Police Officer Defendants

16 Cases

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AL - Shelby - Patrick Swiney 1987

CA - Los Angeles - Evans & Ledbetter 1928

CA - Santa Barbara - Leonard Kirkes 1942

IL - Cook - Steven Manning 1990

IN - Floyd - David Camm 2000

IN - Vanderburgh - Patrick Bradford 1992

ME - Oxford - Francis M. Carroll 1937

MA - Suffolk - Kenneth Conley C1998

MS - Chickasaw - Cameron Todd 1997

NJ - Atlantic - Jim Andros 2001

OK - Stephens - Lefty Fowler 1948

RI - Providence - Scott Hornoff 1989

WV - Grant - Paul Ferrell 1988

WI - Brown - John Maloney 1998

WI - Eau Claire - Evan Zimmerman 2000

WI - Milwaukee - Laurie Bembenek 1981




Date of Alleged Crime


Shelby County, AL Patrick Swiney Dec 10, 1987

Patrick Swiney was convicted of murdering his wife, Betty Snow Swiney, and her ex-husband, Ronald Pate. One night, when Swiney was approaching his house, he blacked out, stating that he felt as though he'd been hit on the head with a baseball bat. He awoke in his house with a serious bruise on his head and with the rifle he kept in his truck lying near him. He found his wife and her ex-husband lying on the floor, shot dead with bullets assumed to have been fired from the rifle.

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Los Angeles County, CA Evans & Ledbetter July 8, 1928

Police officers Walter E. Evans and Miles H. Ledbetter, both detectives, were convicted of extorting a $750 bribe from Harry McDonald, a person with a criminal record of felonies.  After being arrested in 1929 for receiving stolen property, McDonald surprised the District Attorney by confessing to conspiracy transactions involving over 50 LAPD officers.  Among those were officers Evans and Ledbetter.  McDonald claimed that the officers had in 1928 extorted a $750 bribe from him in exchange for suppressing evidence that McDonald had purchased stolen diamonds from a Jack Hawkins.

At trial, McDonald, his wife, and his maid all swore that Evans and Ledbetter had visited McDonald on a Saturday and Sunday in 1928 and that McDonald had paid the officers a bribe.  The officers countered that they had indeed visited McDonald on Saturday July 7 and Sunday July 8, 1928, but the visits were to investigate an unconnected robbery of two diamond rings.  In rebuttal, McDonald and his wife testified that the detectives could not have visited them on the specified dates as the McDonalds moved to a bungalow in Venice, CA on the Sunday before July 4, and that they were not in Los Angeles for the two weeks thereafter.  The jury chose to believe the McDonalds and convicted the two officers.  In 1930, following unsuccessful appeals, the two officers started serving their sentences in San Quentin.

Later evidence surfaced that McDonald signed a safety-deposit record of a Los Angeles bank on July 9, 1928, so he could not have been out of town that day as he and his wife swore.  Also evidence surfaced that their maid had not been in their employ until after August 8, so she could not have been present on July 7 or July 8.  Coupled with these disclosures, and other discovered facts, California Governor Young pardoned both officers in 1931.  Evans and Ledbetter later received $4533.36 and $3313.39 in compensation.  (CTI)  [11/07]


Santa Barbara County, CA Leonard Kirkes Aug 1942
Leonard M. Kirkes, a highway patrolman, was convicted in 1950 of the 1942 murder of 20-year-old Margaret Senteney.  Her body was found on the foothills above the town of Carpinteria.  The conviction was based on circumstantial evidence including the testimony of a key witness who said she saw Senteney get into Kirkes' car on the night of her murder.  In 1953 Kirkes was retried and acquitted.  The key witness at Kirkes' first trial had been sent to a mental institution, and doctors stated that she had been mentally disturbed even before she testified.  (Conviction) (Acquittal)  [7/07]


Cook County, IL Steven Manning May 1990
Steven Manning was convicted of a 1984 kidnapping in Clay County, Missouri and the 1990 murder of trucking company owner Jimmy Pellegrino in Illinois.  Pellegrino was last seen leaving his Will County home on May 14, 1990 and his body was found floating on June 3, 1990 in the Des Plaines River near the Lawrence Avenue Bridge in Chicago.  Manning's convictions were based on the testimony of jailhouse informants.  Manning, a former Chicago cop, had been an FBI informant, but when he no longer wanted to work for his FBI handlers, Robert Buchan and Gary Miller, he sued them for harassment.  They retaliated by framing him for the crimes, for which he was sentenced to death.  Manning was released in 2004 and awarded $6,581,000 in Jan. 2005 after a jury agreed that he had been framed.  The 1984 kidnapping apparently never happened, as the kidnapped drug dealers did not report the crime for 6 years.  The FBI refuses to criminally charge Buchan and Miller for their actions.  (CWC) (Chicago Tribune) (Justice: Denied) (People v. Manning)  [9/05]


Floyd County, IN David Camm Sept 28, 2000 (Georgetown)

David Camm, a former Indiana state trooper, was convicted in 2002 of the murders of his wife Kimberly, daughter Jill, 5, and son Bradley, 7.  Inside the garage of the Camm residence, the children had been shot to death while sitting in the back seat of the family's Ford Bronco.  Kim was shot to death next to the Bronco.  The residence was on Lockhart Road in Georgetown, IN.

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Vanderburgh County, IN Patrick Bradford Aug 1, 1992
Patrick Bradford, an Evansville police officer, was convicted of murdering Tammy Lohr, 24, a woman with whom he had been having an affair.  The evidence shows that Bradford could not have committed the crime.  Tammy worked at the county jail, and a more logical suspect is a corrections coworker who was fired for hitting inmates and sexually harassing Tammy.  The coworker ranted that he would get even with Tammy if it was the last thing he ever did.  A later review of this individual's court activity suggested that the prosecution needed him to testify in some cases and for that reason they were not willing to regard him as a suspect.  (TruthInJustice) (48 Hours)  [11/05]


Oxford County, ME Dwyer & Carroll Oct 13, 1937 (South Paris)

Francis M. Carroll, a deputy sheriff in Oxford County, was convicted in 1938 of the murder of Dr. James G. Littlefield.  Littlefield and his wife, Lydia, disappeared from their home in South Paris on Oct. 13, 1937.  On Oct. 16, Paul Nathaniel (Buddy) Dwyer, 18, also from South Paris, was found sleeping in the couple's car by police in North Arlington, NJ.  The bodies of the dead couple were found in the trunk.  Dwyer confessed to killing the couple and was extradited to Maine the next day.  He was placed in the custody of Francis Carroll, the father of Dwyer's former girlfriend, Barbara (Babs) Carroll.  On Dec 2, Dwyer pleaded guilty to the murder of Dr. Littlefield and was sentenced to life in prison.

Within months, Dwyer accused Deputy Carroll of having killed Dr. Littlefield to prevent him from disclosing that the deputy had engaged in incest with his daughter, Babs.  Babs allegedly acknowledged that she engaged in sexual activity with her father on several occasions beginning when she was eleven years old.  Carroll was soon convicted of the murder of Dr. Littlefield, primarily because of Dwyer's testimony.  Carroll and Dwyer could not both be guilty of murder under the conflicting prosecution theories on which their convictions rested, but both were imprisoned until 1950, when Carroll's conviction was vacated.  In vacating the conviction, a Superior Court judge declared that the prosecutor in the case “deliberately, purposely, and intentionally . . . practiced fraud and deception on the court and jury.”

While there is reasonable doubt about Carroll's conviction, Dwyer's story implicating him is quite believable and it would appear that Carroll is most likely the killer.  In Oct. 1959 Maine Governor Clausen commuted Dwyer's life sentence to 28 years, making him immediately eligible for parole, a parole Dwyer was soon granted.  (CWC) (NY Daily News) (AP) (Life) (Murdered in Jersey) (NY Times) (56) (58) [10/09]


Suffolk County, MA Kenneth Conley May 27, 1997
Kenneth Conley, a Boston police officer, was convicted of perjury for testifying that he did not observe the police beating of a shooting suspect in 1995.  The suspect happened to be an undercover officer.  The conviction was overturned in 2000 because the prosecution withheld evidence that the witness against Conley expressed doubts about his memories and suggested that he be hypnotized.  (Boston Globe) (99) (00) (5/01) (9/01) (03) (04) (05)  [11/05]


Chickasaw County, MS Cameron Todd 1997
Cameron Todd, a police officer, arrested three adults and three teenagers for setting fire to a trailer.  One of them, a 13-year-old girl accused him and others of raping her.  Todd was charged with Capital Rape (in 1997) and was linked in press hysteria as being one of the ringleaders of a major child prostitution, drug, and pornography operation.  The girl who made the initial accusation has since recanted.  (MS Justice) (Todd v. State) (DOC)  [3/05]


Atlantic County, NJ Jim Andros Apr 1, 2001 (Pleasantville)
Jim Andros, an Atlantic City police officer, was charged with suffocating his wife.  Twenty months later charges were dropped after prosecutors concluded she died of a rare heart condition.  (NY Times)  [9/05]


Stephens County, OK Lefty Fowler Jan 23, 1948 (Duncan)

E. L. “Lefty” Fowler was convicted of the murder of Helen Beavers.  Fowler was a Duncan policeman and had been with her a short time before she was killed.  Following Beaver's murder, Fowler quit his job, failed to pick up his last check, and engaged in conversation indicating that he was considering suicide.  He also began an excessive round of drinking.

Less than two months after Beavers' murder, Fowler was arrested in Waurika and imprisoned for drunkenness in the Jefferson County Jail.  Three Crime Bureau Agents then fraudulently conspired to transport Fowler to Stephens County for interrogation.  They freed Fowler (by paying his fine) on condition he drive a supposedly drunk cellmate, who was actually an agent, to Stephens County.  Once in Stephens County, Fowler was arrested on bogus charges that were never filed.  He was then denied access to a magistrate and a lawyer, and interrogated under coercive conditions for 12 days.

Fowler eventually confessed to the murder of Beavers, but the County Attorney thought the confession was inconsistent with the facts.  Beavers was then required to give another confession, which was signed at 5 a.m., apparently after an all night grilling.  Even this confession was not regarded as sufficient and Beavers had to give two more before authorities were satisfied.

In 1960, Fowler was granted habeas corpus relief due to his coerced and illegal interrogation.  He presumably was released.  (Argosy)  [4/08]


Providence County, RI Scott Hornoff Aug 11, 1989

Jeffrey Scott Hornoff, a Warwick Police Detective, was convicted of bludgeoning to death Victoria Cushman with a fire extinguisher and a porcelain jewelry box.  Following the murder, Hornoff denied being anything other than friends with Cushman.  Detectives knew otherwise and Hornoff soon admitted that he had two sexual encounters with her.  Hornoff's alibi was that he was at a party with his wife and friends on the night of the murder.  People at the party confirmed his presence.  A grand jury considered the evidence, but did not indict him.

The Rhode Island State Patrol took over the investigation in 1991 and Hornoff was indicted in 1994.  At trial in 1996, the prosecution dismissed his alibi, saying he slipped away from the party and returned without anyone noticing his absence.  Hornoff's initial claim of only having been friends with Cushman was presented as evidence that he tried to cover-up the murder.  Hornoff was sentenced to life in prison and, in 1999, the Rhode Island Supreme Court unanimously rejected his appeal.

Realistically, it was time for Hornoff to abandon hope.  But then a miracle occurred.  On Nov. 1, 2002, Todd Barry walked into the attorney general's office and confessed to murdering Cushman.  Barry said he was consumed with guilt that an innocent man was serving time for a crime that he committed.  Barry's confession revealed how the murder investigation had focused exclusively on Hornoff.  Barry lived near Cushman, had dated her on and off, his name and number were near the front of her Rolodex, and he was known to her friends.  Yet he was never questioned about the murder, either by the Warwick PD, or by the state police.

Hornoff was soon released and cleared of all charges.  In 2006, Hornoff was awarded $600,000 plus $47,000 a year for life from the City of Warwick.  He may also be awarded additional money from the Rhode Island State Patrol.  (American Justice) (caught.net) (JD33 p10) (TruthInJustice) (TIJ2) (CrimeLibrary)  [7/07]


Grant County, WV Paul Ferrell Feb 17, 1988

Paul William Ferrell, a rookie sheriff's deputy, was convicted of the murder of Cathy Ford, a 19-year-old waitress from nearby Maryland. Her body has never been found and no one had ever seen her with Ferrell. Some time after Ford's disappearance, her boyfriend, Darvin Moon, discovered her badly burned truck 75 yards from Ford's trailer home. Some believed that the truck was burned elsewhere because there was no scorching on the vegetation surrounding the vehicle.

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Brown County, WI John Maloney Feb 10, 1998 (Green Bay)

John Maloney, a detective in the Green Bay PD, and an arson investigator, was convicted of strangling his estranged wife, Sandy, and setting her body on fire.  Maloney was a suspect because of their impending divorce, ongoing child custody battle, and history of domestic disputes.  Sandy was a heavy user of prescription pills and was very drunk at the time of her death.  She apparently tried to hang herself shortly before her death, but the cord broke causing her to bruise her head on a coffee table.  She then apparently started a fire by careless smoking or perhaps deliberately.  The state maintained that Maloney hit her on the head, strangled her, and then set a fire that was staged to look like the result of careless smoking.

Special prosecutor, Joe Paulus, (DA of Winnebago County), withheld evidence.  Initially the fire was labeled an accident but circular reasoning developed:  “The fire guys decided it must be an arson because it was murder.  The coroner decided it must be a murder because it was arson.”  (TruthInJustice) (Article 2 (Article 3) (48 Hours)  [11/05]


Eau Claire County, WI Evan Zimmerman Feb 26, 2000

Evan Zimmerman, a former Augusta, WI police officer, was convicted of murdering his former girlfriend, Kathleen Thompson.  Thompson had had a violent fight with her husband just hours after their wedding.  Following the fight, both were taken to the Eau Claire County Jail.  Thompson was last seen walking away from the jail at 3 a.m. and later was found strangled on a Eau Claire street.  Her husband was never considered a suspect as he was in jail at the time of her murder.  Zimmerman's conviction was based on allegedly inconsistent statements he gave to Eau Claire police about his whereabouts around the time of the murder.  None of Zimmerman's interrogations were taped.

Zimmerman's son, Shannon, said the alleged inconsistencies were due to his father being in an alcoholic haze at the time of the crime and during subsequent police interviews. He said the case against his father consisted of “out-of-context statements, misleading statements and very, very shaky facts.”  With the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, Zimmerman's conviction was overturned.  At retrial in April 2005, the prosecution's case did not proceed well, and in mid-trial the prosecutor asked the judge to throw out the case, saying he lacked the evidence to show “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Zimmerman had killed his former girlfriend.  The judge agreed and acquitted Zimmerman.  Zimmerman had served 3 1/2 years in prison for the crime.  (Wisconsin State Journal)  [1/08]


Milwaukee County, WI Laurie Bembenek May 28, 1981

Lawrencia Bembenek, also known as Bambi, was convicted of murdering Christine Schultz, her husband's ex-wife.  Bambi's husband Fred Schultz was a police officer as was his ex-wife.  Bambi had become a police officer and was stunned by the amount of graft going on in the department: officers selling pornography from their cars, accepting oral sex from hookers, frequenting drug hangouts, and harassing minorities.

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