Victims of the State

 Suffolk County, MA

Arthur O'Connell

Convicted 1935 (Boston)

Arthur O'Connell was convicted of a sexual attack on a 13-year-old girl. The conviction was based on the testimony of the victim and her 13-year-old companion. A month after the conviction the companion confessed that they had perjured themselves “just for fun.” O'Connell had merely stopped to talk to the girls for a moment. O'Connell was released after a month's imprisonment.  (CIPM) (Not Guilty)  [10/05]

Richmond County, NY

James O'Donnell

May 1997

James O'Donnell was sentenced to 3 1/2 to 7 in prison years for attempted sodomy and assault. DNA tests exonerated him of the crime after he served 2 years in prison.  (IP)  [5/05]

Rev. Nathaniel O'Grady - See Bronx Five

Berkshire County, MA 

Michael O'Laughlin

Nov 17, 2000 (Lee)

Michael M. O'Laughlin was convicted of the assault and attempted murder of Annmarie Kotowski, a woman who lived in his apartment building. The victim was severely beaten to the extent that, except for her jaw, all the bones in her face were broken. In addition one of her ears was almost completely severed. At trial the state presented “evidence of motive, means, opportunity, and consciousness of guilt” on the part of O'Laughlin. However, such evidence only indicated that O'Laughlin could have committed the crime. It contained no necessary inferences that he did commit the crime.
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Franklin County, MA 

John O'Neil

Jan 8, 1897

John “Yank” O'Neil was convicted of the rape and murder of Harriet “Hattie” McCloud. He was hanged on Jan. 7, 1898. A few months after O'Neil's hanging, a dying soldier who was fighting the Spaniards in Cuba confessed to the crime to ace newspaper reporter, Eddie Collins. The soldier originated from the area of the murder and died before his oral confession could be backed up by a written one.  (CIPM) (Trial of John O'Neil)  [11/05]

Christopher Ochoa - See Danziger & Ochoa

 Orange County, CA

James Ochoa

May 22, 2005

James Ochoa was accused of a robbing two victims of $600 and stealing their Volkswagen Jetta after a bloodhound followed a scent from a swab of the perpetrator's baseball cap to his front door. The victims also identified Ochoa. Ochoa had five family members to confirm his alibi. Nevertheless, against his attorney's advice, he pleaded guilty to the crime in exchange for a two-year sentence after Judge Robert Fitzgerald threatened him with a life sentence if a jury found him guilty. DNA tests exonerated him and implicated an unknown male. Ochoa was released after a DNA match was found in Oct 2006 to a man entering the Los Angeles County Jail on an unrelated carjacking charge. After Ochoa applied for compensation for his wrongful conviction under California law, the state attorney general opposed Ochoa's claim, by stating that Ochoa contributed to the wrongful conviction by voluntarily pleading guilty.  (IP) (L.A. Times)

Philadelphia County, PA

Walter Ogrod

July 12, 1988

Walter Ogrod was sentenced to death for the 1988 murder of four-year-old Barbara Jean Horn. The murder occurred near her house at 7245 Rutland Street, close to Cottman Avenue. Four witnesses had seen a man carrying a TV box in which Horn's body was found. One of the witnesses, David Schectman, told police he'd interacted with the box carrying man for 11 minutes on St. Vincent St. Read More by Clicking Here

Clinton Oliver - See Jacobs Field Three

Calvin & Larry Ollins - See Roscetti Four

Winnebago County, IL 

Henry Olson

Sept 6, 1927 (Rockford)

Henry Olson was convicted of the murder of gas station attendant Floyd Stotler. The murder occurred during an attempted robbery of the Hart Oil Station at the corner of Broadway and Kishwaukee Streets in Rockford, Illinois. Floyd's father, Orville, was the only eyewitness. Despite the fact that the two perpetrators wore masks, Orville positively identified Olson as the bandit who shot his son. This identification was the only evidence connecting Olson to the murder.

At trial, Olson presented twelve alibi witnesses. While most of these were family members and not every witness claimed to have seen Olson at the exact time of the crime, still the alibi was quite credible. Nevertheless, six of twelve jurors favored convicting Olson, resulting in a mistrial. On retrial, with much the same evidence, Olson was convicted.

Despite the verdict, the judge, evidencing his doubt of Olson's guilt, allowed him to remain free on $10,000 bond, pending appeal. Soon afterwards, Olson and his wife disappeared from the community. They had driven to Chicago and telegraphed family members to come for their car. A nationwide search for the pair proved unsuccessful. According to many, Olson's flight was considered an admission of guilt, and there were rumors that Olson's wife was the second bandit in the gas station holdup.

Meanwhile, Olson's attorney continued his efforts to clear his client. He got a lead from a physician, who reported that a family maidservant had stated that Olson was not guilty.  When police questioned her, she denied making the statement. Later, after she was taken in for further questioning, she admitted making the statement and said her boyfriend, Maurice Mahan, had boasted to her that he and his chum, George Bliss, had held up the gas station, and that Bliss had done the shooting. When Mahan and Bliss were picked up, they were questioned separately and each eventually confessed, giving identical details. They both pleaded guilty to the crime.

Efforts were made to locate Olson and his wife through press and radio to give them the good news, with a message to return home. After some weeks Olson, then in New Orleans, saw a notice in a newspaper. After contacting his attorney to confirm the news was true, Olson and his wife returned to Rockford. Olson faced a third trial, but was acquitted in Mar. 1928.  (CTI)  [11/07]

 Cook County, IL

Leroy Orange

Jan 11, 1984

Leroy Orange was sentenced to death for the murder of Renee Coleman, 27, Michelle Jointer, 30, Ricardo Pedro, 25, and Coleman's 10-year-old son, Tony. Orange confessed to the crimes after being subjected to beatings, suffocation, and electroshock by Lt. John Burge and other officers at the Chicago Area Two police station. Orange subsequently told everyone he came in contact with that he had been tortured: his cellmate, a physician, relatives and friends who visited him, his public defender, and the arraignment judge. Orange's half brother, Leonard Kidd, implicated Orange in the murders while being tortured at Area 2. However, Kidd testified for Orange against his attorney's advice admitting that he alone committed the murders without Orange's participation or knowledge. Governor Ryan pardoned Orange on Jan. 10, 2003.  (CWC)  [8/05]

Luis Ortiz - See Miranda Five

Orange County, NY

Victor Ortiz

Jan 8, 1983

Victor Ortiz was convicted of raping 17-year-old Awilda Aliciea and sentenced to 25 years in prison. DNA tests exonerated him in 1996.  (IP) (Ortiz v. Walker)  [11/05]

Whitley County, KY 

Larry Osborne

Dec 14, 1997

Larry Osborne was convicted of murdering Sam Davenport, 82, and his wife Lillian, 76. He was sentenced to death. The victims were hit over the head and their house was set on fire. They died of smoke inhalation. Osborne, 17, and his friend, Joe Reid, 15, said they heard breaking glass from the Davenport home when they passed it while riding a motorbike on the night of the murders. Osborne phoned his mother, who in turn phoned the police. When the police arrived at the scene, the house was in flames.

After repeated interrogations, police got 15-year-old Reid to state that Osborne committed the murders while he waited outside. In a police videotape of Reid's statements, Reid is seen asking “Is this going to get me out of all this stuff?” Reid also stated that after Osborne set fire to the house, he left it through the back door. However the back door had a dead bolt lock, with a double key. It is not believed that anyone one went through it that night.

Before Reid could testify at Osborne's trial, he drowned while swimming in Jellico, Tennessee. His death was ruled accidental. At Osborne's trial, the prosecutor read Reid's statement. The defense objected, but the judge overruled the objection. On appeal, the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned Osborne's conviction. Reid's testimony was ruled inadmissible because a dead witness cannot be cross-examined. Osborne was acquitted at retrial after spending three years on death row.  (Louisville CJ) (TWM) (JD)

Los Angeles County, CA

Javier Ovando

Oct 12, 1996

Javier Ovando as convicted of attempted murder of a Los Angeles policeman. A policeman shot Ovando when he was unarmed and then framed him by planting a gun near him. The LAPD officers who turned informant admitted that it was routine for them to plant evidence on Latinos and then intimidate them into falsely pleading guilty. Ovando was cleared in 1999 after an investigation of LAPD Ramparts unit.  (JD) (Rampart Scandal)

Alameda County, CA

Aaron Owens

May 1972

Aaron Lee Owens was convicted of the murders of Marie Collins and Stanley Bryant. He was eventually exonerated with the help of the prosecutor from his first trial, John Taylor. Taylor realized that the key eyewitness had misidentified Owens when Owens' co-defendant, Glenn Bailey, admitted eight years after Owens' conviction that he and another man had committed the murders. Owens was freed in March 1981.  (Murder: An Analysis of its Forms)