Victims of the State

Harris County, TX 

Ricardo Rachell

Oct 20, 2002

Ricardo Rachell was convicted of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old boy. The boy, lured by a bike-riding stranger promising him $10 for help cleaning up trash, was sexually assaulted in a vacant home south of downtown Houston. The next day, the boy's mother saw Rachell riding a bike on Cullen Blvd. She drove her son to the location and the boy subsequently identified Rachell as his assailant. Testimony from the boy and one of his friends who saw the assailant served as the core of the case against Rachell.

During deliberations, jurors asked about the boys' testimony, sending written questions to the judge. At least two wanted to know how the mother asked her son to identify his assailant and how the boy responded to her question. The boy appeared to know Rachell not as a stranger, but from seeing him around his neighborhood as a man whose facial deformity, from of a shotgun blast years before, made him drool and appear “scary-looking.” The two boys never mentioned that their assailant had an obvious facial deformity.

After Rachell was incarcerated, similar assaults occurred on at least three young boys lured by a man who promised them money in exchange for performing a task. Rachell's defense attorneys said they were never told that biological evidence existed in the case, but were later made aware of it. DNA tests of this evidence confirmed Rachell's innocence in 2008, leading to his release after more than 5 years of imprisonment. Rachell became blind from glaucoma during his incarceration. He was officially cleared in 2009.  (HC#1) (HC#2)  [5/09]


Omar Raddad

June 23, 1991

Omar Raddad was convicted of the murder of Ghislaine Marchal. Marchal, 65, was a wealthy widow who lived alone in the affluent village of Mougins, near Cannes on the French Riviera. One morning when Marchal was relaxing by her pool, her neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Koster, called over the fence and invited her to lunch at 1 p.m. Marchal readily accepted. She later telephoned a friend at 11:48 a.m. At 1:30 p.m., when Marchal had not shown up at the Kosters for lunch, Mrs. Koster telephoned Marchal, but there was no answer.
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King County, WA 

Rafay & Burns

July 12, 1994 (Bellevue)

Atif Rafay and Glen Sebastian Burns were convicted of the murders of Rafay's father, Dr. Tariq Rafay, his mother, Sultana, and his sister, Basma. The victims were bludgeoned in their home in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, WA. The walls, floor, and ceiling of Dr. Tariq's bedroom were covered in blood, bone, teeth, and tissue. In addition, tremendous amounts of blood were tracked throughout the property. Rafray and Burns, then both 18, reported the murders when they returned to Rafray's home at 2 a.m. following an evening out.
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 Union County, FL

Raiford Prison Inmates


Inmate John Lee Fort confessed on national television to the murder of another inmate and claimed it was a guard-ordered assassination. Officials blamed Thomas Craig for the murder and kept him in solitary confinement for two years. At trial, he was acquitted of the murder in 56 minutes and released a few months later. Officials had reason to blame Craig. According to Craig, “I was on the burial squad.” “They would take us out and have us burying these guys who had supposedly died of natural causes. I managed to get a look into a couple of those coffins – one had an obvious bullet hole, another's skull was crushed.”

Another inmate, Bennie Demps, was executed in 2000 despite the existence of a DOC report that seemed to point to his innocence. There was irrefutable evidence that Martin Anderson, a 14-year-old inmate, was brutally beaten to death. The state's medical examiner initially claimed he had died of his sickle cell anemia. The state of Florida now openly admits that inmate Frank Valdes was killed by out-of-control correctional officers.  (TruthInJustice)  [9/06]

Willie Rainge - See Ford Heights Four


Raj Brothers


Sathis Raj, or his identical twin brother, Sabarish Raj, age 27, parked his car outside a house in suburban Kuala Lumpur and was arrested. Police found bags of drugs in the trunk of the car and also in the house. The bags contained 166 kilos of cannabis and 1.7 kilos of raw opium. His twin arrived later at the scene and was also arrested. Since the second twin, unlike the first, did not have house keys on him, he could not be charged with possession of the drugs. Drug trafficking in Malaysia carries an automatic death sentence. Police however lost track of which twin they had arrested first. Each twin maintained he was arrested after the other.

According to High Court judge Zaharah Ibrahim, “This is a very unique case as they are identical twins. Even the DNA evidence could not prove anything as the DNA could be either Sathis' or Sabarish's. I can't be calling the wrong twin to enter his defence. I can't be sending the wrong person to the gallows.” The judge acquitted the pair citing reasonable doubt as to which twin had been arrested first.  (AFP)  [9/11]

Runnels County, TX 

Luis Ramirez

Apr 8, 1998

Luis Ramirez was executed for the murder of Nemicio Nandin who was reportedly dating Ramirez's ex-wife. Ramirez's conviction was based on the testimony of police informant Tim Hoogstra, a self-admitted “daily drug abuser,” who was paid $500 for his testimony. Hoogstra was also granted leniency on a shoplifting charge and other pending charges. In addition he was promised “Crime Stopper” money upon Ramirez's conviction. Hoogstra gave testimony that when he was getting high with another man named Edward Bell, Bell told him Ramirez paid him $1000 to kill Nandin. Bell was never called to testify nor had he ever given a statement to corroborate Hoogstra’s testimony. Ramirez was denied his Sixth Amendment right to dispute Hoogstra's testimony by cross-examining Bell.

Ramirez told his court-appointed attorney, Gonzalo Rios, to call an alibi witness, Patricia Raby, but Rios refused to even talk to her. Ramirez thought Rios was prejudiced against him because he found out later that Rios's brother and cousin had been murdered two decades before and another cousin shot. Ramirez said he never met Nandin, Hoogstra, or Bell, and has no knowledge of whether or not Nandin dated his ex-wife. Ramirez was executed by lethal injection on Oct. 20, 2005.  (IIPPI) (Statement of LR)

Alberto Ramos - See Bronx Five

Brevard County, FL 

Juan Ramos

Apr 23, 1982 (Cocoa)

Juan Florencio Ramos was convicted and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of 27-year-old Mary Sue Cobb. A bloodhound, which had been given the opportunity to smell Ramos's scent, was put into a room with five knives and five blouses. The dog stopped at the knife and blouse that had been involved in the crime. Later it was learned that only the knife and blouse involved in the crime had blood on them, proving only that the bloodhound was drawn to blood. In addition, five days after the initial identification, the dog failed to replicate the identification. The prosecution also presented a jailhouse informant who for his testimony was allowed to serve two years on a conviction for which he faced up to 70 years. The Florida Supreme Court overturned Ramos's conviction after ruling that the bloodhound evidence was thoroughly unreliable. On retrial, Ramos was acquitted of all charges.  (PC) (FLCC)  [7/05]

 Suffolk County, MA

Guy Randolph

Dec 1990

Guy Randolph was convicted of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl. The girl did not initially recognize Randolph as her assailant. However, a few minutes later, after talking to her aunt, she accused Randolph. During a grand jury investigation, the girl described her assailant in ways that did not match Randolph, including his clothing and height. There was also no physical evidence connecting Randolph to the assault.

At his lawyer's request, Randolph entered a Alford plea in which he did not have to admit guilt in exchange for a time served sentence of 4 months plus 10 years of probation. Randolph later failed to show up for an alcohol counseling session, a condition of his probation. A judge then incarcerated him for the remainder of the 10 years. Following Randolph's release, he had to register as a sex offender. In 2008, after prosecutors said the case against Randolph was so weak it should not have been pursued, a judge exonerated Randolph of all charges and declared him innocent.  (Boston Globe)  [6/08]

Dauphin County, PA

Samuel Randolph

Sept 19, 2001 (Harrisburg)

Samuel Randolph IV was sentenced to death for a barroom shooting that killed Anthony Burton, 18, and Thomas Easter, 21. The shooting occurred in Harrisburg at Todd and Pat's Hotel in the 1900 block of North Sixth Street. It also left 5 others wounded. Investigators initially had a difficult time finding a suspect because all the witnesses stated that the perpetrator wore a mask. However, an individual who was facing unrelated criminal charges eventually came forward who was willing to identify Randolph as the perpetrator in exchange for a generous plea deal for himself. This witness said he was able to identify Randolph because the perpetrator's mask had briefly slipped. Despite his checkered past, Randolph insists he did not commit the crime. On June 28, 2006, Pennsylvania Governor Rendell signed a death warrant for Randolph's execution.  (Patriot-News)  [3/08]

Dauphin County, PA

Gary W. Rank

Mar 22, 1979 (Gratz)

Gary W. Rank was tried for the murder of 78-year-old Helen Elizabeth Horn. Horn was found strangled and beaten to death in her Gratz, PA home. Rank was acquitted after NYU professor Salvatore Nicosia demonstrated how plastic fingerprint impressions taken of Rank were transferred to Horn's property. Rank filed a civil suit against Sgt. Joseph Van Nort and Trooper John J. Holtz for planting the fingerprints, as the two had investigated the crime. State policeman Cpl. John Balshy, a fingerprint expert, was also named with them. A civil jury found the suit defendants guilty of planting fingerprints and they were ordered to pay Rank a five figure sum. The planting apparently was performed with Sirchie fingerprint pads.  (Joseph Wambaugh and the Jay Smith Case, Chapter 23) (Court Actions)  [11/10]

Lawrence County, IL 

Julie Rea

Oct 13, 1997

Julie Rea was convicted of stabbing to death her 10-year-old son, Joel Kirkpatrick. Julie maintained that a masked intruder stabbed her son. The intruder also left a bruise over her eye and an inch deep gash on her arm. A physician noted that Julie's injuries, such as the horizontal scrapes on her knees, did not appear to be self-inflicted. In escaping, the intruder ran through two sets of glass doors.

Despite the bloodbath found in her son's room, Julie was found with no blood on her except for a small transfer pattern presumably caused by her contact with the intruder. Her toilets, sinks, washer, and dryer were found free of blood. A search of her septic tank and the lines leading to it failed to reveal the presence of any blood. Her ex-husband, Len Kirkpatrick, with whom Julie had a bitter divorce, had recently gotten residential custody of Joel, because he remarried, allowing Joel to have a two-parent home. The prosecution alleged that Julie's thinking regarding custody was, “If I can't have him, nobody will.” Julie was not charged until three years after the murder. No new evidence had surfaced after the initial investigation, but her ex-husband and chief accuser had become a sheriff's deputy in a neighboring county. He had vowed in writing to “destroy her.”

After the case was featured on 20/20, serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells confessed to the murder. Sells was a cautious killer who liked to kill but learned to avoid danger to himself. He would often kill sleeping victims, as awake victims were more dangerous. After a would-be adult victim sent him to the hospital for a week and to prison for five years, he stuck exclusively to killing children. Sells is also a suspect in the Texas intruder murders of Devon and Damon Routier. Their mother, Darlie Routier, has been sentenced to death for the murders. The state denied Sells confession, but the confession is reportedly too accurate to be dismissed as coincidence. In 2004, Julie's conviction was overturned because her prosecutor did not have the legal authority to try her. She was acquitted on retrial in 2006.  (ABC News) (CWC)  [11/05]

St. Louis County, MO 

Ellen Reasonover

Jan 2, 1983 (Dellwood)

Ellen Maria Reasonover was convicted of the murder of James Buckley, a 19-year-old gas station attendant. The murder occurred at a Vickers gas station on West Florissant Avenue in Dellwood. Reasonover had been at a 7-Eleven convenience store across the street from the gas station at the time of the murder. After hearing about the murder on the news, she tried to be a Good Samaritan by calling police and telling them of the two men who had left the scene in a car. Instead of being appreciative of her information, police focused on her as the murderer. Reasonover's conviction was based on the testimony of two drug-addicted career criminals. Centurion Ministries' investigation showed they had received secret deals from the prosecutor. A federal judge ruled that prosecutor Steven Goldman hid evidence clearly showing that the criminals' testimony was false. Reasonover was freed in Aug. 1999 and later awarded $7.5 million.  (JD#1) (JD#2) (CM)  [7/05]

Marvin Reeves - See Kitchen & Reeves

Adams County, WI 

Kenny Ray Reichhoff

Dec 11, 1974 (Friendship)

Kenny Ray Reichhoff was convicted in 1975 of the murders of Marvin Collins and Ervin Schilling. He was sentenced to life in prison. Nineteen-year-old Reichhoff worked for Collins at his chainsaw shop and lived in a rented trailer next door. Prosecutors contended that Reichhoff shot Collins to settle an argument that occurred four days earlier and that he shot Schilling, a customer, to silence a witness. Police found Reichhoff's .22 caliber pistol, which they said was the murder weapon, under Reichhoff's porch.

The state crime laboratory found eight latent fingerprints in the chainsaw shop that did not match Reichhoff or the victims. The prosecution contended that Reichhoff entered the shop by the rear door when he killed the two, but testimony established that it was barred and padlocked. Police confiscated another gun that belonged to Claude Hayes, Collins' father-in-law, but never tested it to see if it matched the spent shell casings. They also did not consider that Collins' wife may have been the intended target of the attack. Instead of opening the shop as usual, she went to the hospital to pick up her son. Reichhoff had no dispute with her and probably did not know that she was not there. Cracks in the case were enough for Reichhoff's to get a new trial. In Oct 1977, a retrial jury acquitted Reichhoff.  (101 Wisconsin Unsolved Mysteries) (Reichhoff v. State)  [10/08]

 Hartford County, CT

Mark Reid

Nov 8, 1996

Mark Reid was convicted of kidnapping and rape. The victim was abducted in the early morning hours while walking along Burnside Ave. in East Hartford, then assaulted in adjacent Martin Park. The victim, a white woman, initially identified her assailant as a light-skinned black man, 5'7" with freckles, but Reid was 6' without noticeable freckles. The victim said her assailant put on a condom before raping her. A hair analyst identified foreign pubic hairs found on the victim to be of Negroid origin and testified they matched Reid to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty.  DNA tests exonerated Reid in 2003 and showed the foreign hairs came from a Caucasian.  (NEIP) (State v. Reid)

 Litchfield County, CT

Peter Reilly

Sept 28, 1973 (Falls Village)

Peter Reilly was convicted of killing and mutilating his mother, Barbara Gibbons, after being coerced by the state police into confessing. Playwright Arthur Miller, author William Styron, and the NY Times came to his defense. The prosecutor handling Reilly's second trial discovered that the former prosecutor's files contained documents showing that Reilly arrived at the scene of the murder only minutes before the police and thus could not have committed the crime. Reilly was cleared in 1976.  (InjusticeBusters)  [9/05]

 Suffolk County, MA

George Reissfelder

Oct 14, 1966

George Reissfelder was convicted of participating in the murder of Michael Shaw. Shaw, a clerk, was shot through the head during a robbery of the Railway Express office in Boston's South Station. In 1972, Reissfelder's convicted codefendant confessed to a priest on his deathbed that he never met Reissfelder before trial, and asked the priest to apologize to him. In a 1982 hearing, defense attorneys assembled 10 witnesses including the priest in support of Reissfelder's innocence. Reissfelder's conviction was overturned and charges against him were dismissed.  (CIPM)  [11/05]

Fresno County, CA

Ronald Reno

Apr 16, 1996

Ronald Reno was convicted of the felony possession of a handgun. Following his arrest, neither Reno nor his attorneys could locate a witness, Preston Marsh, who could prove his innocence. Marsh was then on the lam and living under an assumed name. Reno was sentenced to 25 years to life under the three strikes law. In 2001, while Reno was working intake at his prison admissions office, he could hardly believe his eyes when he saw the name “Preston Marsh” on a list of new admissions. Marsh, at some risk to himself, volunteered to come forward. With the help of the Northern California Innocence Project, Reno was released after serving 6 years. The DA agreed to the release in exchange for a plea for time served.  (NCIP)

Yamhill County, OR 

Pamela Sue Reser

1998 (McMinnville)

Pamela Sue Reser was convicted of raping her four small children and sentenced to 116 years in jail. Her children alleged that she forced them to have sex with her, each other, and her boyfriends. Apparently, their foster mother put them up to this, because they all later recanted. Reser was incarcerated for more than three years before release.  (Justice: Denied)  [7/05]

Randy Resh - See Gondor & Resh

John Restivo - See Long Island Three

Christian County, MO 

George Revelle

Sept 28, 1994

George S. Revelle, the CFO of Ozark Bank, was convicted of murdering his wife, Lisa, at their home in Fremont Hills. Revelle told authorities that intruders broke into their home and shot his wife in a bungled extortion attempt. He was convicted because he had a $500,000 life insurance policy on his wife and an old letter in which she criticizes him for being materialistic.

Five months into the investigation, the apparent murderers sent a confession letter to police. They said they were fugitives living outside the U.S. They stated George's stepbrother had originally approached them about kidnapping George and forcing him to go to his bank so they could rob it. The letter writers revealed the location of a pond where the murder weapon was found. The prosecutor never investigated any of this evidence, except to test the stamp on the letter envelope for Revelle's DNA.

Revelle's conviction was overturned in Nov. 1997 because an appeal's court found that his wife's note should not have been allowed as trial evidence. On retrial in Dec. 1998, Revelle was acquitted.  (Beyond the Yellow Ribbon) (Archives)  [4/08]

 Cook County, IL

Reynolds & Wardell

May 3, 1986

Donald Reynolds and Billy Wardell were convicted of the rape of a University of Chicago student and the attempted rape of another student. The men were each sentenced to 55 years imprisonment, but DNA tests later exonerated them. Both men filed suits against Pamela Fish, a crime laboratory analyst, alleging she testified falsely against them.  (IP1) (IP2) (JP) (CWC)  [7/05]

Buchanan County, MO 

Melvin Lee Reynolds

May 26, 1978 (St. Joseph)

After being interrogated for 13 hours, Melvin Lee Reynolds, a mentally handicapped adult, confessed to the abduction and murder of four-year-old Eric Scott Christgen. Reynolds allegedly enticed Christgen from a shopping mall in St. Joseph, Missouri, took him to a wooded area, sexually molested him, and then killed him by asphyxiation or suffocation. Reynolds was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He was exonerated in 1983 after Charles Hatcher, a serial killer, who had murdered several other people after Reynolds' conviction, contacted authorities and confessed to the crime. Reynolds' case and Hatcher's homicides are profiled in the book Innocent Blood by Terry Ganey  (NY Times)  [10/05]

Ector County, TX 

James Harry Reyos

Dec 21, 1981 (Odessa)

For reasons unknown, James Harry Reyos confessed in New Mexico to police that he had killed a Catholic priest, Father Patrick Ryan, during a homosexual tryst in a West Texas motel.  However, every other piece of testimony controverted his guilt. Reyos had an airtight alibi: He was 200 miles away when the priest was bludgeoned to death. Reyos could prove his alibi with time-stamped receipts, a speeding ticket, and even an eyewitness. Father Ryan was a much beloved priest, and Reyos's allegations that the father had repeatedly solicited young men for sex shocked and offended the jurors. Reyos was convicted and sentenced to 38 years of imprisonment. The state's attorney responding to Reyos's appeal made himself a timeline of the crime and realized that Reyos could not have committed the crime. The attorney put in a pardon request but it was turned down. Reyos was paroled in 2003.  (American Justice) (Chronicle)