Framed For Rape? - The Michael J. Floyd Story

By Michael J. Floyd

Edited by Barbara Jean McAtlin, JD Staff

Justice:Denied magazine, Issue 24, page 6

When former Lawrence County Circuit Court Judge Linda Chezem sentenced Michael J. Floyd to prison in November 1983, it was the longest sentence ever handed down in Bedford, Indiana. Floyd, who to this day maintains his innocence, received a 110-year sentence for conspiracy, confinement and rape. Ironically, Chezem gave Floyd credit for having no prior record. This credit saved him from being sentenced to the maximum sentence of 120 years. Under Indiana law, Floyd receives one day of credit for each day of good behavior. With good behavior, the minimum actual time he will spend in prison will be 55 years.

The rape occurred in the early morning hours of July 13, 1983. The victim, Lori Quackenbush, had just finished her second shift job at Stone City Products in Bedford and walked to her car. She opened her car door and the dome light failed to come on. She reached into the back seat and Ron Deckard, who was wearing a blue toboggan, sat up and started talking to her. (Approximately one week earlier, Deckard, Floyd and Rob Smith had come to her place of work and they engaged in general conversation for about twenty minutes.) On July 13, 1983, Deckard asked Quakenbush to meet friends and to drive to State Road 446. She refused to do so because of the late hour but as she drove him past a high school he pulled a pellet gun on her and grabbed her around the neck. Holding the gun on her, Deckard told her to drive toward State Road 446 and told her that if she cooperated she would be okay. After Lori turned onto State Road 446 and had driven approximately one mile, Deckard told her to pull over.

... the blood type of the semen found on Lori’s panties was type A. My blood type, as well as the victim’s, is type O.

After Lori stopped the car along the roadside, Deckard handcuffed her and told her to lay facedown on the seat. He then got out of her vehicle and walked back to a trailing car and talked to someone whom Lori could not identify. Deckard then came went back to Lori’s car, placed his blue toboggan over her face and put her in the trunk of her car. He drove off yelling that they were going to Kentucky. Along the way Deckard had Lori in and out of the trunk several times. He  then drove to a secluded farm which had once belonged to his grandfather just south of the town of Bloomington, Indiana, .

Once they were at the farm, Deckard took Lori from the trunk and unfastened her pants. Lori testified that Deckard mumbled to someone else and then took off her pants and underwear and pushed her onto a blanket. Someone then came over to her, she heard pants unzipping and someone tried to get on top of her. Lori testified that she thought she recognized the voice that told Deckard, “Take the handcuffs off her.”

At trial, Lori testified, “I thought I recognized the voice and I said, ‘Is that you, Mike?’ I was meaning Mike Floyd. The other guy acted startled and said, ‘Mike? Mike who? Who do you mean?’ “ The person on top of Lori supposedly said, “I don’t know you, I’ve never seen you before. What is your name?” Lori told him her name and then asked her assailant his name and was told “Never mind, I don’t have a name.”

After the rape, Deckard helped Lori get up, then he dressed her and put her in her car. Lori testified that Deckard kissed her twice, drove her car down the hill and told her to lie down in the car and count to twenty. She didn’t recognize the other car, which was being driven away, but she knew she was somewhere south of Bloomington.

Lori then drove home and woke her parents who called the sheriff. She then went to Dunn Memorial Hospital in Bedford. She was examined by Dr. Gareth Morgan. Prior to any conversation with police, Lori told her story to Morgan and his nurse. Dr. Morgan wrote it out in his own hand. Her story of the incident covered eleven pages in the doctor’s handwriting. She told him that the rapist did not speak. The doctor’s notes recorded, “She was told what to do during the rape by the first man with the gun.” (Deckard).

The lack of consistency between Lori’s first statement taken by the doctor at the hospital and her trial testimony is obvious. My public defender, Pat McSoley, did not ask the victim, Dr. Morgan, or a female witness to the rape examination, about the statement the doctor had taken. In a deposition, McSoley identified the whole statement as being a part of a discovery packet he had received prior to trial, but he did not recall this statement -- the statement that contradicted the victims’ in-court identification.

An FBI report dated September 13, 1983, shows that the blood type of the semen found on Lori’s panties was type A. My blood type, as well as the victim’s, is type O. The report lists several other blood tests as inconclusive. Although the lab report was available in 1983, my original attorney, McSoley, testified in February of 1997, he didn’t bring it to the jury’s attention because he thought it was inconclusive. After talking with prosecutor Don Hickman, McSoley also thought I was a non-secretor. The FBI report clearly shows that I am a secretor. This means I am capable of having my ABO blood group typed by analysis of bodily substances other than blood. McSoley did no research on the blood grouping results from the semen test, consulted no written materials, and was not aware I had been excluded by the sample. McSoley had no experience with any cases involving ABO grouping. He did not consult with an expert or the FBI laboratory that did the analysis. He recalled Hickman telling him the results were inconclusive. Hickman testified he recognized the exclusion of me in the semen sample but had no duty to interpret the results for defense counsel. His duty was only to turn the reports over to the defense.

According to a deposition from P. Michael Conneally, an Indiana University medical geneticist, it is impossible for me to have been the source of type A sperm. An FBI report on Ron Deckard, who confessed to his participation in the crime, but not the rape, shows he has type A blood. Deckard testified against me and accepted a 30-year plea agreement for conspiracy and confinement. He was released from prison in April 1999 after serving 15 years.

Until my trial, Deckard had seen me only three to five times over the years, and had argued with me on at least one of those occasions. Deckard said he was at my house around 6:30 on the evening of the rape. When I left for work a short time later, Deckard’s car wouldn’t start so I dropped him off at his house. After work that night, around 10:15 p.m., I picked him up again to help him try to get his car started. Deckard could not get the car going. We left in my car around 11:00 p.m. I drove Deckard home and returned home about 11:20 p.m. My father testified he saw my car leave around 11:00 p.m. and head north towards Deckard’s house. Deckard said we went south to Bedford, drove downtown, and then went to where Lori worked.

Deckard also accused me of masterminding the rape. He said that I was wearing a maroon toboggan that he saw me throw along the highway as I drove him home. The toboggan used in the crime was blue. Deckard put the pellet gun and handcuffs into the blue toboggan and hid them in some weeds down the alley from his house. Deckard led police to the blue toboggan and its contents. He also showed them where in the weeds along the highway they could find my maroon toboggan and then led police to his grandfather’s old farm. My toboggan turned up missing from my garage after Deckard had visited the evening before. The state called a special agent with the FBI laboratory to testify regarding hair analysis. He testified that hair in my toboggan could have belonged to me. Deckard’s blue toboggan was not tested, but presumably it would have contained Deckard’s hair and perhaps Lori’s, as well.

Pat McSoley also erred by not calling my mother during the defense phase of my trial. My mother, Ruth Floyd, saw me asleep in bed at 1:17 a.m. She woke up to go to the bathroom and looked at her clock radio. She then went into my room which was right next to hers. She saw me and turned off my light and radio. On the morning of the trial, McSoley told my mom she could go on into the courtroom because he had decided against using her as a witness. Midway through Deckard’s testimony, McSoley decided that my mom could help rebut some of his testimony. At that point, Judge Chezem refused to allow her testimony because she had inadvertently violated a separation of witness order by sitting in on previous proceedings. My mom had seen Deckard “messing around” in our garage where my toboggan was kept. According to her report to Dr. Morgan, Lori did not arrive home until 3:00 a.m.

Molad Bridgewaters, an Indiana University police officer, had known Deckard for four years and was familiar with his bad reputation in the community. He also knew that Deckard was a compulsive liar. Two weeks after my arrest, while I was out on bond, I offered to take a polygraph test. McSoley took me to a regional polygraph center in Louisville, Kentucky, for testing. I passed. Three months later, by request of prosecutor Hickman, I was asked to take another test at the Bloomington Police Department. I was asked to sign a stipulation that if I passed the polygraph I could walk away, there would be no trial. However, if I failed, the polygraph results would be used against me in court. I signed. I trusted the system and I gave them all the ammunition they needed. I signed and I failed; however it was noted that when I arrived at the testing center, my attorney wasn’t there and I was so upset that I broke out in hives before the test.

During my sentencing hearing, Janet Collins testified that I raped her in January 2, 1983. She and her boyfriend, Scott Davis, had identified me from a lineup. Collins testified that she and Davis were leaving the Bluebird Café in downtown Bloomington when a man with a gun forced them to drive him to a mall then to the Lake Monroe area. Once in the Lake Monroe area, he forced Davis out of the car and ordered Collins to drive on. The man who she identified as “Floyd,” then told her to stop the car, ordered her to disrobe, tied a rope around her neck and hands, put a knife to her throat and raped her. After he was finished he put her in the trunk of her car which is where a Lawrence County Deputy Sheriff found her. Davis testified that I threatened to kill the couple numerous times and had a gun cocked at the back of Davis’ head. Davis testified that after he was forced from the car by me he ran for help.

I was never tried or convicted in the second rape. I obtained discovery material from Monroe Circuit Court Judge Douglas R. Bridges in June 1995 by merely writing a letter. The FBI report in that case was able to type only a vaginal washing for an ABO group. That blood type was also A. Back in 1983, Pat McSoley made no effort to obtain the Monroe County case material prior to sentencing -- even though he knew a week beforehand that prosecutor Hickman was going to have a lineup and try to use the Collins case at my sentencing hearing. Bloomington Police Sgt. Barbara Webb had forwarded copies of her case file to prosecutor Hickman in Lawrence County, but this was not given to defense counsel, nor did McSoley ask Hickman what he had. Fingerprints, hair samples, and other bits of hard evidence were obtained which Webb believed would trace to the perpetrator. None matched me. McSoley was not aware that shortly after the rape, Janet Collins and Scott Davis were shown a photo spread containing a picture of me taken after my arrest in Lawrence County. Neither witness identified me as the rapist. Four months later, McSoley was at the lineup arranged by prosecutor Hickman. McSoley heard Webb tell the witnesses as the subjects moved into the room that the man they suspected in their case was present. At the sentencing hearing, McSoley did not object to the lineup identification as having been tainted by the officer’s comments. He did testify at my post-conviction relief hearing that he did not know whether he could object on that ground or not, nor did he research the issue. McSoley was not aware that not only was the lineup tainted by the detectives comment, but that it was doubly tainted by the fact that I was the only subject who had been twice placed before the witnesses in a lineup or photo spread. It was not hard for the two witnesses to identify the suspect they were told was present. He was the only man the detective put in front of them twice.

After my February 1997 Post-Conviction Relief hearing, the state gathered additional evidence to try to undercut the significance of the semen exclusionary evidence. Over objection, Lori Quackenbush’s deposition was admitted into evidence in lieu of testimony at a May 1997 hearing. She testified that mid-morning, July 10, 1983, she had sexual intercourse with her boyfriend. She said the only birth control she and her boyfriend used were condoms. This use was sporadic; sometimes they used condoms, sometimes not. On July 10, 1983, to “her recollection,” they did not use a condom. She could not recall her menstrual cycle on July 10, 1983. She said she had bathed between July 10th and July 12th and that when she bathed, she washed her private areas. She had also changed her underwear between those dates. This evidence came to light because former prosecutor Donald Hickman had contacted Lori. It was Hickman who asked her questions about her former boyfriend and her sexual relations with him. Lawrence Circuit Court Judge Richard McIntyre denied my request for a new trial based on Lori’s new deposition.
The very evidence presented above points to the need for a presentation of the entire case to a jury for deliberation. The state’s own doctor agreed the more likely donor would be the rapist rather than the boyfriend. I requested Judge McIntyre to order DNA testing, but Hickman had ordered the samples destroyed in December 1995.

Information in this story came from three records of court proceedings and can be verified by looking under Lawrence Circuit Court, Case No. 47C018307CF20, in Bedford Indiana. My last attorney was Jess Paul. He filed petitions for successive post-conviction, an appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals and to the Indiana Supreme Court. Post-conviction relief was denied by the Lawrence Circuit Court. All appeals on the state court level have been exhausted. Jess Paul does not practice law in the federal courts. I hope to find someone willing to file a writ of habeas corpus.

Michael Jay Floyd can be contacted at:

Michael Jay Floyd #29443
Wabash Valley Correctional Facility

PO Box 1111
Carlisle, IN 47838

Outside Contact:
Ruth Floyd
8231 South Old State Road 37
Bloomington, Indiana 47403
(812) 824-2437

Attorney Jess Paul can be contacted at:
One Virginia Avenue, Ste 700
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 632-4463 office
(317) 631-1199 fax