal, charges against him were dropped.  (Cleveland Scene)  [6/07]

Kings County, NY

Hector Gonzalez

Dec 2, 1995

Hector Luis Gonzalez was charged with murdering Lemuel Cruz who was killed in a fight outside the Con Sabor Latino nightclub. A witness placed him at the scene of the fight. Gonzalez also had six bloodstains on his pants, five of which had markers consistent with the victim, but also with more than half the New York City population. On this basis he was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years to life in prison.

A subsequent federal investigation into the Latin Kings street gang produced testimony that Gonzalez was not involved in the murder. DNA tests were performed to corroborate the testimony and the results showed that the bloodstains did not come from the murder victim but from two men wounded in the fight. Gonzalez had been tending their wounds when their blood was transferred to his pants. Gonzalez was released in 2002.  (IP)

Kathy Gonzalez - See Nebraska Six

 Dallas County, TX

Donald Wayne Good

June 9, 1983 (Irving)

Donald Wayne Good was convicted of rape after being identified by the victim and her daughter. Serological testing of the crime evidence matched Good, although it also matched a significant percentage of the white male population. Good was paroled in 1993. On parole, he was forced to live under strict sex-offender restrictions. A neighbor posted fliers around his home warning residents that he was a rapist. Good maintained his innocence, but was constantly pressured to admit his guilt during required role-playing therapy sessions. A parole officer wrote that he would never make progress until he admitted his guilt. After being jailed for violating his parole in 2002, Good applied for DNA testing, which exonerated him in 2004.  (IP)  [10/05]

Beaver County, UT 

Bruce Dallas Goodman

Nov 1984

Bruce Dallas Goodman was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Sherry Ann Fales Williams. Williams, 21, was found sodomized, beaten to death and bound near an I-15 exit north of Beaver. At his trial in 1984, two separate witnesses testified for Goodman, saying he was with them in California the night the murder happened. DNA tests later exonerated Goodman of the crime. Goodman was released in Nov. 2004 after he served 19 years of imprisonment.  (IP)  [5/08]

Faulkner County, AR

Marvin Earl Goodsell


“Marvin Earl Goodsell was wrongly convicted of four counts of sexually assaulting two girls [his stepdaughters, ages 14 and 17]. Goodsell supposedly confessed, but at his trial he denied committing the crimes and the girls denied anything inappropriate occurred between them and Goodsell. Arkansas' law requires independent corroboration that a crime occurred apart from an out of court ‘confession.’ The judge refused to direct a verdict of acquittal after the state rested its case. On December 17, 2008 the Arkansas Court of Appeals unanimously vacated Goodsell's convictions and ordered his release on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence that a crime had occurred.” – FJDB  (Goodsell v. State) (Log Cabin Democrat)

Seminole County, OK 

Paul Goodwin

July 4, 1936

Paul Goodwin was convicted of the murder of Officer Christopher C. Whitson of the Seminole Police Department. Another man, Horace Lindsay, gave a statement in which he confessed to shooting Whitson. Lindsay also led police to the location where he had hidden Whitson's gun. Some time later Lindsay gave a second statement in which he implicated Goodwin as the shooter, but he refused to testify against Goodwin at his trial. At Goodwin's trial, Lindsay's second statement was read into evidence before the jury by the Chief of Police of Seminole County. Goodwin was permitted no opportunity to cross-examine Lindsay, nor was he permitted to introduce Lindsay's earlier statement which contradicted the presented statement. Although paroled in 1961, Goodwin was reincarcerated in 1962 on a parole violation. In 1969 Goodwin was released from prison after the 10th Circuit Federal Court ruled that he was denied due process.  (Appeals) (Seminole PD) (ISI)  [10/09]

Providence County, RI 

John Gordon

Dec 31, 1843 (Cranston)

John Gordon, an Irish immigrant, was hanged on Feb. 14, 1845 for the murder of Amasa Sprague, a Cranston textile factory owner and the brother of a U.S. Senator and a future Rhode Island Governor. Gordon's innocence is reportedly detailed in a 1993 book, Brotherly Love by Charles and Tess Hoffman.  (Info)  [7/05]

 Dallas County, TX

Andrew Gossett

Feb 23, 1999

Andrew Gossett was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 50 years imprisonment. The victim identified him as her assailant. She said he had a map of Texas ring on his finger, but a search of his residence turned up no such ring. A videotape recovered from a convenience store showed Gossett shortly after the attack, wearing clothing that was inconsistent with the victim's description. Gossett was released in 2007, after DNA test results proved his innocence.  (IP)  [2/07]