Victims of the State

 Boundary County, ID

Vicki Weaver

Aug 1992

(Federal Case)  Vicki Weaver, the wife of Randy Weaver, was shot to death by federal snipers while standing on the doorway of her cabin, holding an infant child. The shooting occurred during a controversial siege by federal agents at the Weaver cabin in Ruby Ridge, near Naples, ID. The siege also resulted in the deaths of Deputy US Marshal William Degan and 14-year-old Sammy Weaver in a shootout below the cabin. The case became the subject of U.S. Senate subcommittee hearings. In 1995, the Justice Department agreed to pay Randy Weaver and his three daughters, $3.1 million to settle a wrongful death suit. The settlement would pay each of the daughters $1 million and $100,000 to Randy Weaver.  [3/06]

Tarrant County, TX 

Mark Webb

Feb 9, 1985

Mark Webb was identified by an assault victim as the man who abducted and raped her. The victim, an aerobics instructor, was abducted as she left a Fort Worth health club. Several defense witnesses testified that Webb was at work at the time of the incident. Webb was convicted and served 13 years of 30 years sentence before DNA tests exonerated him.  (IP)  [7/05]

Cleveland County, OK

Thomas Webb

Mar 20, 1982

Thomas Webb was convicted of rape and sentenced to 60 plus years. The victim identified him in a tainted identification procedure. DNA tests exonerated Webb in 1996.  (IP)  [5/05]

Virginia Beach, VA

Troy Webb

Jan 24, 1988

Troy L. Webb was convicted of raping and robbing a 25-year-old woman in the parking lot of her apartment complex. Following the assault, the victim was unable to describe her assailant in sufficient detail to allow police to create a composite sketch. Nor was she able to identify him from a collection of mug shots. After more than a month, she identified Webb from a photo array of six pictures, claiming she was almost 100% sure that Webb was the man who raped her.

Serology tests showed that a man with Type A blood deposited sperm found in the victim and that Webb was a non-secretor, meaning that his sperm would not reveal his blood type. Nevertheless, at trial, a serologist testified that the tests could not exclude Webb as the assailant because the semen of a second man, such as the victim's live-in boyfriend, could mask his semen. Webb's defense counsel failed to ask the victim questions about whether she had another man's semen in her at the time of the assault. Nor had counsel sought to determine her boyfriend's blood type.

On appeal, Webb's appellate attorneys argued that two jurors – one who had been a rape victim, and a second who was the husband of a rape victim – should have been removed from the jury. They also argued that the evidence was insufficient to prove Webb's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The appeal was eventually denied. However, in 1996, DNA tests were performed which exonerated Webb of the crime.  (MAIP) (IP)  [7/07]

Baltimore County, MD 

Bernard Webster

July 1982 (Towson)

Bernard Webster was convicted of breaking into a 47-year-old schoolteacher's home and raping her. The victim identified Webster in a photo lineup. DNA tests exonerated him in 2004.  (IP) (Baltimore Sun)  [12/05]

Norfolk County, MA 

Frederick Weichel

May 19, 1980

Frederick Weichel was convicted of the murder of Robert LaMonica based on the nighttime identification of a witness who saw the killer for one second while 180 feet away. The witness told the police he had consumed four or five beers in the hours before the killing and described the killer as 5'9", 175 lbs. with dark curly hair, bushy eyebrows, and thick sideburns. Weichel was 5'7", 155 lbs., and did not have curly hair, bushy eyebrows, or thick sideburns. Three other witnesses near the scene of the murder were unable to identify Weichel. In 2004, Weichel's conviction was overturned, because one of the suspects in the original investigation confessed to the crime. However, in 2006, the Massachusetts Supreme Court reinstated Weichel's conviction.  (JD) (Boston Globe)  [12/06]

Fayette County, PA

Crystal Weimer

Jan 27, 2001 (Connellsville)

Crystal Dawn Weimer was convicted in 2006 of conspiring to murder Curtis Haith. Haith, 21, was beaten and shot to death outside his Connellsville apartment following a late night party. Hours before the murder, Weimer and about a dozen or so friends including Haith drank beer at her house in Uniontown. At 11:30 p.m., one of the partiers drove Haith to Connellsville, 12 miles away. Weimer tagged along but returned to Uniontown within an hour. Haith partied at a Connellsville bar until 2:00 a.m., then invited some of the patrons to his nearby apartment. The last patrons left Haith's apartment about 4:30 a.m. Twenty minutes later, a neighbor called police reporting frantic screams from the area of Haith's apartment. Police found Haith beaten to death with a gunshot wound to the face in a lot next to his apartment.
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Russell Weinberger - See Rodriguez & Weinberger

Iredell County, NC 

William Mason Wellman


William Mason Wellman, a black man, was convicted of the rape of Cora Sowers, a 67-year-old white woman. Wellman was sentenced to death. After he was strapped into the electric chair, N.C. Governor Broughton halted his execution, as word came that another man confessed to the crime. It was later established that Wellman was at work in Virginia, 350 miles away, at the time of the crime and had signed a payroll receipt on the day of the murder. He was granted a full pardon and released.  (Archives)  [4/08]

Chelan County, WA 

Wenatchee 43

Convicted 1994-95

Between 1992 and 1995, 43 adults, mostly women, were arrested on 29,726 charges of child abuse. The alleged abuse involved 60 children and resulted in 22 convictions. All of the alleged abuse occurred in the city of Wenatchee (in Chelan County) and East Wenatchee (in Douglas County). The allegations started when two children under the foster care of detective Robert Perez began accusing their parents. (One soon ran away from Perez and recanted.) Many defendants were coerced into confessing by the same detective. The last imprisoned defendant was released in Dec. 2000. To date, more than $7 million in civil settlements have been awarded to the defendants.  (RT) (Wash. Times)  [7/05]

Montgomery County, PA

Gerald Wentzel

Dec 6, 1946 (Pottstown)

Gerald C. Wentzel was convicted in 1947 of the strangulation murder of Mrs. Miriam Green, a 29-year-old divorcee. Green was last seen entering her apartment at 358 Chestnut St. in Pottstown on the early evening of Friday, Dec. 6, 1946. Green's mother said her daughter had planned to visit her that Friday, but she did not visit, nor did she call to say why. Green did not report for work Saturday morning, nor did she call in sick. The thermostat for her apartment building was located in her apartment. She had diligently taken care of resetting the thermostat after the furnace went off, but had not that weekend. Because of the cold, neighbors had knocked on her door several times during the weekend, but had gotten no response. Finally, on Monday afternoon, Dec. 9, neighbors entered her apartment and found her dead.
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San Francisco County, CA

Dr. Eugene West

Sept 9, 1893

Dr. Eugene West was convicted of the murder of Addie Gilmour. Five days prior to her death, she had written to her sister stating that she was in trouble and about to submit to an operation to be performed by West. Reputable physicians later spoke of West in the most disparaging terms. According to statements by Gilmour's parents, West admitted to them he had performed an operation on their daughter on Sept. 4, 1893 and that she died on Sept. 9. He stated that he gave her body to medical students. Gilmour had no known family or friends in San Francisco at the time of her death for him to give her body to. Body parts identified as Gilmour were found floating in San Francisco Bay days after her death. On retrial, West testified he cared for Gilmour following malpractice by Dr. W. A. Harvey and that Gilmour died the following day. West did not specify that Harvey performed the operation Gilmour needed. Harvey testified in rebuttal that there was not one word of truth in West's statement. The retrial jury acquitted West.  (CCCA)  [1/10]

Crittenden County, AR

West Memphis Three

May 5, 1993 (W. Memphis)

Jesse Misskelley Jr., Damien Echols, and Jason Baldwin were accused as teenagers of killing three eight-year-old boys. Misskelley, who is mentally handicapped, gave an error filled confession after 12 hours of police questioning, which he soon recanted. Misskelley confessed that he witnessed the murders taking place around noon when, in fact, the victims were all in school. The victims did not disappear until after approximately 5:30 p.m. Numerous alibi witnesses testified that at the time the three victims disappeared and for the next five hours (during which the murders probably occurred), Misskelley was at a wrestling competition in a town forty miles away from the crime scene. With no physical evidence, murder weapon, motive, or connection to the victims, the prosecution resorted to presenting black hair and clothing, heavy metal T-shirts, and Stephen King novels as proof that the victims were sacrificed in a satanic cult ritual. The defendants were convicted and sentenced to life plus 40, death, and life without parole, respectively. A book about the case was written entitled Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three by Mara Leveritt.  (  [9/05]

Multnomah County, OR

Edward Westerdahl

Mar 12, 1987 (Portland)

(Federal Case)  Edward Gordon Westerdahl, III, was convicted of robbing the First Interstate Bank in Portland, Oregon. The robbery was committed by two men, one of whom was found dead in the getaway vehicle after being shot by a sheriff's deputy. To convict Westerdahl, prosecutors granted plea/immunity agreements to three witnesses who gave incriminating testimony against him. However, the prosecution refused to offer a similar immunity agreement to a fourth witness who was willing to testify that Westerdahl had nothing to do with the robbery. As a result of the fourth witness's failure to secure an agreement, he refused to testify at trial based on his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. On appeal the Ninth Circuit Court found that the prosecution distorted the fact finding process by its partiality in “purchasing” testimony. The Court vacated Westerdahl's conviction in 1991.  (Appeals)  [11/09]

Kings County, NY

Jonathan Wheeler-Whichard

Apr 20, 1996

Jonathan Wheeler-Whichard was convicted of the murder of Joseph Foster. Foster was shot in the lobby of a crime-ridden building at 153 Marcus Garvey Blvd. in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He had attacked Wheeler-Whichard earlier, and a witness said Wheeler-Whichard confessed to shooting Foster for revenge. Another testified that she heard the two fighting.

Wheeler-Whichard was granted a judicial hearing in 2009 after one witness, now serving life on an unrelated murder, recanted. The other was proven a liar when the real 911 caller was found. The hearing judge, Justice Joseph K. McKay, reviewed this evidence and also heard from alibi witnesses not called at trial, including a correction officer. McKay said there are several suspects in Foster's murder, including a brother of one of the witnesses who implicated Wheeler-Whichard. He vacated Wheeler-Whichard's conviction on grounds of “actual innocence,” a ruling that appeared to be a first in the State of New York. A Manhattan convict, Fernando Bermudez, also had his conviction overturned on the same grounds later the same year. The rulings prevent the state from retrying Wheeler-Whichard or Bermudez.  (NY Daily News)  [4/10]

Hunt County, TX 

George White

Convicted 1951 (Greenville)

George White was convicted of armed robbery in Nov. 1951 due to mistaken eyewitness identification. He was tried without a lawyer and had no funds to prove that he had been in another state at the time of the crime. In May 1959, Governor Price Daniel pardoned White after the actual culprit confessed.  (The Innocents)  [7/09]

Coffee County, AL

George White

Feb 27, 1985 (Enterprise)

Both George W. White and his wife Charlene were shot multiple times by a masked gunman. George survived but Charlene died. Sixteen months later George was charged with the murder of his wife. Following a trial that was later characterized as a mockery and a sham, George was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. In 1989, the conviction was overturned after George spent over 27 months in prison. In 1992, the charge was dismissed after proof of George's innocence surfaced. George is a co-founder of Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and served on the board of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation from 1994 to 1998.  (Journey of Hope) (Justice: Denied)  [6/05]

Joseph White - See Nebraska Six

Jefferson County, WI 

Whitewater Three

Sept 5, 1998

Jarrett M. Adams and Dimitri Henley, both blacks, were convicted by an all white jury of sexually assaulting Shawn E. Stratton, a white female student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. A third black, Rovaughn Hill, was also charged in the assault, but his trial ended in a hung jury. On the day of the alleged assault, Adams, Henley, and Hill, were playing video games in a university dormitory room with a student named Shawn Demain, whom they had met only that day. According to Heidi Sheets, Stratton's roommate, both she and Stratton invited the three young men to their room four floors above.
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Norfolk, VA

Arthur Lee Whitfield

Aug 1981 (Ghent)

Arthur Lee Whitfield was convicted of two separate rapes, after the victim in each case identified him. Whitfield actually pleaded guilty to the second rape after he was convicted of the first rape. The biological evidence in his cases was officially destroyed, but against the rules, crime lab analyst Mary Jane Burton had taped pieces of evidence into her lab notebook. DNA testing of this evidence exonerated Whitfield of both rapes in 2004.  (Roanoke Times) (IP)  [7/07]

Allegheny County, PA

Drew Whitley

Aug 17, 1988 (Duquesne)

Andrew Whitley was convicted of murdering Noreen Malloy, 22, a night manager at a McDonald's restaurant near Kennywood Park. Another employee who was Whitley's neighbor recognized the man as Whitley. The witness admitted that he could not see the perpetrator's face clearly as he was wearing a nylon mask, but he recognized Whitley by his voice, the shape of his head, and the way that he walked. A third employee identified Whitley in court. In addition, a death row inmate testified at trial that Whitley confessed to him in prison. Whitley's conviction was overturned in 2006 after DNA tests on hairs left in the killer's discarded mask showed that they did not belong to Whitley.  (Post-Gazette) (IP) (Innocence Institute)  [9/06]

Herbert Whitlock - See Steidl & Whitlock

Kings County, NY

George Whitmore, Jr.

Apr 23, 1964 (Brownsville)

After Elba Borrereo, a twenty-year-old practical nurse from Puerto Rico, was assaulted, Police Officer Frank Isola heard her scream and fired warning shots at the fleeing assailant. Five hours later Isola encountered George Whitmore, Jr. on the street, but concluded that Whitmore was shorter and thinner than the assailant. However, the next day, Isola and a detective spotted Whitmore again and took him to the precinct station for questioning. At the station Borrereo viewed Whitmore through a peephole and identified him as the man who tried to rape her. She had earlier only stated that the assailant tried to snatch her purse. Whitmore had in his possession a picture of a young woman that a detective identified as Janice Wylie.  Wylie, 21, and Emily Hoffert, 23, had been stabbed to death 8 months previously in the apartment they shared on the East Side of Manhattan. Wylie was a Newsweek magazine researcher and Hoffert was a teacher. Newsweek offered a $10,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the murderer or murderers.
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Maricopa County, AZ

Shannon & Tony Whittle


Shannon and Tony Whittle were convicting of abusing and “shaking” their quadruplet babies, but the babies, who each would fit into an adult hand when born, have medical problems and show symptoms of Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a genetic disorder characterized by bones that break easily with little or no apparent cause. The two were sentenced to 172.5 and 5 years respectively.  (AZ Quads)  [5/05]