Victims of the State

Allegheny County, PA

Jerry Pacek

Nov 16, 1958

Jerry Pacek was convicted of the murder of 53-year-old Lillian Stevick. Pacek, then age 13, found her body in the back yard of 929 Sixth Ave. in Brackenridge during the early morning hours of Nov. 17, 1958. She had been raped and assaulted with 19 blows to the head. She died the following day. The day after Brackenridge's death, police questioned Pacek for 17 hours during which Pacek gave several confessions to the murder, saying he used a different weapon each time. Following his trial, Pacek served 10 years of a 10 to 20 year sentence.

In 1990, Jim Fisher, a former FBI agent, became interested in the case. He called Pacek up one night and said, “You don't know me, but I think I can prove you didn't kill Mrs. Stevick and I'd like to try and get you a pardon.” There was substantial evidence that Pacek could not have committed the crime, including three alibi witnesses. The case was reopened by Allegheny County.

In 1958, up to 1,500 people lined Morgan Street to gawk at Pacek as police forced him to re-enact the murder in a humiliating public spectacle. District Attorney Colville said in a 1991 Inside Edition TV report, “If I tried that in today's court, I'd be thrown out the front door.” In 1991, Governor Casey pardoned Pacek. In 2004, Pacek died of cancer at age 59.  (Fisher Website)  [9/08]

 Hinsdale County, CO

Alferd Packer


Alferd Packer was convicted of murdering five prospectors he had guided into the mountains during the winter of 1873-74 and who had become stranded there with him. Packer contended that one day when he returned to camp after looking for food, one of the prospectors, Shannon Bell, had killed the others and was roasting a piece of meat he had cut out of leg of one of them. Bell then attacked Packer with a hatchet and Packer shot Bell in self-defense. Packer said he tried to find a way out of the mountains every day, but could not, so he lived off the flesh of the dead men. Packer escaped execution on a technicality. Under pressure from a campaign led by a Denver Post columnist, Packer was granted a conditional parole in 1901 after 18 years in prison. Modern forensics and the journal of a Civil War veteran who had seen the bodies appear to confirm Packer's story.  [6/05]

Bell County, TX 

Eugene Padgett

Feb 1931 (Little River)

Eugene Padgett was convicted of the murder of Will Sanderford. Sanderford was beaten to death during a Feb 1931 burglary in Little River, Texas. Padgett confessed to the murder while serving a 20-year sentence for burglary because he thought his trial for murder would necessitate his being held in a small town jail and that he would be able to escape from it. Unfortunately he was held in the relatively secure Travis County Jail in nearby Austin. The courts did not allow Padgett to appeal his murder conviction until he served out the full term of his burglary conviction, which they felt was justified because he planned to escape. Padgett's murder conviction was eventually set aside in July 1955.  (SDC) (The Innocents)  [7/05]

Marshall County, AL

Randall Padgett

Aug 17, 1990

Larry Randall Padgett was sentenced to death for the murder of his estranged wife, Cathy Padgett. Cathy had been stabbed 46 times, after an apparent rape. DNA tests showed that Randall's semen was found in Cathy's body. The defense argued that a neighbor, Judy Bagwell, with whom Randall had been having an affair, killed Cathy, and put Randall's semen inside her. Blood was found at the scene of the crime that did not match Cathy's. The prosecution withheld blood typing tests done on this blood from the defense. Following Randall's conviction, it was determined that the blood did not match Randall's, and thus had to have come from a third person. In 1995, the Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Randall's conviction, ruling that prosecutors didn't give the defense adequate time to review the blood evidence. Randall was acquitted on retrial in 1997.  (PC)  [7/05]

 Pasco County, FL

Richard Paey

1997 (Hudson)

Richard Paey is a pain medication patient who was convicted of drug trafficking. In 1985, Paey was injured in a car crash near Philadelphia on the Schuylkill Expressway. After a failed operation, he was left with metal screws in his spine and unrelenting pain. He was also later diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Doctors could do little for the wheelchair bound Paey other than prescribe painkillers. Over time as Paey developed a tolerance for the painkillers, he had to use higher and higher doses to gain relief. Paey tried to cut back his dependence on painkillers, but to no avail as attempting to cut back simply meant enduring pain.
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Philadelphia County, PA

Jose Pagan

1990 - 1991

Jose Pagan was convicted of two separate double homicides committed 12 days apart. In July 1992 he was convicted of the second-degree murders of Luis Bermudez, 20, and Ivelisse Gonzales, 21. The two were murdered inside Bermudez's apartment in the 400 block of West Dauphin St. on Dec. 30, 1990. In Dec. 1992 Pagan was convicted of the first-degree murders of Pablo Padilla, Sr., 59, and Pablo Padilla, Jr., 31. The Padillas were murdered inside their home at 4741 North 3rd St. on Jan. 11, 1991. Pagan was sentenced to death for these murders. On April 1, 1991, Police Officer Julio Aponte reported that Pagan had confessed to the four murders ten days earlier. Aponte later helped to convict Pagan by testifying to this alleged confession.
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 New Castle County, DE

Rev. Bernard Pagano


Rev. Bernard Pagano, a Roman Catholic priest from Baltimore, was accused by witnesses of being the gun-toting “Gentleman Bandit” who had robbed a number of stores in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Seven eyewitnesses testified that Pagano was the perpetrator. Pagano was acquitted at the last minute because of the confession of Ronald W. Clouser of Brookhaven, PA to the crimes. Clouser bore a slight resemblance to Pagano. In 1981, CBS aired a TV movie, The Gentleman Bandit, that was loosely based on Pagano's case.  (News Article)  [7/05]

Alameda County, CA

Bradley Page

Nov 4, 1984 (Oakland)

Bradley Page was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Bibi Lee, a UC Berkeley student. During a 16-hour interrogation that was partially recorded, Page gave a vague, confused, and speculative confession to the crime, a confession that did not fit the known crime facts. No evidence or other testimony corroborated his involvement in the crime. Police ignored eyewitness evidence pointing to another suspect. In 1994, CBS News identified Michael Ihde as Lee's murderer. Ihde's appearance was consistent with the reported eyewitness evidence and his DNA and pattern of killing linked him to other local area murders. Ihde was in prison in Washington State for two similar murders where he bragged that he killed three San Francisco Area women, one of whom was non-white (Lee was Asian American). Having convicted Page after two jury trials, prosecutors declined to charge Ihde with Lee's murder. Page got out of prison in 1994.  [9/05]

Berrien County, MI 

Efren Paredes, Jr.

Mar 8, 1989 (St. Joseph)

Efren Paredes Jr. was convicted of the armed robbery and murder of his employer, Rick Tetzlaff. Paredes, then 15, worked as a grocery bagger at Roger's Vineland Foods. He worked the evening of the murder, and was asked by Tetzlaff to stay late because there was more work that day due to it being a double coupon day. At 8:45 p.m. Efren called his mother for permission. She agreed but said Efren had to be home by 9:30 as it was a school night. Efren's mother stated that Tetzlaff told her that he would drive Efren home himself, “as soon as we're done.” These conversations were corroborated by the trial testimony of a prosecution witness, Pam Koebel, an employee of the store. Efren punched out of work at 9:22, and Tetzlaff drove him home. Typically Tetzlaff worked to 10 p.m. on double coupon days, and presumably returned directly to the store.
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Kootenai County, ID 

Donald Paradis

June 21, 1980 (Post Falls)

Donald Manuel Paradis was sentenced to death for the murder of 19-year-old Kimberly Anne Palmer. Paradis was a leader of the Gypsy Jokers motorcycle gang. Prior to the murder he allowed a number of people to use his home in Spokane, WA. On June 21, 1980, Palmer was strangled to death in his home and her boyfriend, Scott Currier, was beaten to death. Paradis was not home at the time of the crime. The victims' killers have since been established, and both the killers and other witnesses made it clear that Paradis had nothing to do with the killings.

When Paradis came home and found the bodies, he feared he would be accused of the murders. So he and two other men wrapped the bodies in sleeping bags and put them in a car. He then drove the bodies across the state line and dumped them in Post Falls, Idaho.

Paradis was tried in Washington for the murder of Currier, but was acquitted. William Brady, the pathologist who performed an autopsy on Palmer, fostered the impression that Palmer had been killed in Idaho. Brady's improbable theory became the basis for Idaho authorities to prosecute Paradis for the murder of Palmer. Brady was later fired from his job as a medical examiner in nearby Oregon. An investigation showed that he had used state facilities to perform private autopsies, had sold human tissue for profit, and had saved human blood collected during autopsies for use in his garden.

At trial, Paradis's court-appointed lawyer was William Brown. Brown had never studied criminal law, never tried a felony case, and never tried a case before a jury. He was also working as a police officer in Coeur D'Alene at the same time he was representing Paradis at his Coeur D'Alene trial. Some of the prosecution witnesses were Brown's fellow police officers. Brown's defense of Paradis lasted three hours.

In 1996, Idaho Governor Batt commuted Paradis's death sentence to life without parole. In April 2001, a federal judge vacated Paradis's conviction because prosecutors withheld potentially exculpatory evidence. Prosecutors then dropped charges against Paradis after he pled guilty to moving a corpse. He was sentenced to five years in prison and released for time served as he had already served 21 years.  (NY Times)  [9/08]

Mobile County, AL

Michael Pardue

May 22, 1973

After days of police interrogation at the Saraland Police Department, Michael Pardue, 17, confessed to brutally murdering Ronald Rider, 20, and Harvey Hodges, 68, attendants at two gas stations 16 miles apart in Mobile and Baldwin counties. He also confessed to the murder of a skeleton, which happened to be found in a Mobile County ditch during the interrogation. The skeleton was later identified as Theodore White, 43, and his cause of death is officially listed as unknown. Using similar tactics the police coerced Pardue's associates John Brown, 21, and Theresa Lanier, 15, to sign confessions, although Brown could not read and the three confessions contradicted each other as well as the forensic and physical facts of the cases.
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Tony Paris - See Cardiff Three

Elkhart County, IN 

Parish & Cooper

Oct 29, 1996 (Elkhart)

Christopher Parish and Keith Cooper were charged with robbery and attempted murder. Two intruders allegedly shot and robbed Michael Kershner in apartment F on the third floor of an apartment building located at 729 Monroe Street in Elkhart. At the time of the shooting five other people were reportedly in the apartment with Kershner. However, despite testimony that Kershner bled profusely in the car which took him to the hospital, investigating officers found no evidence the apartment was the scene of a crime. Cooper, identified as the alleged shooter, was acquitted of the attempted murder, but convicted of the robbery and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Parish was convicted of both charges and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
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Dante Parker - See Buddhist Temple Innocents

Lancaster County, NE 

Darrel Parker

Dec 14, 1955 (Lincoln)

Darrel F. Parker was convicted of the strangulation murder of his 22-year-old wife, Nancy Parker. The murder occurred at the Parkers' home in Lincoln's Antelope Park. Parker, then 24, confessed to the crime under alleged coercion. In the confession Parker said he strangled his wife after she refused to have sex following breakfast. Parker's defense argued that the murder had to have been committed by a sexual psychopath, while psychiatrists testified that Parker was not a psychopath. Years later Parker's conviction was overturned because a court found his confession was coerced. He was released in 1972. In 1988, Wesley Peery, an early suspect in the crime, died. His lawyer subsequently released his confession to the crime.  (Presumed Guilty) (Archives) (Appeals)  [4/08]

Monmouth County, NJ 

George Parker

Mar 26, 1980 (Howell Twp)

George Parker was convicted of aggravated manslaughter for the shooting death of Donna Lynn Smith, 25. Smith's body was found in Allaire State Park in Howell Township. Smith had gone to the park with Parker, Pamela Pope, Carol Hancock, and James Covington. Hancock was Pope's sister, while Covington was Parker's brother. According to an appellate court, Pope, then age 29, believed that Smith had broken her nephew's arm and she wanted Parker to beat Smith. However, Pope took Parker's gun and shot Smith twice, killing her.

Parker at first confessed to the crime, but he recanted it at trial saying he confessed because he loved Pope's two children and thought Pope was pregnant with his child. Pope and Hancock denied being at park at the time of the shooting. Covington did not witness the shooting because he was asleep in the car at the time. Parker was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Pope was later convicted of Smith's murder as well as committing perjury at Parker's trial. Hancock was also convicted of perjury. Parker's conviction was overturned in 1986 and he was freed on bail. It is doubtful that he will be retried as the state essentially conceded that his confession was false.  (NY Times) (MOJ)  [7/09]

Union County, NC 

James Bernard Parker

May 1990 (Monroe)

James Bernard Parker was accused of molesting 19 children and convicted of molesting four boys, ages 5 to 12. The alleged assaults purportedly occurred near the Icemorlee Street Apartments in Monroe. Few children initially told their parents. The stories came out only when school counselors began asking questions. Parker was sentenced to 3 life terms plus 60 years. No physical evidence linked him to the alleged crimes and he was charged even though children told stories of being tied to trees and fed poisoned ice cream. They also gave a wide range of descriptions of their attacker. In 2002, an investigation begun by a UNC journalism student brought forth 15 reported victims and witnesses who said the crimes never happened or that Parker was not the attacker. The only three boys who testified against Parker have since signed affidavits saying Parker did not commit the crimes. In 2004, Parker, who maintains his innocence, was coerced into pleading guilty to reduced sex crime charges in exchange for release from imprisonment.  (Article)

Franklin County, MO 

Jerry Parker

Aug 10, 1989 (Gerald)

Jerry Lynn Parker was convicted of sexually molesting three girls, K.B., age 10, H.R., age 11, and B.C., age 13. He was sentenced to 195 1/2 years of imprisonment. The girls said they were kidnapped at gunpoint from a gazebo in Gerald City Park and forced to walk to a woman's rest room about a block away where they were molested. The girls' story contains numerous implausible or impossible details. A deputy indicated that he did not believe the story. Police undertook no further action on the girls' report until two weeks later when Parker became a suspect. At trial, on cross examination, the Gerald Police Chief conceded his office received over 50 leads and the names of three suspects regarding the alleged assault but Parker was the only person ever questioned about it.
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Edward H. Parks - See Antoniewicz & Others

 Newfoundland, Canada

Gregory Parsons

Jan 1, 1991

Gregory Parsons was convicted in 1994 of murdering his mother, Catherine Carroll. Carroll had been stabbed 53 times. Parsons was sentenced to life imprisonment. His mother's psychiatrist and friends recalled her saying that her son, 19, had threatened her life. Two years earlier Parsons been part of a band that sang a song called “Kill, kill, kill,” about children killing their parents. In addition Carroll had allegedly once sought a restraining order against her son.

In 1998 the Newfoundland Supreme Court acquitted Parsons after DNA tests proved he could not have been the killer. Years later, following an undercover sting operation, police got Brian Doyle, a childhood friend of Parsons, to confess to the crime. Doyle pleaded guilty to the crime in 2002 and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Parsons was awarded $650,000 in 2002 and another $650,000 in 2005 for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment.  (CBC)  [4/09]

 Suffolk County, MA

Marlon Passley

Aug 11, 1995

Marlon Passley was convicted of murder and assault. He allegedly was a helmeted motorcycle passenger who fired on a group of six youths, killing Tennyson Drakes, and seriously wounding two others. Passley was identified by four of the victims in court. Passley was cleared in 2000 after the real perpetrator was identified and indicted.  (CIPM) (JD)  [10/05]

 Cook County, IL

Aaron Patterson

Apr 1986

Aaron Patterson was sentenced to death for the murders of Vincent and Rafaela Sanchez, a South Chicago couple who fenced goods for neighborhood thieves. Vincent, 73, and Rafaela, 62, were found stabbed to death on April 19, 1986 inside their ransacked home at 8849 South Burley Avenue. Patterson confessed to the murders after being tortured. Following his conviction, state's witness and teenager Marva Hall, swore in an affidavit that prosecutors pressured her into implicating Patterson. Patterson was released from Death Row in 2003 after the Illinois governor found that he was “wrongfully prosecuted.”  (CWC) (CCADP)  [9/05]

Hawaii County, HI 

Pauline & the Schweitzers

Dec 24, 1991

While riding her bicycle, 23-year-old Dana Ireland was hit by a car. Then she was taken to a remote area 5 miles north of the collision site where she was raped and murdered. Two-and-a-half years later an Oahu inmate, Frank Pauline, Jr., came forward with information. He said that in exchange for the information he wanted the authorities to look kindly on his half-brother who was facing drug charges.
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Laverne Pavilac - See Sosnovske & Pavilac