Victims of the State

Clark County, NV 

Tabish & Murphy

Sept 17, 1998 (Las Vegas)

Rick Tabish, a trucking contractor, and Sandy Murphy, a one-time topless dancer, were convicted in 2000 of murdering Murphy's boyfriend, Ted Binion. Binion, 55, was formerly an executive of the Horseshoe Casino and had an estate worth $50 million. Tabish and Murphy allegedly killed Binion by forcing him to swallow a mixture of black tar heroin and the sedative Xanax. Murphy stood to inherit about $1.5 million from Binion's estate. Tom Dillard, an investigator hired by the Binion family, gathered evidence against the pair and got police to file charges. Defense argued at trial that Binion was a well-known heroin addict and had simply overdosed.

Binion reportedly became depressed in March 1998 after the Nevada Casino Gaming Control board permanently barred him from his family's casino because of his reported drug use and his association with a known mobster. The day before Binion's death, he was prescribed a month's supply of Xanax, which is useful for combating the withdraw symptoms of heroin. However, it seemed unlikely that he planned to use the Xanax for that purpose, for later that day, he bought 12 balloons of black tar heroin from a drug dealer. Tabish and Murphy's convictions were overturned in 2003 and the two were acquitted on retrial in 2004.  (L.A. Times) (American Justice)  [12/06]

Broward County, FL 

Tafero & Jacobs

Feb 20, 1976

Along with Sonia “Sunny” Jacobs and Walter Rhodes, Jesse Joseph Tafero was convicted of murdering Florida highway patrolman Phillip Black and visiting Canadian constable Donald Irwin at an I-95 rest stop. The conviction was based largely on the testimony of Rhodes, who named Tafero as the shooter. The state withheld from the defense results of a polygraph that indicated Rhodes had failed. The state also withheld gunpowder test results that indicated Rhodes was the only person to have fired a gun.

Rhodes recanted his testimony on three occasions in 1977, 1979, and 1982, stating that he, not Tafero, shot the policemen. A statement from a prison guard corroborating Rhodes' recantations was suppressed and found years later. Rhodes has since reverted to his original testimony. The trial judge, “Maximum Dan” Futch, had been a highway patrolman three years before the trial and wore his police hat to work. He kept a miniature replica of an electric chair on his desk. He did not allow Tafero to call witnesses, nor would not allow him hearings on this decision. Two eyewitnesses, testifying for the state, said that while the shots were being fired, one officer was holding Tafero over the hood of the car. Tafero was executed in the electric chair on May 4, 1990. Officials interrupted the execution three times because flames and smoke shot out of his head.

Like Tafero, Jacobs was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1981. In Jacobs' 1992 appeal, the new evidence was presented which resulted in the reversal of her conviction. Had the evidence been found before Tafero's execution, it is highly probable that his conviction would have been likewise overturned. Jacobs later accepted a plea bargain in which she did not have to admit guilt and was released. She affirms her innocence. A 1996 ABC TV movie was made about the case entitled In the Blink of an Eye.  (CWC) (NY Times)  [6/05]

Henry Tameleo - See Deegan Four

Suffolk County, NY

Marty Tankleff

Sept 7, 1988 (Belle Terre)

After being interrogated for five and a half hours, Martin H. Tankleff, 17, confessed to beating and stabbing his wealthy parents, Seymour and Arlene Tankleff. Arlene died and Seymour would die weeks later. Police falsely told Marty that his father had come out of a coma and identified him as his and Arlene's assailant. Police convinced Marty (for a short while) that he must have assaulted his parents in a blackout. No evidence linked Marty to the crime, and while his confession matched the crime theory police held at the time, it did not match the facts of the case. Marty soon recanted and none of his surviving relatives believed he committed the crime. In a highly publicized trial covered by Court TV, a jury convicted Marty of the murders and he was sentenced to fifty years to life in prison.

Since the trial, a man has come forward, stating he drove two accomplices to and from the house on the night of the crime, for what he thought was a burglary. One of the accomplices was connected to Seymour Tankleff's estranged business partner, Jerard Steuerman. Steuerman admitted he was under pressure from Seymour to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars in business loans. Steuerman had partnered with Seymour in bagel stores and horse racing. He was also the last person to leave a high-stakes card game at the Tankleff house early on the morning of the murders. Several days after the crime, as Seymour lingered in a hospital before dying, Steuerman staged his own death and fled to California, shaving his beard and assuming an alias.

Starting in 2003, several new witnesses came forward, implicating Joseph Creedon and Peter Kent as the killers. Creedon was an associate of Steuerman and Tankleff believed that Creedon and Kent had acted on Steuerman's behalf. Evidence also emerged that the lead detective in the case, K. James McCready, had worked for Steuerman, and may have been bribed by him. In Dec. 2007, Tankleff's conviction was overturned. The DA announced that he would not retry him. A book was written on the case entitled A Criminal Injustice by Richard Firstman and Jay Salpeter.  ( (NY Times) (Newsday) (LI Press) (JD#1) (JD#2)  [9/06]


Tatsuhiro & Keiko

July 22, 1995 (Osaka)

Shimada Tatsuhiro and his common law wife, Aoki Keiko, were both sentenced to life imprisonment for the arson murder of Keiko's daughter. On the day of the alleged crime, Tatsuhiro filled the gas tank of his van before returning to his home in the Higashi-Sumiyoshi ward of Osaka. Ten minutes later he smelled smoke and noticed a small fire in the garage under his van. Tatsuhiro searched for a fire extinguisher, but the fire quickly grew and spread. Keiko's daughter died in the fire after being overcome by smoke in a first floor bathroom. Keiko had 15 million yen life insurance policies on both her children. Life insurance on children was not uncommon, but 5 million yen and 10 million yen policies were more typical. The couple had no financial difficulties at the time of the blaze.
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Ada Joanna Taylor - See Nebraska Six

Nassau County, NY 

Daivery Taylor

Convicted 2005

Daivery Taylor, a personal injury attorney, was indicted on charges that he used “steerers” to sign up accident victims and that he coached clients to fabricate injuries. Following a two-week non-jury trial in 2005, Judge Jeffrey S. Brown convicted Taylor and his Freeport, NY based firm, Silverman & Taylor, of these charges. Taylor was subsequently disbarred due to these convictions. The case became a symbol of the efforts of the anti-insurance fraud campaign launched by NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

Following Taylor's conviction, his lawyers argued to an appeals court, “It is remarkable that for all of the years-long investigation ... and the thousands of taped conversations, the prosecution had no solid evidence – not a single patient, not a single medical record, not a single document – that demonstrated Mr. Taylor's complicity in an alleged fraud.” In 2008, the NY Appellate Division, 2nd Department agreed that Taylor's convictions were based on insufficient evidence. It not only threw out the convictions, but also dismissed the 32-count indictment against him.  (NY Law Journal)  [1/09]

 Cook County, IL

Daniel Taylor

Nov 16, 1992

Daniel Taylor was convicted of the murders of Jeffrey Lassiter and Sharon Haugabook. The victims were residents of a second-floor apartment at 910 W. Agatite Ave. Under police interrogation, the then 17-year-old Taylor confessed to the crime. According to the confession, Taylor and three fellow gang members entered the victims' apartment to rob them while four additional gang members waited outside as lookouts.

Just before Taylor was to be formally charged with the murders, he protested that he could not have committed the crimes because he had been in police custody when they occurred. When police checked their records, they found that Taylor was arrested at 6:45 p.m. on the night of the murders. The murders occurred at 8:43 p.m. A copy of Taylor's bond slip showed he was not released from the Town Hall District lockup until 10 p.m.

Nevertheless, police still charged Taylor with the murders. To corroborate his confession, they found a witness, Adrian Grimes, a drug dealer and a rival gang member, who, at trial, testified that he saw Taylor at 7:30 p.m. in Clarendon Park. Two police officers, Michael Berti and Sean Glinski, also testified that they saw Taylor at 9:30 p.m. when they emerged from an apartment half a block from the murder scene. The jury chose to believe Taylor's confession over police records. Taylor was sentenced to life in prison.

Following Taylor's conviction, Grimes said he lied at the request of detectives and to receive leniency on a narcotics charge. The officers who said they saw Taylor at 9:30 p.m. testified they dropped him off at a DCFS shelter at 10 p.m. However DCFS records show that he did not arrive there until 3 a.m. In addition, four months before the officers' report, a judge had ordered Officer Berti off the witness stand in an unrelated case and stated, “I don't believe a thing he says. He goes down in my book as a liar.”

Besides Taylor, seven of his fellow gang members were charged with the murders. No physical evidence connected any of them to the crime. While in police custody all seven confessed to the crime and each said Taylor was with them. Four of them were convicted of the crime, one was acquitted, and charges against the other two were dropped after their confessions were thrown out.  (Chicago Tribune) (People v. Patrick)  [7/08]

Pima County, AZ

Louis Taylor

Dec 21, 1970 (Tucson)

Louis C. Taylor was convicted of 28 counts of first-degree murder. He was accused of setting fire to the Pioneer International Hotel on the northeast corner of Stone Ave. and Pennington St. in downtown Tucson. Twenty-nine people died as a result of the fire, including one woman who died months later from injuries sustained in the fire. Taylor, 16, whose juvenile-court record included theft, was accused of setting the fire (or fires) as a diversion so he could steal from guests' rooms. No one saw him set the fire. But a hotel employee saw him in a stairwell looking up at the flames and mentioned him to police. Other witnesses said he was one of that night's heroes, helping to evacuate the hotel.

The chief arson investigator found no obvious evidence of arson – no residue of flammable liquid or burned matchsticks. Instead he asserted from burn patterns that two fires were started at least 60 feet apart on the fourth floor hallway. Modern experts now dispute the arson finding, and even one of the original investigators, Marshall Smyth, said that he and another fire investigator were like members of “a black magic society” that in those days relied on untested assumptions about what indicated arson. “I came to this opinion some time ago that neither one of us had any business identifying that fire as arson.”

Taylor, after decades of imprisonment, recalled that over the years others – including his former trial judge – advised him to seek a reduced sentence. But one condition was that he admit guilt and show remorse. Taylor said, “I told them I'd rather die in prison.” In 2003, the case was featured on a 60 Minutes episode.  (Hotel Online)  [1/07]

 Harris County, TX

Ronald Taylor

May 28, 1993

Ronald Gene Taylor was convicted of rape after being identified by the victim. The victim's DNA tests were not available for Taylor's trial because the Houston PD Crime Lab had erroneously reported that the victim's bed sheets did not contain semen. Taylor was exonerated of the crime in 2007 after DNA tests showed that the actual perpetrator was another Texas inmate, Roosevelt Carroll. Reportedly Taylor and Carroll look remarkably similar. Carroll cannot be prosecuted as the statute of limitations for the crime has expired.  (HC)  [10/07]

Providence County, RI 

Beaver Tempest

Feb 19, 1982 (Woonsocket)

Raymond D. “Beaver” Tempest, Jr. was convicted of the murder of Doreen Picard. The murder occurred at 409 Providence Street in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Picard was a third floor resident of this address and her brutally murdered body was found in the basement. A first floor resident, Susan Laferte, was also found in the basement. She had also been severely beaten, but had survived. Evidence seemed to indicate that Laferte was the intended target of the attack which was interrupted by Picard. Both victims had been beaten by a 28-inch length of galvanized pipe.

Laferte's three year-old daughter, Nichole, had apparently witnessed the assaults. At various times when Nichole was at social gatherings that included a man named Donald Dagesse, Nichole made statements to the effect that Dagesse was the man who “boomed” her “mama” or asked him if he was that bad man who “boomed mama.” Dagesse also made incriminating statements to different people. Dagesse had an alibi, but there were eight different inconsistencies with it. When asked in the hospital to identify her assailant, Laferte repeatedly was able to write down the letters D, A, and a Y or a G.  A detective then recited several first names, but Laferte did not respond to any of them. A nurse asked her if the assailant was Donald Dagesse and Laferte nodded her head yes. She was asked two more times by the detective if the name was Donald Dagesse and she nodded yes each time. Laferte later had no memory of the assault or of being asked her assailant's name.

Despite the evidence against Dagesse, the investigation went nowhere from late 1983 to 1987. Beaver Tempest's brother, Gordon Tempest, was a Woonsocket police officer and in 1987 he arrested Stanley Irza, the brother-in-law of Captain Rodney Remblad, the chief of detectives. From Irza's arrest on, Remblad apparently had it in for Beaver. Remblad would also use the case as a stepping stone for his promotion to Woonsocket Chief of Police. In the years that followed, the frame-up of Beaver Tempest proceeded, with a complex tale of police convincing witnesses to lie, police manipulation of the press, and police convincing more witnesses to lie when the lies of previous witnesses were exposed. By 1992, Beaver Tempest was arrested, tried, and convicted of the crime. He was sentenced to 85 years in prison. His brother Gordon was convicted of perjury for disagreeing at Beaver's trial with “facts” presented by false witnesses.  ( (1/95) (7/95)  [5/08]

John Tennison - See Goff & Tennison

Paul Terry - See Evans & Terry

 New Zealand

Arthur Thomas

June 17, 1970

Arthur Allan Thomas was convicted of the shooting murders of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe. The married couple were killed on or about June 17, 1970. At least one of the them was shot inside the Crewes' farmhouse in Pukekawa and both bodies were dumped in the Waikato River. Jeanette's body was found in the river two months later (Aug. 16) and her husband's body another month afterwards (Sept 16). An axle which had been used to weigh down Harvey's body was also found. The Crewes' disappearance was reported to the police by Jeanette's father and neighbor, Lenard W. Demler, on June 22, 1970. The Crewes' 18-month-old daughter Rochelle was found alive in the house and it is believed that an unknown woman had fed her between the 17th and 22nd. On June 19th, a farm laborer, Bruce Roddick, saw a fair-haired woman outside the house.
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Philadelphia County, PA

Fred Thomas

Dec 21, 1993

Frederick A. Thomas was convicted of the murder of William “Skip” Moyer Jr., a Federal Express truck driver. Thomas was sentenced to death. Moyer was shot in the face at 9th and Clearfield Streets in a drug-infested neighborhood often referred to as “The Badlands.”

A male caller phoned police three days after the murder to say that he worked for Federal Express and he “had heard that Moyer had been opening packages that he was to deliver” and “that whenever Moyer delivered to a certain address in North Philly, he knew drugs were being sent to the address because it was always the same address.” The caller alleged that Moyer “had taken some weed and recently ‘ripped off’ a kilo of cocaine.” According to the coroner's report, Moyer had cocaine and methamphetamine in his system at the time of the killing.

A witness to the shooting, Maria Fielding, who died in 1999, gave a statement to police the morning after Moyer's murder, in which she described three male assailants, none being Thomas. The DA's office failed to bring her into court for the two Thomas trials, even though at one point she was in the same building for charges on an unrelated matter. Although two bench warrants were issued for Fielding around the time of the first two trials, they apparently were not lodged for her. Prosecutors at the time maintained she had left the area and could not be found.

No physical evidence linked Thomas to the crime, but he was convicted based on the testimony of two men, Willie Green and Charles Rowe, who were “found” by Detective James Ryan, a police officer who was not assigned to the district or the case. These men testified that they were on the other side of the street and saw Thomas walk around Moyer's truck after they heard a gunshot. Another witness, whose mother lives on the street on which the murder occurred, corroborated Fielding's version of events. Detective Ryan has since been convicted of shaking down drug dealers and making illegal armed detentions. In another murder case, he paid a witness $500 to provide false testimony against a defendant. In May 2002, a judge overturned Thomas's conviction. In Oct. 2002, Thomas died on PA Death Row, before a retrial could take place.  (City Paper)  [1/07]

Hezekiah Thomas - See Lex Street Innocents

Philadelphia County, PA

Lou Mickens Thomas

Sept 27, 1964

Louis Mickens Thomas was convicted of the rape and murder of a 12-year-old Edith Connor. His conviction was based solely on the testimony of criminalist Agnes Mallatratt who worked at the Philadelphia crime lab. Mallatratt testified to finding microscopic wax and bristle particles on the body similar to particles found in Lou's home. The body was found in a debris-strewn alley behind and three houses down from Lou's shoe repair shop at 1109 N. 40th St. The particles which were created in shoe repair work could presumably have blown down the alley from the shop. No tests were done to prove otherwise.

Mallatratt testified that she was a graduate of Temple University; had done postgraduate work in zoology, biology, and botany; and that she was a hematologist. Following trial, in 1967, she admitted she had not even graduated junior high school. At Lou's retrial in 1969, Mallattrat's retired supervisor vouched for the veracity of her work, but neither of Lou's two juries knew that the person who collected and analyzed the evidence was a serial perjurer and a professional fraud.

In 1995 on his last day in office, Governor Casey reviewed 25 petitions but granted only Lou's petition for clemency. Incoming Governor Tom Ridge had vowed never to release a lifer and refused to honor the granted clemency. Nine years went by before a federal judge reversed the usurpation of Lou's constitutional right to clemency and ordered his immediate release.

Clemency is not a pardon but is the equivalent of parole. After Lou's release, the parole board wanted Lou to admit to his crime and attend sex offender therapy. For 40 years, Lou has insisted that he is innocent. When Lou refused to admit that he was a sex offender, the Parole Board violated him for being a “denier,” and threw the 76-year-old man back in prison. Outraged by the Parole Board's conduct, a Federal Court ordered his release the next day.  (Inquirer) (CM) (TruthInJustice)  [5/05]

Cayuga County, NY 

Thomas & Gene

July 24, 1976 (Auburn)

Sammy Thomas and his brother Willie Gene, both blacks, were convicted of murder of George Sedor. Sedor was shot six times in his car in the parking lot of the Sunset Restaurant on N. Division St. in Auburn. He was a co-owner of the restaurant. A key prosecution witness, Steven Wejko, testified he supplied the brothers with weapons and that they admitted killing Sedor. Wejko got a plea deal for his testimony. Sedor's brother had told police that the killers were white. However, police and prosecutors conspired to keep this information from coming out in the original trial. The truth only came out at Gene's retrial in May 1980. Gene was acquitted, and charges were then dropped against his brother. The prosecutor in the case, Peter Corning, was never punished for his conduct in the trial. He later became a judge.  (RW) (Archives)  [7/08]

 Ellis County, TX

Victor Larue Thomas

Oct 24, 1985

Victor Larue Thomas was convicted of the rape of an employee at a Waxahachie Tiger Mart. The victim identified Thomas as her assailant. DNA tests exonerated Thomas in 2001.  (IP)  [7/05]

Cabell County, WV 

Wilbert Thomas


Wilbert Thomas was convicted of raping a 19-year-old Marshall University student. In 1999, a federal magistrate recommended that Thomas's rape conviction be overturned after he found that: (1) Trooper Howard Myers never performed the serology test, which he testified linked Thomas to the crime. (2) The judge in Thomas's first trial officially recorded the jury as hung on the sexual assault charge and declared a mistrial on this charge when in fact the jury acquitted Thomas on this charge. (3) DNA tests showed Thomas could not have committed the crime. The state has agreed to release Thomas, but has still refused to concede that Thomas is innocent or admit that he was convicted in violation of his constitutional rights.  (Justice: Denied)  [10/05]

Will County, IL 

Franklin Thompson

Feb 6, 1994

Franklin Thompson was convicted of the murder of Jacqueline Oaki, a 41-year old prostitute. Thompson was a decorated Vietnam veteran who had a narcotics addition. Under police interrogation, Thompson confessed to running over Oaki in his 1991 Pontiac Sunbird. However, his tire prints did not match those left at the crime scene. Nor did other crime scene evidence implicate him. Two hours before her body was found, a 911 call was made from the home of Robert Ezell, in which a woman could be heard screaming for help. Oaki's family has identified the voice as Jacqueline's, but Ezell has refused to identify the voice. In 2003, Gov. Ryan granted Thompson a pardon based on innocence.  (CWC)  [1/06]

Orleans Parish, LA 

John Thompson

Dec 6, 1984 (New Orleans)

John Thompson, who had no history of violence, was charged with the robbery and murder of 34-year-old Ray Liuzza, Jr., a hotel executive. In 1985, the day after his picture was in the newspaper and on the evening news, three victims of an attempted carjacking came forward and stated Thompson was the perpetrator. Even though the attempted carjacking occurred after the murder, Thompson was convicted of the attempted robbery prior to his murder trial. Thompson was then convicted of murder and sentenced to death in part because of the prior conviction. The prior conviction prevented him from testifying on his own behalf.

In 1999, intentionally hidden blood evidence from the attempted carjacking incident surfaced that showed the perpetrator had a different blood type than Thompson. That conviction was overturned and led to his murder conviction being overturned. At the murder retrial, the defense tracked down an eyewitness who had fled the area out of fear for her life a month after the murder. She testified in the defense's favor and Thompson was acquitted.  (Times-Picayune)  [9/05]

Pierce County, WA 

Timothy Thompson

Aug 6, 1974

Timothy Thompson was convicted of the murder of Jan Cygan.  The prosecution theory lacked coherence. Prosecution witnesses disagreed amongst themselves and the prosecution relied on impossible timeline. The prosecution maintained victim was beaten before death, but the victim's body showed no bruises.  (Justice: Denied)  [9/05]

Ada County, ID 

Donna Thorngren

Jan 12, 2003 (Meridian)

Donna Kay Thorngren was convicted of the murder of her 42-year-old husband, Curtis Thorngren. Curt was found shot to death in a bathroom in their home. Two months before the murder, Curt's life insurance, payable to Donna, had been increased to a payout of $320,000. The change was effective as of Jan 1, 2003, 11 days before Curt's murder. However, at Hewlett-Packard, Curt's place of employment, all employees were given the opportunity to increase their policies with new benefits effective the same date.
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Butler County, OH

Lonzo Thornton

Oct 6, 1926 (Middletown)

Lonzo Thornton was convicted of assaulting and robbing Louie Parkalab, a recent immigrant from central Europe. Thornton had visited James Ivory, a suspect arrested for the robbery, to get back the overcoat he had lent Ivory. Thornton was subsequently questioned by police and identified by Parkalab as the second person of the pair who had robbed him. At trial Thornton had 5 alibi witnesses, although some of these witnesses had bad reputations, which did not help him. He was sentenced to 10 to 25 years at the Columbus penitentiary. This penitentiary would burn in 1930, killing 322 inmates trapped in their cells. In Jan 1928, another man was arrested on other charges and confessed to being Ivory's accomplice in the Parkalab robbery. The Ohio Governor pardoned Thornton in Feb 1928.  (CTI)  [11/07]

James Thorpe - See Trenton Six

Chisago County, MN 

Thorvik & Hughes

July 23, 1921

Louis Thorvik and George Hughes were convicted of robbing the Farmers State Bank in Almelund, MN. The convictions were based on mistaken eyewitness identification and on blatant perjury committed by Deputy Sheriff H. L. Hammerstrom. In 1925, James Laughlin, the getaway driver for the real robbers was tried and convicted of the robbery. On the night of his sentencing he told authorities that Thorvik and Hughes had nothing to do with the robbery. Laughlin gave a sworn statement, detailing the particulars of the crime and naming his four accomplices. Laughlin's account was later fully corroborated and in 1931, both Thorvik and Hughes were pardoned.  (CTI)  [12/07]

Desha County, AR

Tony Thrash

June 6, 1980 (Dumas)

Anthony Thrash was convicted of the murder of Tommy Gill.  (Justice: Denied)

Franklin County, OH 

Allen Thrower

Aug 28, 1972 (Columbus)

Allen Thrower was convicted of the shotgun murder of Columbus Police Officer Joseph Edwards. In 1978 the Internal Affairs Bureau of the Columbus Division of Police determined that Detective Tom Jones Sr. had acted egregiously during the investigation of Thrower. Thrower was released from prison in 1979.  [12/06]

Alexandria, VA 

Phillip Leon Thurman

Dec 30, 1984

Phillip Leon Thurman was convicted of rape after being identified by the victim and another witness at trial. He was paroled in Nov. 2004, but had to register as a sex offender. A crime lab analyst, Mary Jane Burton, had, against the rules, saved specimens of biological evidence of the cases she worked on. Evidence saved by Burton had already helped exonerate three convicts. In 2004, DNA tests were ordered on a random 10% of her approximately 310 specimens, resulting in the exonerations of Thurman and Willie Davidson. Gov. Warner pardoned both men in Dec. 2005.  (IP)  [12/05]