Chad Evans Wrongly Convicted

Other Convicted Innocents: Exonerated and Claiming Innocence.

A. Other Convicted Innocents - relating to the case of Chad Evans in some way.

1.  Nationwide

      a. Exonerated

      b. claiming innocence (see "Related Websites", too)

      c.  cases where prosecutors have proactively

           re-investigated claims of wrongful conviction.

2. New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine

      a. Exonerated

      b. claiming innocence (see "Related Websites", too)

1.  Nationwide

   a. Exonerated

 The Innocence Project ( has documented the exoneration of 275 people since 1989, primarily through the use of DNA testing. For more information about the tragedy, enormity and shocking frequency of convictions of the innocent in the U.S., see the Web site of Truth In Justice, a non-profit organization. (

Another good source is an April, 2004 study from the University of Michigan of 328 single exonerations (not counting those caused by serial rogue police) from 1989 through 2003.  It's "EXONERATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES 1989 THROUGH 2003" by Professor Samuel Gross and Ph.d or J.D. candidates: Kristen Jacoby, Daniel Matheson, Nicholas Montgomery and Sujata Patil.

Noteworthy individual cases include:

Central Park Five. (Wikipedia entry)  In 1990 five New York City teenagers, Anton McCray, Kevin Richardson, Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam and Raymond Santana, Jr. were convicted of assaulting and raping the woman who was known as the "Central Park Jogger."  In 2002, those convictions were vacated after DNA evidence showed that another single man was responsible for the crimes. By this time, all five had completed their sentences.  In 2011, Sarah Burns wrote the book, The Central Park Five, about the case, and she and her father, Ken Burns, are working on a documentary.  Also in 2011, Raymond Santana became a supporter of Chad Evans's Campaign for Justice.

Chad read Sarah Burns's book and wrote seven pages of notes  about justice and the similarities with his case.

Marty Tankleff, of Bell Terre, Long Island, New York. Marty Tankleff had just turned 17 when he was arrested for killing his parents, Seymour and Arlene Tankleff, in their home on Long Island, NY. Based on a dubious, unsigned "confession" extracted from him following hours of interrogation by a detective with a questionable background, Marty was convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life, and has already served 17 years in maximum security prisons for a crime he did not commit. Now, based on extraordinary new evidence of Marty's innocence and others' guilt tracked down by a private investigator, Marty's case is...." now going to be retried. See "Jailed 17 Years, Long Island Man [Marty Tankleff] Gets Second Trial" - by Bruce Lambert, in the New York Times .  He was released in the summer of 2008, and the prosecutors announced that they would not prosecute Marty again.  See "Links to Articles".

West Memphis 3.  The West Memphis Three were teenagers in 1993 when three six-year old boys were murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas.  Their website is  As of the end of 2009, the "3" were still in prison, but their supporters are hopeful for justice. See "Links to Articles".

    The three men were freed on August 19, 2011 after a8 years in prison. See New York Times story, "Deal Frees ‘West Memphis Three’ in Arkansas"

    b. Nationwide - Claiming Innocence

Kathy Henderson, Texas.  On January 21, 1994 Kathy was babysitting for three month old Brandon. She was playing "helicopter" with him, and struck her foot on a sharp object and dropped Brandon, who died from his injuries. Kathy panicked and buried Brandon's body. She was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Now, medical experts including Dr. John Plunkett (Affidavit), Dr. Kenneth Monson, (Letter) Dr. Peter Stephens (Affidavit) and Dr. Janice Ophoven (Letter) have supported Kathy's version of Brandon's death and lawyers are seeking relief in the courts.  A Texas court is currently considering her Motion for Habeas Corpus.

Billy Wayne Cope, Rock Hill, South Carolina.  Billy Cope was convicted of murdering his 12-year old daughter, Amanda, in the family home in 2001. After police interrogation, he confessed, but many believe it was a false confession. See the summary of the case at the website.  The Cope case was recently featured on the NBC program, "Dateline," where Chad Evans saw it on Jule 2010. Click the link to the program, "The mystery in Rock Hill"

Troy A. Davis, Savannah, Georgia.  Davis was convicted of a 1989 killing of Police Officer Mark MacPhail who intervened to try to stop a fight between the homeless Larry Young and Sylvester Coles, who was trying to take Young's beer and was pistol whipping him.

Davis was convicted by the testimony of 9 witnesses, including Coles.  Seven of those witnesses have recanted, but Davis is still scheduled for execution.  On Monday, 16 July, 2007, he sought clemency from the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.

See New York Times, 15 July 2007, "As Execution Nears, Last Push from Inmates's Supporters."

In 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that the U.S. District Court in Georgia consider Troy Davis's claim of innocence.

On September 21, 2011, Troy Davis was executed by the State of Georgia. 

Richard LaPointe, West Hartford, Connecticut.  LaPointe was convicted of the 1987 rape and murder of his wife's grandmother.  Two years after the crime, he was questioned by police until 1:30 a.m. during which time he had signed three inconsistent confessions.  His approximately 25 current supporters, the "Friends of Richard Lapointe" have worked tirelessley for his freedom and have obtained a hearing in Superior Court for a retrial.  See the New York Times, 15 July, 2009 "Not a DNA Case, but many Supporters Who Say a Convicted Murderer is Innocent."   See the website,

Erick Westervelt, convicted in 2005 of murder in New York State.  At the time of the killing of Timothy Gray, Erick was at home with his family, watching television.

For a summary of the case see the 2007 appellate denial.

      c.  cases where prosecutors have proactively

           re-investigated claims of wrongful conviction.

Tejpal Singh.  in prison for 11 years, so far, for a drive-by killing.  See September 23, 2011 New York Daily News article about District Attorney re-investigation of case:"Queens DA to launch 'full investigation' into wrongful conviction in 1996 drive-by shooting"  See also September 18, 2011 article:  "Tejpal Singh case: Details about 1996 drive-by murder prove major holes in DA's prosecution"  As with so many of the wrongful conviction cases, eye witness identification was a major source of the conviction.


2. New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine

      a. Exonerated

   There have not been any recent exonerations of wrongfully convicted people in the three Northern New England states due to the clear evidence of DNA.  There have been exonerations, though not always as clearly as can be done with DNA.


     1. 1878, (exonerated 1901)  Oliver Cromwell, and David Stain. Murder, Life in prison

     2. 1901, (1923),  Henry J. Lambert Murder, Life in prison

     3.  1937. (??) Francis Carroll and Paul Dwyer were convicted in Maine of the 1937 murder of Dr. James Littlefield.  Both were ultimately exonerated.  See 1958 APPEAL of Paul Dwyer, and 1952 REPORT TO LEGISLATURE by Special Asst. Atty. General James Archibald.

     4. 1952, ( )Edward Hodsdon, Sexual Assault, 15 Years


  New Hampshire

     1. 1656, (1938). Eunice Cole was exonerated posthumously in 1938 of her conviction in 1656 of Witchcraft.  See ARTICLE about the vote of the Town of Hampton:  " Resolved: that we, the citizens of the town of Hampton in town meeting assembled, do hereby declare that we believe Eunice (Goody) Cole was unjustly accused of witchcraft and of familiarity with the devil."

    2. 2005, (2008)  Roland Chretien. On July 8, 2008, the U.S. District Court for New Hampshire ORDERED the release of Roland Chretien. On September 23, 2008, the court issued its OPINION granting Chretien's Petition for  Habeas Corpus.  Chretien had been convicted in 2005 of sexual assault on a woman, but his efforts to introduce evidence that the alleged victim had falsely accused another man of the same forced sexual act were denied. Chretien's appeal to the NH Supreme Court was denied with this August 11, 2006 OPINION.  This exoneration is now listed on the National Registry of Exonerations at Roland Chretien.

     3.  2006, (2009).  Joshua Shepard. On May 29, 2009 the New Hampshire Supreme Court overturned Joshua Shepard's three negligent Homicide convictions. Citing the Chad Evans appeal  of 2003, the court overturned Shepard's convictions because the evidence did not warrant assigning criminal liability to an accidental fatal accident.  The court said,

To prevail upon his challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, the defendant must prove that no rational trier of fact, viewing all of the evidence and all reasonable inferences from it in the light most favorable to the State, could have found guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. STATE VS EVANS, 150 N.H. 416, 424 (2003). When the evidence is solely circumstantial, it must exclude all rational conclusions except guilt. Id. Under this standard, however, we still consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the State and examine each evidentiary item in context, not in isolation. Id. [emphasis added] STATE VS. JOSHUA SHEPARD

     4. 2012 Exoneration of Roger Leveille of Nashua from 5-10 year prison term for assault. See "Forensics evidence allows Hudson man to put five-year ordeal behind him" in the Nashua Telegraph.

After being charged with attempted murder, Roger Leveille was convicted in 2008 of first and second degree assault and sentenced to 5-10 years in prison. The background was that he had an argument with his brother-in-law whom he shot.  The jury rejected his claim of accident and convicted him beyond a reasonable doubt.  The NH Supreme Court rejected Leveille's initial appeal in its opinion on August 19, 2010.  (State v. Leveille, 160 NH 630 (2010))
Subsequently, forensic tests were done and it was found that the power burns on the victim's clothing indicated that the shooting was at much closer range then the victim had testified.  Leveille's conviction was vacated, apparently by a Motion for New Trial to the Superior Court.  Pending a new trial, Leveille plead guilty to the lesser charge of "reckless conduct" and was sentenced to his time served in prison, which was about three years.



      1. 1812, (1819)  Jesse and Stephen Boorn.  The first documented wrongful

conviction case in the United States involved a snitch. The case arose in Manchester, Vermont, in 1819. Brothers Jesse and Stephen Boorn were suspected of killing their brother-in-law, Russell Colvin. Jesse was put into a cell with a forger, Silas Merrill, who would testify that Jesse confessed. Merrill was rewarded with freedom.
The Boorn brothers were convicted and sentenced to death but saved from the gallows when Colvin turned up alive in New Jersey. See SUMMARY OF CASE at website of Northwestern Univ. Center for Wrongful Convictions.

      b. claiming innocence (see "Related Websites", too)


1989  Dennis Dechaine, Bowdoinham, Maine.  Dennis was convicted of the 1988 rape and murder of the 12 year-old Sarah Cherry.  He had no previous acquaintance with Sarah Cherry, but his alibi for the day was that he was in the nearby woods using amphetamines.  DNA found underneath Sarah Cherry's thumbnails does not belong to Dennis Dechaine, and he has been seeking justice since that discovery in 1993. The Innocence Project began representing Dennis in 1993, and he would have been exoneree #15, if the State of Maine had seriously considered the importance of the DNA and other exculpatory evidence. Since then, over 230 others have been exonerated thanks to DNA evidence, including DNA underneath victims' fingernails.  See his website at 


New Hampshire

1973  Robert Breest.  Robert Breest was convicted in 1973 of the 1971 murder of Susan Randall in Manchester, New Hampshire. He was sentenced to life in prison, and is currently serving his sentence in Massachusetts.  He has maintained his innocence continuously and rejected a 1996 offer of parole because he would not acknowledge his guilt.  In the 2000's he sought to prove his innocence through DNA testing with the Assistance of the New England Innocence Project(NEIP). (See NEIP INFORMATION about Breest case.)  Those tests failed to exonerate him. See the New Hampshire Dept. of Justice Media Release of 27 March 2008.

2004  Brian R. Chevalier.  Brian was convicted in 2004 of kidnapping a former girlfriend, but was acquitted of other charges.  In 2010, there were new efforts to secure a new trial with evidence that the former girlfriend's statements about the incident were false. The evidence included a Content Analysis using the SCAN techniques of John Healy.  See 28 February 2010 Nashua Telegraph article, "New Trial sought for kidnap convict."

2009 Barion Perry.  He was convicted in 2009 of an "unauthorized taking," i.e. theft, and is now challenging the eye witness identifications in his trial with an appeal/Petition for Certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. See U.S. SUPREME COURT BLOGThe U.S. Supreme Court ruled against him in a January 12, 2012 decision, Perry v. New Hampshire.

2011.    Free Ward Bird. This is a website dedicated to Ward Bird who was

imprisoned in New Hampshire in November, 2010 for a minimum of three

years for criminal threatening. The conviction arose from his 2006 defense

of his property rights when he brandish his handgun when telling a

trespasser to leave his property.   It's presented here as an example of how

citizens can and should be involved in correcting mistakes in the justice system. Ward Bird was released from prison on February 2, 2011, after the NH Executive Council commuted his sentence.