Victims of the State

 Kern County, CA

Jeffrey Modahl

Convicted 1986

Jeffrey Modahl was convicted of sexually abusing his 9-year-old daughter. Modahl's daughter, Carla Jo, now alleges that two Kern County sheriff's detectives tricked and forced her into testifying that her father, grandfather, grandmother, aunt, and others molested her. Carla Jo said two cousins molested her, but from there the investigation mushroomed to wrongly include other family members. She told a reporter, “They took me to lunch every day, they let me play with the computer and promised to take me to Magic Mountain when I was done testifying. They called me their star witness.” The conviction was eventually vacated, and the DA declined to retry. Modahl served 15 years of a 48-year sentence.  (JD#1) (JD#2) (Website) (Rolling Stone)  [6/05]


Malik Taj Mohammad


Malik Taj Mohammad was convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Malkani Bibi. Prosecutors claimed that he killed her over an acrimonious property dispute. Mohammad claimed that he could not have murdered Bibi, as she was still alive. However, he did not present any proof and the trial court relied on testimony of Bibi's relatives who said they had buried Bibi. In 2006, Mohammad's supporters discovered that Bibi was alive and imprisoned in the eastern Pakistan city of Gujarat. She had been imprisoned there on a theft conviction in 2004.

Mohammed petitioned Pakistan's Supreme Court for a new trial based on the new evidence. The Court then summoned Bibi to appear before it. Satisfied that Mohammed had been wrongly convicted, the Court ordered his immediate release. It also ordered a lower court to investigate how Mohammed had been prosecuted and convicted of a crime that never happened.  (JD)  [2/07]

Jeffrey Moldowan - See Cristini & Moldowan

Powhatan County, VA

Beverly Monroe

Mar 4, 1992

Beverly Anne Monroe was convicted of the murder of Roger Zygmunt Comte de la Burdé, her wealthy lover. De la Burdé, 60, died at Windsor on his 220-acre estate. His body was found on a couch in his library with a bullet in his head from his own revolver. Monroe had been his companion for 12 years. In 2002, a federal judge overturned Monroe's conviction due to the withholding of exculpatory evidence by the prosecution. The judge also ruled that “The physical evidence necessary to show whether [de la Burdé's] death was a murder or a suicide was . . . either tainted or lost.” Monroe was subsequently released from prison.  (TruthInJustice)  [5/08]

Ruben Montalvo - See Morales & Montalvo

Lake County, IL 

James Montgomery

Nov 15, 1923 (Waukegan)

James Montgomery, a 26-year-old black man, was convicted in 1924 of raping Mamie Snow, a 62-year-old mentally deranged white woman. The prosecutor, A. V. Smith, who was a member of the Klu Klux Klan, had Snow identify Montgomery at a police station. At Montgomery's 20-minute trial, the prosecutor concealed the fact that Snow could not recognize Montgomery the day after she had identified him. The prosecutor also suppressed a medical report that showed that Miss Snow was still a virgin. In 1949, following an investigation, a writ of habeas corpus was filed. A federal judge then declared that Montgomery's innocence was clear, as was the prosecutor's guilt in manipulating the woman into giving false testimony about a rape that never occurred.  (Not Guilty) (The Innocents) (NY Times)  [11/07]

El Paso County, TX

Brandon Moon

Apr 27, 1987

Brandon Moon was convicted of three counts of sexual assault in part because he was identified by the victim. DNA tests later exonerated Moon and revealed that the forensic evidence presented at his trial was false. Moon served 16 years of a 75-year sentence.  (IP) (JP)  [6/05]

Thomas J. Mooney - See Billings & Mooney

Bossier Parish, LA 

Alvin Moore

July 9, 1980 (Bossier City)

Alvin R. Moore Jr. was sentenced to death for the murder of JoAnn Wilson, 23, the wife of a former co-worker. Wilson called police and said, “Somebody stabbed me.” After police officer Bill Fields arrived on the scene, he asked her who stabbed her and she reportedly told him, “Elvin did it.” Fields later thought the victim meant “Alvin.” Moore, who is black, was having an affair with Wilson, who was white. Moore was arrested with a drop of blood on his pants. Tests showed the blood was Type O, the same as Wilson's, but shared by about 45% of the population. Moore had a different blood type. A stereo and a plastic jug containing pennies from Wilson's home were found in Moore's car.
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Atlantic County, NJ 

Clarence Moore

Jan 14, 1986 (Somers Point)

Clarence Moore, a black man, was convicted of raping a white woman. The woman identified Moore after her memory of the incident was refreshed using hypnosis. Hypnotically refreshed testimony is barred in many states, but was not in New Jersey. Moore was freed after serving 15 years of a life sentence for rape. An appeals court found that he was convicted largely because the victim gave racially prejudiced testimony. In summation at trial, the prosecutor stated that because Moore's wife and the victim were white, Moore had a predilection for white women. The federal appeals court labeled those remarks “outrageous” and “offensive.”  (CM)  [7/05]

Morgan County, AL

Daniel Wade Moore

Mar 12, 1999 (Decatur)

Daniel Wade Moore was convicted in 2002 and sentenced to death for the murder of Karen Tipton. In 2003, Moore's conviction was overturned due to the prosecution's withholding of exculpatory evidence. In 2005, the prosecution's conduct was found to be so egregious that a retrial was barred under Double Jeopardy laws. On hearing of this ruling, a juror declared, “I'm happy with it. I felt that Daniel didn't do it.” Moore was released, but was reimprisoned four days later by the court hearing the state's appeal. In 2006, the appeals court reversed the trial court's ruling and gave Moore the right to a retrial, but not a dismissal of charges. In Feb. 2008, Moore was retried, but a mistrial was declared after jurors were unable to agree on a verdict after 6 days of deliberation. In May 2009, Moore was acquitted at his third trial.  (JD) (WHNT 19)  [12/06]

Laurie & Walter “Terry” Moore - See Tobias Five

Bronx County, NY

Morales & Montalvo

Sept 28, 1987

Jose Morales and Ruben Montalvo were convicted of murdering Jose Antonio Rivera. Rivera was chased through Kelly Park in the Bronx by a group of teenagers he had been feuding with. He was stabbed and hit with a baseball bat and sticks. One of the real killers, Jesus Fornes, confessed responsibility for the killing to a priest. The apparently guilt-stricken Fornes admitted to him and later to others that he had been part of the group that had killed Rivera, but he insisted that Morales and Montalvo were innocent. The priest advised he to speak to the court. Fornes spoke to a defense attorney on the defendants' day of sentencing. The sentencing was postponed. In the meantime, Fornes found a lawyer of his own, who advised him not to talk.

After Fornes died in 1997, both the priest and the lawyer independently came forward, as Fornes' death relieved them of any professional responsibility to keep Fornes' statements confidential. Both Morales and Montalvo were released in 2001 after this new evidence exonerated them.  (NY Times)

Clackamas County, OR

Santiago Ventura Morales

July 13, 1986

Santiago Ventura Morales was convicted of murdering Ramiro Lopez Fidel, a fellow farm worker. Fidel had been stabbed twice in the chest and left to die in a strawberry field near Sandy. The conviction was due to the prosecution's use of fabricated evidence, including the use of a fake murder weapon. Only one witness, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, testified that Morales was the killer. The witness, Epifanio Bautista Lopez, initially testified that he saw nothing, but changed his testimony after he was taken into the district attorney's office during a recess. Under cross-examination, Lopez said that he was afraid of what might happen to him if he did not testify the way the prosecutor wanted him to testify.

Several days after the trial, four jurors, Patricia Lee, Glorya Oppitz, David Ralls, and Sherien Jaeger, told the defense co-counsel, Lane Borg, that they had changed their minds about their jury votes and asked if they could do anything about it. They were told that a verdict cannot be thrown out simply because jurors change their minds. Three of these jurors formed a support group for Morales. They visited him in jail, sent him money, and wrote letters to the parole board asking for his release.

Morales's defense was hampered because Morales, a Mexican immigrant, did not speak English or Spanish, but spoke Mixtec, an indigenous language. The judge assigned him a Spanish interpreter. The interpreter tried to tell the judge that he could not communicate with Morales, but the judge refused to accept the idea that a Mexican defendant could not speak Spanish. Portland Oregonian newspaper columnist Phil Stanford wrote many columns outlining Morales's innocence. The Oregon Attorney General opposed Morales's petition for relief on the grounds that his innocence was not a legal basis to overturn his conviction and release him. Four years after Morales's conviction, his lawyer established that another farm worker, Herminio Luna Hernandez, was the actual killer and Morales was released.  (NY Times)  [5/08]

 Hillsborough County, FL

Michael Mordenti

June 7, 1989 (Odessa)

Michael Mordenti was convicted of murdering 54-year-old, Thelma Royston, because of the word of one witness – his ex-wife. Mordenti was sentenced to death.  (SP Times)  [12/05]

Essex County, NJ 

Raffaelo Morello


Raffaelo E. Morello, a recent immigrant to the U.S., was convicted of murdering his wife in 1918. His wife of a few months had threatened to commit suicide if he left her to answer a draft call for service in the World War, but Morello ignored her and his wife carried out her threat. Morello explained through an interpreter that he was responsible for his wife's death by his insistence on becoming a soldier. However, his remarks were misunderstood to merely mean that he was responsible for killing his wife. In prison after he learned to express himself well in English, he told his story to welfare workers who launched an investigation into his conviction. In 1926 this investigation resulted in him being pardoned of the crime.  (NY Times)  [8/10]

Hidalgo County, TX 

Valentin Moreno

Dec 15, 1995

Valentin Moreno, Jr. was convicted of murder based on the testimony of three witnesses. The physical evidence reportedly shows that the witnesses lied.  (IIPPI)

 Ontario, Canada

Guy Paul Morin

Oct 3, 1984

Guy Paul Morin was tried twice for the killing of nine-year-old Christine Jessop, his next door neighbor. Jessup was abducted from her Queensville home on Oct. 3, 1984. Her lifeless body was found on Dec. 31, 1984 some 33 miles away in the Durham Region. The body's decomposition was consistent with her death occurring near the time of her abduction. Morin was arrested in Feb. 1985, and acquitted at trial in Feb. 1986. The prosecution, however, appealed the acquittal and had it overturned. Morin was again arrested 5 months after his acquittal and convicted at retrial in 1992. At both trials the crown employed jailhouse informants to fill in gaps in its case. DNA tests exonerated Morin in 1995, and he was later awarded $1.4 million in compensation. A book was written about the case entitled Redrum The Innocent by Kirk Makin.  (Champion) (IB)  [12/05]

Oakland County, MI 

Gary Lee Morris

1992 - 93

Gary Lee Morris was convicted of sexually assaulting his 13-year-old granddaughter. Morris had evicted his daughter from a trailer owned by his mother. His daughter had paid the rent for years but fell way behind after she began hanging out with a drug-using boyfriend. Shortly after her eviction, his daughter's daughter brought these charges against Morris. Morris's granddaughter claimed he raped her, but a medical exam showed that her hymen was still intact and that she was a virgin. Morris is serving a 20 to 40 year sentence.  (JD)  [9/05]

 Harris County, TX

Gordon Morris

July 11, 1953 (Houston)

Gordon Morris was sentenced to death for the murder of Ruby Lee Smith, his common law wife. Morris's jury selection, trial, conviction, and sentencing to death all occurred in one day. Morris's brother later found out that Morris was physically incapable of committing the murder and that he was the victim of mistaken ID. When the jury foreman heard of the new evidence, he reinvestigated the case, tracked down the other members of the jury, and got them as a group to urge that Morris be pardoned. Three days before Morris's scheduled execution, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Morris was paroled in 1968, reimprisoned on a parole violation in 1973, and reparoled in 1976.  (RCN)  [7/05]

 Los Angeles County, CA

Oscar Lee Morris

Sept 3, 1978 (Long Beach)

Oscar Lee Morris was convicted in 1984 of murdering William J. Maxwell in a public bathhouse. The conviction was overturned after Morris's prime accuser recanted on his deathbed. Originally sentenced to death, Morris served 16 years of a life sentence.  (People v. Morris)  [6/05]

Philadelphia County, PA

Vincent Moto

Dec 2, 1985

“Walking home from a local mini-mart, just after midnight on December 2, 1985, the victim in this case was approached by two men driving a Chevrolet Caprice. The passenger, later identified by the victim as Vincent Moto, got out of the Caprice, pulled a gun on the victim, and forced her into the car. The two men sped off to another location, where they proceeded to simultaneously sexually assault the victim. Before pushing her out of the car half-naked, the two assailants robbed the victim of her money, glasses, and gold chain.”

“In May of 1986, the victim saw Vincent Moto walking on a Philadelphia street with a woman and a young child. Though five months had passed since the incident, the victim was convinced that Moto was one of her two attackers. In response to her request for help, George Upshur detained Moto until the police arrived. Moto was arrested and charged with multiple felonies. Despite the alibi testimony of Moto’s parents, who testified that their son was at their home on the evening of the criminal incidents, Moto was convicted. The prosecution’s case hinged almost entirely on the strength of the victim’s eyewitness testimony. Moto was sentenced to a term of twelve to twenty-four years. He served nearly nine years of his sentence before being released in July 1996, when PCR based DNA testing on material taken from the victim’s underwear eliminated Moto as the source of the spermatozoa.” – John T. Rago  (IP)

Cameron County, TX 

Susan Mowbray

Sept 16, 1987

Susie Mowbray was convicted of murdering her husband, J. William “Bill” Mowbray, Jr.  After incessantly protesting her innocence, she was granted a retrial in 1996 by a Texas appeals court that ruled prosecutors concealed a crucial report on the blood splatter evidence that supported Mowbray's innocence. When retried in 1998, forensic evidence supported the defense claim that Mowbray's husband committed suicide while she was asleep next to him in bed. Dr. Herbert MacDonnell testified that it was likely Bill Mowbray committed suicide. Mowbray was acquitted.  [10/05]

 Ontario, Canada

Bill Mullins-Johnson

June 27, 1993 (S. S. Marie)

Bill Mullins-Johnson was convicted of sodomizing and strangling his four-year-old niece, Valin Johnson, who was found dead in her bed. His conviction was based on the testimony of Dr. Charles Smith, whose handling of 40 suspicious child deaths since 1991 is currently under review. Two experts, including Ontario's chief pathologist, now say Valin was never sexually abused or strangled. They argue she in fact died of natural causes, possibly from choking on her own vomit caused by a chronic stomach ailment. Mullins-Johnson was freed on bail in Sept. 2005 pending the results of a federal review of his case. In Oct. 2007, the Ontario Court of Appeal acquitted Mullins-Johnson of all charges.  (National Post)  [12/05]

Montgomery County, TX 

Arthur Mumphrey

Feb 28, 1986 (Dobbin)

Arthur Mumphrey was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl. He was convicted because of the testimony of his co-defendant, Steve Thomas, who testified in exchange for a reduced sentence. The victim claimed two men had raped her, but could not identify Mumphrey as one of them. DNA tests later implicated Thomas and an unknown male as the rapists. Mumphrey was released and pardoned in 2006 after 18 years of imprisonment. Because of Texas law, the pardon does not erase his rape conviction. Mumphrey is eligible for about $500,000 in compensation under Texas law.  (IP) (JD)  [12/06]

Fayette County, PA

David Munchinski

Dec 2, 1977 (Bear Rocks)

David Munchinski was convicted in 1986 of the 1977 murders of drug dealers, James Peter Alford and Raymond Gierke. The conviction was based on prosecutorial concealment of exculpatory evidence. The conviction was later reversed and Munchinski was released in 2004.  (II)  [7/05]

Custer County, OK

Adolph Munson

June 28, 1984

Adolph Munson was convicted of murdering Alma Hall, a convenience store clerk. Police testified that one of the victim's earrings and a .22 caliber bullet was found in Munson's motel room. The prosecution claimed a .22 caliber gun was used to murder the victim. In addition, a jailhouse informant claimed that Munson confessed. Defense requests for funds to investigate the evidence were denied. Some eight years later exculpatory facts emerged that had been hidden from the defense. Additionally, it was shown that a .22 caliber gun was not used to kill the victim. Dr. Ralph Erdmann, the pathologist who testified otherwise, was subsequently convicted of seven felony counts involving misrepresentation of facts in other cases.

Several witnesses contradicted the police officer who claimed he had found the victim's earring in Munson's motel room. In addition, evidence proved that the jailhouse informant had lied when he denied that he was testifying in hopes of a deal from the state. A new trial was ordered, with the trial judge stating that he “was saddened that people charged with upholding justice would do such a thing.” The retrial jury acquitted Munson of all charges in April 1995.  (PC)  [7/05]

Wilkes County, NC 

Charles Munsey

May 1993

Charles Munsey was convicted of the murder of Shirley Weaver. Weaver, 66, was killed during a robbery in her boyfriend's trailer near Wilkesboro. She had been bludgeoned with a frying pan and a shotgun. Munsey was convicted because of the testimony of Timothy Bryan Hall, a jailhouse informant. Prior to trial, Munsey and his attorneys had seen Hall's name on a witness list, but had no idea who he was. When Hall took the stand to testify, Munsey turned to his counsel and said, “I've never seen the man before.” Hall testified that he talked to Munsey in late 1993 in the yard at Central Prison. According to Hall, Munsey was wearing an orange jumpsuit and sitting on a picnic table. Munsey told him he surprised Weaver in the house. She slapped him and he crushed her skull with a rifle butt.

Hall said he had no ulterior motive to testify against Munsey. “I found God a few years ago, or a few months ago – and I – it's just the right thing to do. No matter, no matter what happens to me, I still feel like in my heart I've done the right thing.” Munsey's lawyers poked some holes in Hall's testimony; Central Prison had no orange jumpsuits or picnic tables. However, they failed to win over the jury.

In 1997, Munsey's ex-brother-in-law, Oid Michael Hawkins, confessed to the murder. He also said he had taken a pistol from Weaver's home and placed it in Munsey's home. In 1998, a judge ordered Munsey's prosecutor, Randy Lyon, to turn over files he concealed from Munsey. Six days later, after church services, Lyon went home and hanged himself. His files showed that Hall had never been in Central Prison. Despite the exonerating evidence, the new prosecutor, Tom Horner, fought to keep Munsey imprisoned. Munsey won a new trial but died in prison before it could take place.  (News & Observer)  [5/08]

John Murchison - See Guntersville Four

Patrick Murphy - See Luton Three

Sandy Murphy - See Tabish & Murphy

Morgan County, IN 

John Myers

May 31, 2000 (Paragon)

John R. Myers II was convicted of murdering Jill Behrman, an Indiana University student. The conviction was based on speculation, guesswork, and “he said, she said” information. There was no physical evidence presented during the trial that ties Myers to the murder.  (Archives) (Appeal)