Victims of the State

3 Cases

Map of Counties

U.S. Cases




Date of Alleged Crime


Beaver County, UT Bruce Dallas Goodman Nov 1984
Bruce Dallas Goodman was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Sherry Ann Fales Williams.  Williams, 21, was found sodomized, beaten to death and bound near an I-15 exit north of Beaver.  At his trial in 1984, two separate witnesses testified for Goodman, saying he was with them in California the night the murder happened.  DNA tests later exonerated Goodman of the crime.  Goodman was released in Nov. 2004 after he served 19 years of imprisonment.  (IP)  [5/08]


Davis County, UT David Valken-Leduc Oct 29, 1996 (Woods Cross)

David Jonathan Valken-Leduc was convicted in 2004 of the murder of Matthew John Whicker, a Motel 6 night clerk.  Whicker, 30, was shot multiple times and died in the motel lobby.  In 1996, police arrested Todd Jeremy Rettenberger in regard to the shooting.  Although Rettenberger knew Valken-Leduc, for five years he never mentioned Valken-Leduc's involvement in the crime.  In 2001, Scott Spjut, a Certified Latent Print Examiner, identified a bloody fingerprint found at the scene as belonging to Valken-Leduc.  Rettenberger then implicated Valken-Leduc in the crime.  In 2003, Spjut was shot and killed by a rifle he was inspecting at a crime lab.  The bloody fingerprint was then re-examined and found to belong to Whicker rather than to Valken-Leduc.

Rettenberger, who has twice pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Whicker's death, agreed to testify against Valken-Leduc in exchange for his immediate release from jail after spending 63 months there.  At trial Rettenberger testified that he drove Valken-Leduc, then 17, and another man, Elliot Rashad Harper, to the Motel 6 with plans to rob it.  Rettenberger stood outside and watched Valken-Leduc and Harper confront Whicker inside.  Something then went wrong, resulting in a scuffle and then gunshots.  He named Valken-Leduc as the triggerman.  Valken-Leduc testified that he had once had a loose friendship with Rettenberger, but that he cut contact after Rettenberger let a mutual friend take the blame for something Rettenberger had done.

Following Valken-Leduc's conviction, his defense attorney said that Rettenberger's contradictory confessions should have been introduced to the jury "to impeach his credibility." He also objected to the prosecution making inconsistent allegations in its trials of Rettenberger and Valken-Leduc, saying he believes such discrepancies in the trials of co-defendants are unconstitutional.

Harper, who also maintained his innocence, was subsequently tried, but his trial resulted in a hung jury.  In 2008, he pleaded to lesser charges and was released from custody.  Valken-Leduc said he told his mother before she died that he takes some responsibility: "I chose to be acquainted with Todd Rettenberger. That's a mistake I made and I have to live with it."

On June 16, 2009, Valken-Leduc's conviction was vacated and he was released from custody after entering an Alford plea in which he did not have to admit guilt.  He will be on probation for three years.  (DMN) (SE) (DMN 2009)  [6/09]


Salt Lake County, UT Henry Miller Dec 8, 2000 (Salt Lake City)

Henry Miller was convicted of stealing a woman's purse at knifepoint in a Salt Lake City convenience store parking lot.  The purse had $50 in it.  Miller then allegedly tried to steal the woman's car, but unable to put the car in reverse, got out and fled.  At the time, however, Miller lived 1400 miles away in Louisiana.  He had a stroke on Nov. 25, 2000, 14 days before the robbery and took off work for three weeks while he recovered.  Hospital and employment records confirmed the stroke and his return to work in Louisiana.

Miller had lived in Salt Lake City from 1989 to 1999.  He was again in Utah in Feb. 2003, when police stopped him a block away from a restaurant robbery.  He was charged in the restaurant robbery and in the 2000 parking lot robbery.  However, police dropped charges on the restaurant robbery due to insufficient evidence.  The parking lot victim testified she was 100 percent sure that Miller was the thief who snatched her purse.  But Miller, then 47, was in his mid-forties at the time of the crime and the victim had told police the robber was between 18 to 21 years old.

After gathering new evidence, including testimony by a home health care nurse that Miller was in Louisiana the day before the robbery, Miller's conviction was overturned.  Prosecutors dropped charges a week before a scheduled retrial in July 2007.  Miller had served more than 4 years in prison for the alleged theft of $50.  (Salt Lake Tribune)  [3/08]