Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Let's Help out our Navy Brothers..

I have recently been informed of this situation through some other officers- and think all of us Milbloggers should try and bring some assistance where we can. Four Sailors were accused, tried, and convicted of raping and murdering a woman in Norfolk, Virginia. All of them "confessed" to the crime under the interrogation of an infamous policeman who is now convicted and facing jail himself for breaking the law (official corruption and making false statements to the FBI) in another case. Shockingly, none of the "confessions" actually matched the crime, none of them matched one another, and several sailors gave confessions that contradicted their earlier confessions: one confessed to beating the victim, when she was actually stabbed and strangled; some confessed to sex acts that didn't actually happen; some of them claimed the crime occurred in the wrong location; one claimed they broke into the apartment by forcing the door open using a claw hammer when there was actually no sign of forced entry; etc. Still worse, the same prosecutor tried all four guys. Most shocking, none of the sailors DNA matched and the crime scene cried out that this was a single-offender crime, not a gang rape. To top it all off, the actual murderer (already in jail for two other violent assaults against women, including the rape of a 14 year old girl) came forward, his DNA matched that found on/in the victim, and he has sworn under oath that he committed the crime by himself. So, the appeals began. Unfortunately, it is VERY hard to undo a conviction based on a confession, and basically impossible if the habeas clock has run out and claims of judicial nullification on the basis of actual innocence are extremely difficult. Governor Kaine of Virginia let the N4 out of prison with a partial pardon, but they're still tagged with the sex offender yoke and other problems. They should receive a full pardon and the current Governor McDonnell should vacate their false convictions. Let's try and make it happen!


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