Archived Volume 1 Issue 11 3/2000

It is better that ten guilty escape than one innocent suffer. -- Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780)

Table of Contents:   

Innocents on Death Row Watch:

Anthony Aponovitch

Anthony Apanovitch Tony Apanovitch has been sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. He is a victim of the most serious miscarriage of justice. By the time the federal courts decide whether to even address the merits of Apanovitch's allegations that the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and Cleveland Police Department withheld exculpatory evidence and misled the court, Apanovitch will have been incarcerated for more than fifteen years in jails and prisons in Ohio.

Philip Workman Philip Workman received a stay of execution on 4/4/2000 due in larger part to the activists involved and the extraordinary work on the part of Philip's attorneys.

Only The Governor Can Save Philip Workman For ten years, federal and state courts denied every defense attempt to hold an evidentiary hearing to judge proof of innocence, perjury, and official misconduct. Now, it is up to Governor Sundquist. Your letters may help stop the state-sanctioned murder of an innocent man. Recanted testimony and ballistic evidence says he is innocent, yet he is scheduled to be executed on April 6, 2000.
Read the update on Philip's story.

In Remembrance of Freddie Lee Wright

Ending the Reign of Death Requiem for Odell and All Murdered Innocents

Feature Stories:

crossBeware of being a "true believer." Paul Ingram believed, and it cost him his freedom. Paul Ingram's case gives new meaning to the term brainwashing. Convinced that he must have done this horrendous wrong because his beloved daughters said he did, Ingram was ripe to be slaughtered by the uncritical system, even after Dr. Ofshe proved he could create false memories for Paul.

Felito Mendoza: Rush To Vilification Felito Mendoza is in a Graterford, Pennsylvania prison for a sexual abuse crime he did not commit, even according to the tests that found him negative for the abuse. The child tested positive, but was being abused by her uncle -- the mother's brother -- and Felito was sacrificed. He was the "outsider," so the mother chose to protect her brother from punishment for the crime.

Kim Hricko Arsonist and Murderer? Or Innocent Wife? Kim Hricko admits that her marriage was not perfect, but says she would never kill her husband -- not even for $200,000 in insurance money.

Christopher Dunn The Cruelty of Injustice My name is Christopher Dunn. I am a living example of the cruelty of injustice. Imagine yourself arrested, convicted, sentenced to life without parole, and locked away -- for a crime you had no part in. This is my nightmare. I know that there are people in the free world who are capable of giving the help needed to restore my freedom. I pray that these people will read my story and have enough compassion to take action on my behalf.

Mike Hynes Mike Hynes: Juvenile Delinquent or Murderer? Mike Hynes never claimed to be a choirboy. Growing up in Chicago’s inner city, he joined the Simon City Royals gang, and by his mid-teens was well on his way to becoming a professional thief. But did he shoot and kill 14 year-old Anthony Bermudez, a member of the rival Gaylord gang? In spite of an incredibly weak case, a jury convicted Hynes of murder in 1985 -- but evidence his lawyer failed to introduce suggests he may be innocent.

Kenny RicheyThe Crime That Never Was "Even though this new evidence may establish Mr. Richey's innocence, the Ohio and United States Constitutions nonetheless allow him to be executed because the prosecution did not know that the scientific testimony offered at trial was false and unreliable." -- Prosecutor Dan Gershutz

Michael Pardue The Cycle of Injustice: The Story of Michael Pardue In 1973, just a few short years after Dylan's beat generation anthem was a national hit, Pardue was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison. In 1997, all charges against him were dropped. This story should have a happy ending by now but on the Richter scale of justice, this one is off the charts. In a logic-defying decision, Pardue remains behind bars for another crime: escape.

Justice Denied is elated to bring you THREE stories of innocents who are Free At Last: 

Free At Last ... Wilbert Thomas DNA testing clears another convicted "rapist"

Duval Was Freed, Retried, Then Finally Acquitted. Rogue Detective Mahoney beat a confession out of Duval, then beat and threatened Wright to falsely implicate Duval in a murder he never committed.

The 19-Year Ordeal of Dwayne McKinney: Injured and on Crutches 30 Miles Away From a Murder Is Finally Recognized as an Alibi On January 28, 2000, Dwayne McKinney was released after being exonerated of the 1980 murder of a restaurant manager in Orange, California. No physical evidence of McKinney's guilt was presented at his trial, and the jury ignored defense witnesses who said that the murder occurred while they were in the company of McKinney, 30 miles from the crime scene. The jury convicted him, relying on eyewitness testimony -- which turned out to be faulty.

Feature Articles:

The Innocent Executed It's not a question of whether or not our justice system is killing innocent people. It IS doing that. Mr. Kreuter prods the American conscience with the cases of those known to be most probably innocent, and now dead.

WHAT EVERY CATHOLIC SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT Justice: Denied Magazine is honored to present an article by Bishop Fiorenza about the Catholic Church stance on the death penalty. We thank Bishop Fiorenza and the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council for permission to reprint this article from Columbia Magazine in January 2000.

Under the right conditions, even you may be vulnerable to a false confession. Your memory can be twisted to believe something that never happened. What kind of person confesses to a crime he or she didn't do? Why do people confess when they're innocent? Police once used physical torture to extract confessions. That was outlawed, but new methods can be far subtler and much more effective. Bruce Robinson's article is highly educational.

The Beat Goes On: The Lessons of O.J. Continue To Be Ignored By Hans Sherrer, Guest Writer

Illinois Moratorium on Executions Commands World's Attention Governor Ryan's death penalty moratorium prods the nation's conscience as the debate moves to a new level.

That's Outrageous! Compiled by staff writer Anne Good

Justice Denied Review    "The Hurricane" reviewed for JD by Hans Sherrer.

From The Editor
Directly from the desk of Clara Thomas Boggs  Two editorials this month:
Wake up calls tell the world the U.S. Criminal Justice System doesn't work and Are we a grassroots movement, or an institution in the process of establishing itself?


Philip Workman

Nolan Klein

From the Editor:

Wake up calls tell the world the U.S. Criminal Justice System doesn't work

Are we a grassroots movement, or an institution in the process of establishing itself?

Wake up calls tell the world the U.S. Criminal Justice System doesn't work

It is easy to understand why the Los Angeles justice system is under attack after its Rampart Division scandal broke, but what we need to understand is that it is only the reflection of deeper problems all across the board and all across the country.

One governor, George Ryan of Illinois, bowing to the obvious after 13 death row residents were set free because of factual innocence, called a halt to executions in his state. Many feel that Ryan was cornered to make this decision. They cite his response to a request to call a summit of leaders to discuss the problems with the death penalty, after Anthony Porter was found innocent. "I don't see a need for a knee-jerk reaction at this point," Ryan said. It may be that Ryan felt he had no choice given the dismal track record, but other governors, notably Governor Bush of Texas, have been faced with similar facts and gone on presiding over executions of probably innocent people. For that reason alone, Governor Ryan is to be applauded and encouraged to spread his new message.

"Killer states" abound. You have only to read Mr. Billy Kreuter's entry this month about executed innocents to realize that every state that kills people is killing or may kill innocent people. There is no way for humans to be right one hundred percent of the time. In practice, we humans have a track record of being wrong about too many things to entrust life and death to us.

To us at JD, it is clear that our justice system must either be completely overhauled or replaced with something better. There are many movements in this direction. The restorative justice advocates say that a system of repaying society for crimes committed is a saner alternative to the increasingly repressive and punitive system we now have. They argue that healing what the crime has caused will make us stronger, pointing out that a cycle of vengeance can never end.

In Oregon, there is a Life For A Life grassroots initiative to remove the death penalty in Oregon and replace it with mandatory life without parole. It is now gathering signatures from registered voters (they need 115,000 by July 7) to qualify for the November general election. In other parts of the country, people are protesting police brutality and other excesses by the system.

We have been saying from the beginning that at some point American citizens will say, "No more!" That time draws nearer as the ordinary person learns more about what is happening in the once respected, but now discredited justice system.

Lend your voice and efforts to any of these efforts for reform. It is no longer a question of whether or not the system's flaws are affecting your life. They are, and the system will continue to make inroads on the integrity of our country until we call a halt to it.

Clara A. Thomas Boggs and

The Justice: Denied Staff

Are we a grassroots movement, or an institution in the process of establishing itself?

An interesting email crossed the editor's desk this month, saying, "I have never worked in a "grass roots" environment like you are developing..."

Up until the time I read that, I'd never considered JD a "grassroots" movement, but a magazine in the early stages of being developed. Perhaps, however, it's both.

We at JD certainly exhibit some of the characteristics of a movement, if by that definition is meant a group of people with reform in mind and is staffed by volunteers. If it also means that we struggle to keep it together, we most certainly fit that definition, notwithstanding dreams and plans for the future of a more established and effective organization. Given that all our volunteers already had demanding lives before becoming a part of JD, we have, nevertheless, been remarkably effective at becoming known throughout the United States and abroad.

Becoming more well known has brought us offers of all kinds almost daily, so many that we can't even respond to them all -- from legal help to translation services to replicate our efforts in other countries. If we had a physical reality in the sense of an office, we would have hired an officer manager by now. As it is, we are working out ways to distribute the work among ourselves. At the same time all this is going on, new people are joining us and they require orientation and help. Our hands are full, so our only option is to grow bigger.

The only limits to our growth are time and money. Our expenses have increased. To reprint older issues that are now greatly in demand has required that we hire help, since all the staff is volunteer and their time is taken by the work of each month. We have an outstanding bill from our attorney that must be paid to complete our non profit status, and there are ongoing costs of paying for Internet space, as well as phone calls used to consult with our story providers and each other.

Whether we are a grassroots organization or a magazine in the making, we are making a difference in the lives of many people. Now, prisoners who had no hope have some hope. However, it is only with your help that we will be able to answer their hopes with effective help. Please consider a tax-deductible gift to Justice Denied Magazine.

You have read the stories of those who reach out for help to prove their innocence month after month, and sometimes you've read of the rare successes.

Please help to make freedom a reality for more innocent people who never should have been convicted. This is a unique opportunity to be a true champion for the innocent, one we hope will warm your heart for years to come. There is simply no joy like that of knowing you have helped to right a wrong. Give joyfully and freely to make someone's world a better place because of you.

On behalf of the staff at Justice: Denied

Clara Alicia Thomas Boggs

Make your check payable to

Justice: Denied
c/o Nancy Williams
P.O. Box 23255
Pleasant Hill, Calif. 94523-0255

New Evidence in Philip Workman's Case

Philip Workman received a stay of execution on 4/4/2000 due in larger part to the activists involved and the extraordinary work on the part of Philip's attorneys.

By Stormy Thoming-Gale

There is tremendous controversy surrounding Philip Workman's upcoming execution. The issue under attack is the forensic evidence that supports the theory that the fatal bullet did not come from Philip's gun. A startling new discovery has caused Philip's attorneys to drop Philip's clemency bid in hopes that his case will be reopened.

Philip's lawyers found an X-ray. The X-ray, taken of the fatally wounded Lt. Oliver, was not given to Workman's lawyers, either before his trial in 1982 or in response to requests from his current lawyers, in 1990 and 1995, for all evidence pertaining to his case.

A copy of the X-ray was obtained after Shelby County's new medical examiner, Dr. O.C. Smith, referred to it in a report on his analysis of the ballistics evidence in the case. Workman's lawyers are now asking the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reopen his case -- four weeks before his scheduled execution -- The X-ray is significant because it shows the bullet that killed Oliver passed through his body without fragmenting, the attorneys said in the motion.

Experts have testified on Workman's behalf that the .45-caliber silver-tip, hollow-point bullets he fired that night would have expanded on impact. His attorneys say that because the exit wound on Oliver was actually smaller than the entrance wound, Workman could not have fired the fatal bullet.

"That X-ray was absent from the record for one reason: the Medical Examiner's Office suppressed it," the attorneys wrote yesterday in the motion to reopen the case.

John Campbell, assistant district attorney general in Shelby County, reportedly said that his office was not responsible for the X-ray and that questions about why it was not turned over should be directed to Smith. Campbell also said that to his knowledge, prosecutors were unaware of the X-ray until recently.

In 1995, Workman's attorneys got the federal court's authorization to subpoena information from the Shelby County medical examiner's office. The attorneys specifically asked for X-rays, among other information. The medical examiner turned over charts and reports, but did not share the X-ray.

In 1990, Workman's attorneys made a request under the state public records law for any document of any kind -- including photographs or "filmed matter" -- that pertained to his case.

In neither case did the medical examiner or prosecutors turn over the X-ray, nor is there any evidence they let Workman's attorneys know the X-ray existed.

This turn of events in Philip's case should get him a hearing in federal court, and perhaps a new trial. We will have to wait and see.

Source: The Tennesean

Nolan Klein Update

Featured in Justice Denied, Issue 9, Nolan Klein's case of a wrongful conviction for armed robbery and rape in Sparks, Nevada, has at last captured the attention of people who may be able to make a difference.

A brief recap of Nolan's case:

Nolan Klein was not at the scene of the rape when it occurred, and he was wrongly identified in spite of many physical differences. The victims said the suspect had brown or dark eyes, a 2 to 3-day-old beard stubble, chipped front teeth and smoked two cigarettes. Nolan Klein's beard was a full 2 to 3 inches at the time of the crime, nothing was wrong with his teeth and he has bright blue eyes. In spite of that, he was convicted and has spent over 12 years in prison. Nolan's champion has been his sister, Tonja Brown, who has relentlessly pursued justice for him.

Tonja's latest move was to get Nolan Klein's case before Governor Kenny Guinn of Nevada. The Governor told Keith Munroe, his Chief Legal Counsel to investigate the information that an innocent man in might be in prison. Tonja reports that Mr. Munroe said he would see what legal means the governors' office can use to get Nolan out of prison and is now reviewing the case.

Although Mr. Munroe could not commit to anything, he met Nolan in person and spent time with him, so he and his assistant were able to ascertain that Nolan didn't come close to the description of the composite sketch of the man the victims said committed the crime.

For now, Mr. Munroe suggests that Tonja have Nolan apply to the pardons board.

The pardons board will meet this coming June 2000. If Tonja is able to get Nolan's name on the list, an Associated Press reporter who has followed his story will write about Nolan's bid for freedom. Less than two dozen people are considered for the pardons board and they receive hundreds of applications. Because of this, letters to the pardons board would be helpful.

If you would like to easily help right this wrong, you may send letters to Tonja Brown both by email and regular mail, and Tonja will see that they are given to the Pardons Board.

Tonja Brown
2907 Lukens Lane
Carson City, NV, 89706


Write to Nolan at:

Nolan Klein # 28074
P.O. Box 607
Carson City, 89702

Please see Issue 9 in our archives for Nolan's full story.

Free At Last ... Wilbert Thomas

DNA testing clears another convicted "rapist"

Edited by Barbara McAtlin, JD Staff

U. S. Magistrate Jerry Hogg has found that West Virginia State Trooper Howard Myers deliberately committed perjury on the stand and sent an innocent man to prison for 12 1/2 years. Amazingly reminiscent of the widespread Fred Zain legacy, a top state lawyer has defended the trooper by calling him a valuable and trusted employee of the state. State police leaders say they plan to appeal Hogg's ruling even while they maintain that Myer is an honest trooper.

This case involved Wilbert Thomas, who moved with his family from Chicago, Illinois to Huntington, West Virginia in the 1980s so his wife could attend nursing classes at Marshall University. Thomas was accused of breaking into a student nurse's apartment and raping her in 1987. Thomas, who had no criminal record, was charged with both the rape and the burglary. Thomas' first trial ended in a conviction for burglary and a mistrial on the rape charge. At his second trial the burglary verdict was set aside and another mistrial was declared on the rape charge. Unfortunately, the third trial in 1990 brought convictions.

Myers, a specialist in the West Virginia State Police Crime Lab, then headed by Zain, testified that a "Lewis Test" had pointed to Thomas as being the woman's rapist. Even while Thomas declared his innocence, he was sentenced to 15 to 25 years in prison. The sentence tore his family apart -- his wife divorced him and his sons have grown up without their father.

New DNA testing proved that Thomas wasn't the rapist and Myers admitted to U.S. Magistrate Hogg that he had lied in court by testifying about serology tests that were never done in the Thomas case. He also admitted that it was a matter of division policy established by Zain that Lewis test results were testified to even if the test had never actually been done. Zain's dubious "policies" have led to at least six prisoners gaining their freedom and have cost the people of West Virginia millions of dollars in damages for wrongful imprisonment.

The rape victim was unable to identify her rapist but, at trial, prosecutors linked Thomas to a semen stain on her clothing as well as light bulbs from her apartment and from a neighbor's porch that they said bore his fingerprints. Thomas and his lawyers challenged this evidence and moved for the more modern DNA testing of body fluid evidence. Thomas and his wife stated at his trials that light bulbs were stolen from their home. Thomas' lawyers were able to win permission from the court for DNA testing. The lab said that the nightgown spot was too small to be tested but that a foreign genetic material on the vaginal swabs came from someone other than Thomas. The DNA testing excluded Thomas and the results prompted Hogg to recommend Thomas' release as well as the overturning of his conviction.

Federal Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. rejected the DNA findings, concluded that Hogg was mistaken about the evidence, and said that the new DNA findings prove nothing. He said that because the victim wasn't fully penetrated and that Trooper Myers testified in court that he hadn't found any semen on the vaginal swabs -- while on his written lab worksheet he writes "inconclusive" -- there was no proof of any foreign genetic material that could have come from any other rapist. This prompted Thomas' lawyers to call for an order for a simple additional microscope test of the vaginal swabs to determine if the foreign matter on them was indeed semen. They have also asked for Judge Copenhaver to reconsider his ruling.

This case is not over. A petition from prosecutors asked another judge to block Thomas' release because of conflicting state sentencing laws. Thomas' sentence was 15 to 25 years, with the time he served in jail to be credited toward his prison sentence. West Virginia law rewards good inmate behavior by reducing sentence lengths so Thomas had completed his sentence in 12 1/2 years. Lawyers for Thomas say that even though he has been released, they will continue their efforts to have his convictions overturned. So far, Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman has turned down requests by prosecutors to force Thomas to serve at least 15 years of the 15 to 25 year sentence.

Could it be that the real rapist is still out doing his dirty work while another man wasted 12 1/2 years of his life in prison for the crimes of another? Since the evidence surely finds Thomas completely innocent and wrongfully convicted for it, it would seem that he surely is innocent.

Duval Was Freed, Retried, Then Finally Acquitted.

Rogue Detective Mahoney beat a confession out of Duval, then beat and threatened Wright to falsely implicate Duval in a murder he never committed.

Free At Last: John Duval

By David Christopher Naylor Swanson

A Rochester, N.Y., man, John Duval, 47, was framed for a 1973 murder and given 25 years to life in February, 1974. His conviction was overturned in April 1999, and Duval was freed after nearly 26 years of wrongful imprisonment only to be tried again for the same crime. On Feb. 2, 2000, Duval was finally acquitted.

Duval worked as a prostitute in 1973. He and another prostitute, Betty Tyson, were accused of strangling Timothy Hawthorn, a 52-year-old Philadelphia businessman visiting Rochester. The police alleged that the motive for this act was robbery.

No physical evidence was produced. Duval and Tyson received sentences of 25 years to life after prosecutors presented confessions that the two say were beaten out of them by a detective named William Mahoney. Prosecutors also made use of the testimony of two teen-age runaways, Jon Jackson and Wayne Wright, who were jailed for seven months as witnesses.

Mahoney was investigated at least 10 times for allegedly abusing suspects. He resigned in 1980 after fabricating evidence against organized-crime members, and died in 1981.

In 1997, Wright recanted, saying that Mahoney had terrorized him and that he had lied, that he had never seen Duval or Tyson with the victim. Prosecutors then reported discovering a synopsis of a police interview with Jackson in which he, too, denied seeing Duval or Tyson with the victim.

A judge freed Tyson in May 1998, and Duval nearly a year later, ruling that police had illegally suppressed exculpatory evidence. The city of Rochester gave Tyson $1.2 million in compensation, but prosecutor Howard Relin decided to try Duval again.

Tyson, who received publicity and support over the years, maintained her innocence throughout her imprisonment. Duval twice admitted guilt to parole boards. "If you don't show remorse," he has been quoted as saying, "they're not going to let you go. I was very upset about it ... but I didn't have outside support, anybody saying 'We're trying to get you out, Johnny, just hold on.'"

With logic that defies understanding, prosecutors acted on the basis of Duval's confessions to parole boards, not only in the face of the unavoidable knowledge of how a confession can help a prisoner earn parole, but also in the face of a pertinent detail of Duval's confession: he said that both he and Tyson were guilty.

In January 2000, prosecutors told Duval that he would remain free if he pleaded guilty, thus giving up any chance at financial compensation. Duval replied that he would rather die in prison.

Duval's second trial began Jan. 20. On Jan. 27 Wright took the stand to say that his testimony in the previous trial had been a lie, that Mahoney had beaten him and threatened him with prosecution for murder if he didn't say what he was told to say. Wright also said that when he reentered court, he and Mahoney had run into First Assistant District Attorney Raymond Cornelius (now a New York state supreme court justice) who told Mahoney he knew about his tactics and didn't want to know what he had done to Wright.

Jackson refused to participate in the new trial.

Relin maintained that trying Duval twice was not double jeopardy because Duval had not established in his appeal that there was prosecutorial misconduct. Yet, Duval's conviction had been overturned on the grounds of police misconduct. If police and prosecutors know that they can continue trying someone as long as it was the police who buried exculpatory evidence, who will be surprised to learn that police pass less and less evidence along to prosecutors?

Duval sobbed when his acquittal was announced. A few relatives and friends shouted "Hallelujah!"

Sources: Associated Press, Democrat and Chronicle

The 19-Year Ordeal of Dwayne McKinney: Injured and on Crutches 30 Miles Away From a Murder Is Finally Recognized as an Alibi

By Hans Sherrer

Edited by Kira Caywood

On December 11, 1980, Walter Bell, the manager of an Orange, California Burger King, was murdered during a robbery that netted $2,500. Assisted by police detectives, the four Burger King workers who witnessed the murder identified Dwayne McKinney as the killer.

From the time he was first questioned, six days after the crime, Dwayne McKinney claimed he was an innocent victim of mistaken identity.

Several witnesses at McKinney's 1982 trial testified that they were with him at his Ontario home when the murder took place. McKinney's home was located

30 traffic-congested miles from the Burger King in Orange. The witnesses also claimed that at the time of the murder, McKinney had a leg injury and could walk only aided by crutches. However, the prosecutor used thinly veiled racist comments to denigrate the credibility of these witnesses, who were all low-income African-Americans.

There was absolutely no physical evidence linking McKinney to the robbery or the murder, and he didn't fit the killer's physical description that witnesses gave to police at the crime scene. The prosecution's entire case against him was the testimony of the four restaurant workers, who fingered him as "the man."

The four witnesses who identified McKinney are white. McKinney is black. It is well known that cross-racial eyewitness identification, particularly in high-stress situations, is fraught with inaccuracies and highly unreliable without corroborating evidence. The testimony of the witnesses, who underwent the trauma of seeing their manager killed, was further impacted by a detective who falsely led them to believe McKinney had confessed to the crime.

During jury deliberations, one juror held out to acquit McKinney. The other eleven jurors finally wore her down, and McKinney was convicted. However, the jurors didn't vote unanimously to sentence him to death, so he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

McKinney had every reason to give up hope of ever being released from prison.

Then, in 1997, a prison inmate wrote a "miraculous" letter to the Orange County public defenders' office. The inmate explained that he knew who had been involved in the Burger King heist, and that McKinney had nothing to do with it. The letter named the two men involved in the crime -- the getaway car driver and the gunman who killed Walter Bell.

During the ensuing investigation, the driver admitted his role in the robbery, and confirmed that McKinney was not connected with the crime. Also, two of the restaurant workers recanted their identification of McKinney as the killer.

The Orange County public defenders' office spent more than two years reconstructing the crime, re-interviewing all surviving witnesses, and building the case for McKinney's innocence.

By January of 2000, the evidence in favor of McKinney's innocence was so overwhelming that the Orange County District Attorney agreed to seek an order overturning his conviction, and Superior Court Judge Kazuharu Makino ordered McKinney's immediate release from the state prison in Lancaster.

On January 28th, Dwayne McKinney was a free man. He had been wrongly imprisoned for over 19 years.

Karen Sue McKusick, the lone juror who believed in McKinney's innocence but was badgered into voting guilty, said after his release, "I had a lot of guilt about not going with my gut instinct. I'm thrilled to death that he's out, but I'm sad that he had to waste all those years behind bars. I'm sorry it was my hand in this. We just have to hope Mr. McKinney will forgive us."

"I'm stunned," was the reaction of Denise Gragg, after hearing of McKinney's release. Gragg was the assistant public defender who filed McKinney's motion for a new trial in September of 1999. Though elated, Gragg wondered, "How many more innocent victims of the system are waiting on death row ... Any system in which the result is left to human beings is a system which is going to make errors."

The two former Burger King workers who recanted their testimony expressed relief at McKinney's release, but said they felt guilty because their mistaken testimony helped convict him in the first place.

Prosecuting attorney Rackauckas, who originally sought to have McKinney executed without a shred of physical evidence indicating his guilt, said that McKinney's case had done nothing to alter his support for the death penalty.

Indeed, McKinney was spared from execution only because the jury didn't support Rackauckas' request for a death sentence.

Dwayne McKinney, now 39, is living with friends in Costa Mesa, California while he adjusts to life on the outside.


"18 Years Later, Man Freed in O. C. Murder," Jack Leonard and Daniel Yi (staff writers), Los Angeles Times, January 29, 2000, p. A1.

"From jury box to witness stand, joy felt over McKinney's release," Bill Rams and Stuart Pfeifer (staff writers), Orange County Register, January 29, 2000.

"Reporter looks back on trial of McKinney," Staff, Orange County Register, January 29, 2000.

"Time turned out to be McKinney's savior: If prosecutors had secured the death penalty against him, he'd be dead by now," Tony Saavedra and Stuart Pfeifer (staff writers), Orange County Register, January 29, 2000.

©Justice: Denied

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