Victims of the State


William Habron

Aug 1, 1876

William Habron was convicted of the murder of Constable Cock, a local lawman. Habron was a patron of the Royal Oak, a pub near Manchester that was on the constable's beat. Habron was frequently getting into fights with other patrons, which Cock had to break up. After one fight Cock threatened to arrest Habron the next time he got into a fight. Habron replied, “It'll be a sorry day for you, the day you arrest me.” The next time Cock passed the pub and heard sounds of a fight, he entered without waiting to be called and saw Habron and another patron in the midst of a fight. Cock arrested Habron. However, Habron had actually been on his best behavior. The other patron had interpreted Habron's behavior as a sign of weakness and, inspired by liquor, decided that it was a good time to pick a fight.
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Larry Hacker - See Marietta Seven

Jefferson County, PA

Ernest Haines

Mar 22, 1916

In 1916, Ernest Haines, 18, was convicted with Henry Ward Mottern, 17, of the murder of Haines' father, William Haines. Both boys were sentenced to die in the electric chair. In 1918, Ernest Haines was retried, acquitted, and released from imprisonment.  (ISI)  [7/05]

 Los Angeles County, CA

Gordon Robert Hall

Feb 25, 1978 (Duarte)

Gordon Robert Hall was convicted of murdering Jesse Manuel Ortiz, 27. The victim died after a gunman in a passing car fired several shots at him and his two half-brothers. A few blocks away from the incident, police found what they thought was the gunman's car. After they surrounded the area, which was the locus of a party, they found Hall hiding in some bushes. Hall, 16, said he was at the party all night and that he hid because his attendance at the party violated his probation for involvement in a graffiti painting incident. The victim's half-brothers, Victor and Daniel Lara, identified Hall as the killer.

Following Hall's conviction, the victim's brothers recanted their testimony. Instead they claimed a man named Oscar Sanchez was the killer. Hall's defense also discovered a new eyewitness who identified Sanchez and another man, Alfred Reyes, as the killers. Reyes admitted being at the party but denied any involvement in the crime. Instead he implicated Sanchez as the driver of the passing car. Other witnesses also implicated Sanchez and/or Reyes, but none implicated Hall. Additional witnesses confirmed Hall's alibi.

In Dec. 1981, an appeals court overturned Hall's conviction. Two months later, charges against Hall were dropped and he was released.  (In re Hall) (ISI) (MOJ)  [7/09]

Los Angeles County, CA

Harold Coleman Hall

June 27, 1985

Harold Coleman Hall was convicted of the murder of Nola Duncan and her brother, David Rainey. Hall confessed to police during a 17-hour interrogation, but soon recanted. Many of the facts of the murder contradicted his confession. A fellow inmate, Cornelius Lee, got Hall to answer questions about his case in his own handwriting. This two-page document incriminated Hall at trial, but after Hall was sentenced to life without parole, Lee admitted it was a forgery. Lee had erased his original innocuous questions and substituted incriminating ones above Hall's answers.

 Hall's conviction for the Rainey murder was vacated in 1994 for lack of evidence. The police officer whom Hall claimed coerced his confession was caught using police computers to spy on celebrities and other civilians for an L.A. private detective. The conviction for the Duncan murder was vacated in 2003. Hall served 19 years of a life without parole sentence.  (JD#1) (JD#2)

Johnson County, IA 

James Hall

Mar 13, 1973 (Iowa City)

James W. Hall was convicted of the strangulation murder of Sarah Ann Ottens in a coeducational dormitory at the University of Iowa. Ottens, 21, was a UI nursing student who hailed from Morrison, IL while Hall, 20, was a former UI football player who hailed from Toledo, OH. The murder occurred during spring break. Hall's conviction was overturned in late 1983 due to the withholding of evidence by the prosecution. Charges against Hall were subsequently dropped. Years later Hall was convicted of the Mar. 20, 1992 strangulation murder of 31-year-old Susan Hajek. This murder occurred in Cedar Rapids, IA.  (Archives)  [12/08]

Cass County, MO 

Jennifer Hall

Jan 24, 2001

Jennifer Hall was convicted of arson after fire investigators failed to notice an obvious electrical short. At sentencing her attorney pressured her to take responsibility for the fire, as the court would look more favorably on her. Although Hall had never smoked, she related a story of starting the fire accidentally by dropping a cigarette. Hall's second attorney hired an expert who found the obvious short. A judge overturned Hall's conviction in 2004, a week after she was paroled. Despite having served her time, the prosecutor retried her in 2005. Hall's family felt this was done out of spite. The retrial jury found her “not guilty.”  (JD)  [2/07]

Linberg Hall - See Lipton Three

James Halligan - See Daley & Halligan

William A. Hallowell - See Antoniewicz & Others

Union County, NJ 

Byron Halsey

Nov 14, 1985 (Plainfield)

Byron Halsey was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Tyrone and Tina Urquhart. Halsey had confessed to the crime after 30 hours of interrogation. The victims were the children of his girlfriend, with whom Halsey lived in a Plainfield rooming house. Tyrone, 8, had evidence of being sexually assaulted and had four nails driven into his head with a brick. Tina, 7, had been raped and strangled. Halsey's conviction was overturned in 2007 after an advanced DNA test showed that a neighbor, Cliff Hall, may have been responsible for the crimes.  The neighbor, now in prison for three unrelated sex crimes, had testified against Halsey at his trial. Halsey's lawyers said they are confident the charges will be dropped. The victims' mother, Margaret Urquhart, said she knew Halsey loved her children and always doubted that he committed the crime.  (AP News)  [6/07]

Berkshire County, MA 

Robert Halsey

1993 (Lanesborough)

Robert Halsey, a school bus driver, was convicted of sexual assaulting children because of the testimony of the children. After extensive interrogation by counselors, the children said Halsey detoured their school bus on the way to school to a nearby lake and engaged in wild and bizarre activities with them that included things that could not possibly be true or showed an ignorance of human anatomy. Such detours allegedly occurred numerous times over the course of two years. No record exists of Halsey ever being late on his bus schedule. When testifying, the children did not seem frightened or upset, only well rehearsed. Sometimes they seemed to forget what was apparently rehearsed and ended up speaking about alleged events in a nonsensical context.  (CrimeMagazine)  [1/07]

Dennis Halstead - See Long Island Three

 Huerfano County, CO

Loren Hamby

June 22, 1937 (Walsenburg)

Loren Hamby was convicted of the murder of George T. Carnes. Carnes was killed during a holdup at his filling station located at the corner of First and Walsen in Walsenburg. Hamby claimed he was listening to a broadcast of the Louis-Braddock heavyweight fight at the time of the holdup. Following conviction, Hamby began a life sentence in 1939. Some time later, Professor Leonarde Keeler was brought in from Chicago with his invention, the modern-day lie detector. He found Hamby was telling the truth. The chief prosecution witness then repudiated his testimony. In April 1946, Governor John Vivian pardoned Hamby and he was released. In 1947 the Colorado Legislature awarded Hamby $10,000 for his wrongful imprisonment.  (Evening Independent) (Carnes Obituary)  [11/08]

Racine County, WI 

George Hamilton

Dec 15, 1917 (Racine)

George E. Hamilton, alias Eli J. Long, was convicted in 1918 of the murder of Edward B. Warner. Warner was shot during a robbery of the Standard Oil Station that he managed on the corner of Seventh and Main Sts. in Racine, WI. A 14-year-old boy named Mervil Peil, who was on the sidewalk of the street opposite the oil station, saw the apparent murderer as he ran from the oil station to the sidewalk in front of the station, then north until he disappeared. The boy picked out Hamilton as “the man who resembled him most” from about a half dozen other men at the police station that evening. The identification was not positive, the boy asserting that “his (Hamilton's) height was about the same, and his dress, and the build of the man.” Peil repeated his statements at trial, as did police officers Yanne and Harms, whose hearsay accounts presumably served to corroborate Peil's testimony in the eyes of the jury.
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Richmond County, NC 

Jerry Lee Hamilton

Dec 18, 1994

Jerry Lee Hamilton was sentenced to death for the murder of Joy Jones Goebel. Soon after the murder, Hamilton's nephew, Johnnie Ray Knight, confessed to murdering Goebel and led police to the location of her body in a wooded area. Knight later fingered Hamilton and said Hamilton had killed Goebel with Knight's knife after both he and Hamilton had sex with her. Post-conviction DNA tests showed that the semen in Goebel belonged only to Knight. At trial Knight testified that he was receiving no deals for his testimony, but a letter hidden by the prosecution later surfaced in which Knight wrote to a Sheriff's Dept. captain and invited him to “come talk to me and maybe we can work out a deal.” Because of the letter, Hamilton's conviction was overturned in 2003 and he faces a possible retrial.  (Raleigh News-Observer)  [12/05]

 Kern County, CA

Thaddeus Hamilton

July 1985

Thaddeus Dale Hamilton was convicted of two robberies committed on July 18 and July 21, 1985. During the robberies female victims were sexually assaulted. For these crimes Hamilton was sentenced to life imprisonment plus 62 years. Hamilton's case is alleged to be one of mistaken identity. Even the trial judge noted that his decision would have been different that the jury's.  (IIPPI)

Beaver County, UT 

Tony Hamilton

Sept 9, 1999

Tony Alexander Hamilton was convicted of the attempted murder of Sheriff's Deputy John Chambers. Hamilton was a member of a religious commune that had purchased 640 acres of land at Vance Springs, located west of Milford, UT. The commune believed that as a religious organization it possessed tax-exempt status and consequently did not pay taxes. After 5 years of non-payment the property was seized by the taxing authorities.
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San Francisco County, CA

Franklin Hamlin

Jan 28, 1953

Franklin Hamlin was convicted of robbing a San Francisco jewelry store. Hamlin was identified as the robber by the store owner and by two other witnesses. Later a man named Harry Kistler admitted committing the robbery and satisfied police that he was telling the truth. The store owner wondered how he could have mistaken Hamlin for Kister. Hamlin was awarded $5,000 by the state legislature for 10 months of wrongful imprisonment.  (The Innocents) (News Article)  [7/05]

 Hartford County, CT

Ricky Hammond

Nov 30, 1987

Ricky Hammond was convicted in 1990 of kidnapping and sexual assault. The victim identified him as her assailant and she even identified his car and its contents, using apparently police supplied information. A police lab analyst inferred that hair samples of the assailant matched Hammond. Hammond had an uncorroborated alibi and had altered several details of his alibi. Pre-trial blood and DNA tests exonerated Hammond, but at trial, prosecutor John Malone claimed the evidence had been contaminated, a claim an appellate court deemed highly improbable. The state had other evidence at trial that could have been – but was not – tested. After further DNA tests were performed, Hammond was retried and acquitted in 1992.  (CBJ) (FJDB) (IPT) (DH)  [7/05]

St. Charles Parish, LA 

Mary Kay Hampton

Dec 31, 1959

Mary Kathryn Hampton was convicted of the murders of Benjamin Yount and Hermine Fielder. Hampton was 16 in 1958 when she met a much older Emmitt Monroe Spencer in Kentucky. Spencer did not tell her that he had just finished serving a 12-year prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter. Hampton became Spencer's sweetheart and traveling companion, and eventually the mother of his son. On April 14, 1960, Spencer, Hampton, and hitchhiker were stopped by a Florida highway patrol officer. The officer became suspicious of Spencer and ordered the three out of the car. After the three were out, Spencer went back to the car, grabbed a gun, and shot and wounded the officer. He then took off in the car, but after a chase, he was apprehended 30 miles away.
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Hennepin County, MN 

Leonard Hankins

Dec 16, 1932 (Minneapolis)

Leonard Hankins was convicted in 1933 of participating in the murders of three people in the course of a bank robbery. The robbery occurred at the Third Northwestern Bank in Minneapolis. Two police officers, Ira L. Evans and Leo Gorski, were killed when they responded to the robbery. A passerby was also killed. Following the robbery, Hankins walked into a rooming house where one of the robbers had been seized. Several witnesses said Hankins resembled the lookout man, although one witness denied Hankins was the lookout man. Hankins claimed he was getting a haircut at the time of the robbery. A barber corroborated that claim.

The FBI later captured one the bank robbers, Jess Doyle, who said Hankins had nothing to do with the robbery. Other members of the gang also said Hankins had nothing to do with the robbery. In 1935, the FBI advised the Minneapolis police of Hankins' innocence, but the local authorities refused to release him because the FBI would not give them its file on Doyle.  Hankins spent another 15 years in prison before being pardoned in 1951. In 1954, the state legislature awarded Hankins $300/month for life for his wrongful imprisonment.  [11/07]

 Cook County, IL

Kenneth Hansen

Oct 17, 1955

Kenneth Hansen was charged in 1994 with the famous unsolved murders of three 11 to 13 year old boys that occurred in 1955. The victims were John and Tony Schuessler and their friend Robert Peterson. They had traveled downtown to attend a matinee at a Loop theater and were found dead two days later in Robinson's Woods, outside of Chicago.

Hansen was on his honeymoon in Texas at the time of the murders, but he found his 40-year-old alibi impossible to confirm. Four witnesses claimed he confessed to them separately and alone in 1955, 1964, 1968, and 1976. There was no other evidence. Three witnesses were paid informants. Hansen was convicted and sentenced to 200 to 300 years of imprisonment.

After the trial, the fourth witness admitted his testimony was fabricated. None of the witnesses mentioned the confessions to anyone before 1993. In addition, after the trial, a woman came forward and claimed her dead husband, Silas Jayne, confessed to her to performing the murders in 1956. She left her husband the next day. Other witnesses and some physical evidence corroborated her story. Despite there being no evidence that the boys were molested, the trial judge allowed evidence of Hansen's homosexuality and deviate lifestyle to be presented. The 2002 retrial with new evidence and the widow witness also resulted in conviction. Hansen died in prison in 2007.  (TruthInJustice)

Kent County, MI 

Lisa Hansen

Sept 3, 2005 (Grand Rapids)

Lisa Hansen was fined $400 and sentenced to 40 hours of community service for stealing a bank deposit bag that she was supposed to deposit in a night depository. The deposit bag contained mostly checks and only $80 in cash. A bank security investigator told police that the bank's 15 surveillance cameras showed no one had stopped at the night depository during the time Hansen said she was there. Hansen also failed a lie detector test administered by the Michigan State Police. Nearly a year later, on Aug. 9, 2006, a bank worker found Hansen's deposit bag lodged and hidden within the bank's depository.  (Detroit Free Press)  [3/07]