Monday, 9 February 2015

Kevin Lee Green: Semper fidelis*

Sunday, September 30, 1979. Tustin, Orange County, California. 01:05 am. 21-year-old Marine Corporal Kevin Lee Green leaves his home shortly after one o'clock in the morning. He has been arguing with his 20-year-old wife, Dianna, who is in the ninth month of her pregnancy.

This was not the couple's first argument. Tustin police had intervened on several occasions when arguments had escalated to physical confrontations.

On this particular Sunday morning Kevin decides to defuse the situation by going out and getting a couple of burgers from the local Jack in the Box. However, instead of going to the outlet across the street from his apartment, he drives to a Jack in the Box more than fifteen minutes away.

This spur of the moment decision will change his life forever.

At 01:35 am, warm burgers in hand, Kevin arrives back at his apartment. His first concern is that the door to the apartment is ajar. He enters and calls out Dianna's name. The only noise he can hear is what he later describes as a snorting or snoring sound coming from the bedroom. He enters the bedroom to find his wife lying on the bed among a tangle of blood-stained sheets.

Dianna Green had been raped, strangled and hit on the forehead with a blunt object. At first, Kevin thinks his wife has been shot in the head, but it later turns out that the object she was hit with contained a nail or a bolt which caused a bullet-like entry wound to the middle of her forehead.

Kevin checks to see if his wife is still alive. She is. Barely. Police and ambulance arrive within minutes and Dianna is transported to hospital. Doctors detect a faint fetal heartbeat, but Dianna's head injuries are so severe doctors believe that an immediate caesarean section would endanger the lives of both mother and baby. Twenty-four hours later, doctors remove a baby girl from Dianna, but are unable to save her. Dianna lapses into a coma.

Kevin remains by her side.

With very little evidence recovered from the crime scene and no signs of a forced entry to the apartment, police investigators zero in on Kevin Green as the prime suspect. They ask him about the volatile nature of his marriage to Dianna. Had he ever struck his wife during an argument?

Yes. They were both responsible for physical confrontations, but they were now trying to reconcile their differences and Kevin hoped that the arrival of their baby girl would help the marriage recover.

On the night Dianna was attacked did she deny him sex?

Yes. But it wasn't a big issue.

Nevertheless, did they argue about that?


What did they argue about?

Something and nothing. It was just a trivial argument. One of many.

They don't believe him. Police investigators are relentless. The questioning goes on for several hours. They are convinced Kevin brutally attacked his wife after losing control. They think he raped her and then bludgeoned her with a piece of wood. Unfortunately, there is no direct evidence, and the detectives have no other suspects.

The young Marine doesn't realize it, but the circumstantial evidence is piling up against him.

They ask him if he attacked his wife after losing his temper. No, he didn't. Did he rape her? Absolutely not. Kevin remains calm and answers every question thrown at him. Police are becoming frustrated. They believe that he didn't use the local Jack in the Box across the street from his apartment, but chose to drive to one fifteen minutes away to create a timing alibi. Conveniently, they say, he was gone for more than half an hour, rather than the couple of minutes it would have taken to cross the street, thereby giving an "intruder" time to enter the apartment and attack Dianna.

Kevin disagrees. He says he didn't use the local Jack in the Box because the drive through was backed up. He also says that the short drive to the second outlet gave him time to clear his head. He wasn't upset or angry. He was, in fact, quite calm.

Detectives ask Kevin if he knows of anybody else who might be responsible.

No. But he did see a black man in the parking lot close to his apartment around the time he left to get the burgers. He saw the same man about to get into a van when he returned. The man appeared to hide his face as he passed him. Unfortunately, Kevin gives police a generic description that could fit any young black man. Investigating detectives do not believe him, but with no hard evidence they are unable to charge him.

The investigation grinds to a halt.

Several weeks after the attack, Dianna is released from the hospital. Still traumatized, she refuses to return to her apartment and moves in with her parents.

Dianna has sustained severe brain damage which affects her memory. She also struggles to string a sentence together and requires constant medical care, which includes extensive speech therapy sessions.

Despite suffering severe memory loss, just three months into her recovery, Dianna drops a bombshell. She contacts police and tells them she has now remembered what happened the night she was attacked. She tells detectives that she was beaten and raped by her own husband, Kevin.

Police immediately arrest Kevin Green and charge him with assault with a deadly weapon and the second degree murder of his still-born daughter. He is taken into custody, but it will be almost a year before the case comes to trial. Despite accusing her husband of battery and rape, it appears that Dianna is still suffering from amnesia and aphasia - a loss or impairment of the power to use or comprehend words.

Kevin's trial begins on October 2, 1980. The case rests upon the testimony of his wife as the prosecution offers no corroborative evidence. Dianna Green's testimony is almost incoherent and she struggles to spell her own last name for the court record.

Kevin Green's defense team, shocked by Dianna's condition, request that an independent psychiatrist evaluate her mental state.

The request is denied.

Dianna testifies that she and Kevin got into a fight when she refused him sex because of her pregnancy. Neighbors remember hearing the couple fighting on the night of the attack. It is also noted that the couple had heated arguments on numerous occasions during their seven-month marriage. Dianna tells the court that Kevin hit her with a key retractor which caused the blunt trauma injuries to her head, and then he raped her. The prosecution use Dr Martin Brenner, a psychiatrist, to confirm that Dianna Green is a reliable witness.

The prosecution present forensic evidence suggesting that Dianna was brutally raped and produce semen samples found at the scene. Unfortunately, DNA profiling will not become available for another seven years so the sample cannot be used to link anybody to the crime. The only evidence that in any way connects Kevin Green to the crime is his wife's testimony, and it is very persuasive.

The jury deliberates for ten hours, and on November 7, 1980, Kevin Lee Green is found guilty of the second degree murder of his unborn child, the attempted murder of his wife, and assault with a deadly weapon. He is sentenced to 15 years to life.

Kevin is incarcerated in Soledad Prison where he continues to proclaim his innocence. He requests and passes a polygraph test. It makes no difference.

In 1982, two years into his sentence, his appeal reaches the district court. The conviction is affirmed. Kevin petitions the Supreme Court of the State of California but gets no response.

By 1984, knowing he is innocent but with appeals and petitions going nowhere, he is on the brink of suicide. His lowest moment comes when he learns that he is to be dishonorably discharged from the USMC. Discharged Marines are ineligible for any veterans benefits and often encounter difficulty in securing gainful civilian employment. It is the final blow. Kevin remembers the moment he decided to accept his situation. 'I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't keep fighting,' he recalls. 'It dawned on me that I needed to get on with my life.'

He studies computers and earns a degree.

Kevin continues to maintain his innocence, but over the years he becomes a model prisoner. He works as a warden's secretary, giving tours of the prison to college students and organizing Christmas parties. Jerry Smith, spokesman at Soledad Prison said, 'Kevin had a very good rapport with both inmates and staff and it was built on respect,'

In early 1991, after serving eleven years Kevin is eligible for parole. As he refuses to admit guilt, his parole application is refused. In the years that follow, he is denied parole a further three times. His sister tells him, 'If all they want you to say is you did it, go ahead."

Kevin quickly realizes that he is never going to admit to something he didn't do, even if he has to serve out the full sentence. 'I never considered admitting guilt as a possibility.'

In 1996, after serving 16 years, Kevin's luck changes. Detectives from Tustin and Costa Mesa are working on a batch of unsolved murders which go back as far as the seventies. They link the killings and sexual assaults against several women aged between 17 and 31 to a single perpetrator, named as former Marine, Gerald Parker, also know to police as the 'Bludgeon Killer'. With DNA profiling now available detectives discover that the semen sample found at Kevin Green's apartment also matches the DNA of Gerald Parker. They have their man.

Fortunately, Parker is incarcerated in a local prison and detectives quickly set up an interview with him to discuss the twenty murders they have linked to him.

Although confronted with irrefutable evidence, Parker refuses to cooperate until detectives mention the Kevin Green case. Parker tells detectives that as a former Marine himself it has always bothered him that he did this to a fellow Marine.

Apparently, being in the USMC for seven years was the only good thing he ever did in his life. He offers a full confession.

Gerald Parker was the black youth that Kevin Green saw loitering outside the apartment on the night of the attack.

In his testimony to an Orange County Grand Jury, Parker said, 'Out of all the murders and the crimes that I committed over the years that was the one that bothered me the most.'

He is sentenced to death. As of February 9, 2015, he is still on death row awaiting execution. With California suspending capital punishment for an indefinite period, it is more than likely that Gerald Parker will eventually face a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Kevin Green was released on June 6, 1996. Unfortunately, his nightmare still wasn't over. While he was in prison, his former wife, Dianna, sued him for wrongful death and won a multi-million dollar payout.
Kevin had the judgement overturned and after receiving $650,000 in compensation, he gave Dianna $50,000 for the legal fees she had incurred whilst suing him.

Despite the DNA evidence and Gerald Parker's confession, Dianna still insists that her husband was in some way involved. While she concedes that he may not have struck the 'final' blow she still says that Kevin raped and beat her that night and got everything he deserved. She also says that if Kevin had not left the door open when he went out none of this would have happened.

For his part, Kevin feels that while he lost sixteen years of his life it was nothing compared to the damage Dianna suffered during this ordeal. She has lost most of her hearing, most of her sense of smell, and has trouble writing or articulating a thought. Despite her continuing animosity towards him, Kevin Green has consistently excused his former wife's attitude, accusations and actions over the years. He understands that she is angry, frustrated and bitter and concedes that she was as much a victim of the system as he was.

One of the first things Kevin did after his release was to visit the grave of his unborn daughter to tell her that he did not kill her.

He moved to Missouri to be closer to his family and has since remarried. In the years since his release he has spent much of his time talking to law classes and criminal justice conventions about his case. He hopes that prosecutors and investigators will focus more on the facts rather than trying to achieve unrealistic targets.

To this day, Kevin Green believes that well-intentioned family members and investigators planted suspicions in his ex-wife's head. It was these false memories that cost him sixteen years of his life.

Dianna D'Aiello and Kevin Lee Green

Victims of the system

Information and pictures courtesy of:

On the case with Paula Zahn: 'Painful Memories'

Los Angeles Times

Tustin Police Department

*Semper fidelis 

(Always faithful)
Motto of United States Marine Corp

Friday, 16 January 2015

JFK: The Final Twist.

Warning: This article contains extremely graphic details and photographs of gunshot wounds.

Friday, November 22, 1963. Dallas, Texas. 12:29 pm. Everybody hears the first shot, but most of the onlookers watching the Presidential motorcade moving sedately along Dealey Plaza assume a firecracker has been thrown or a car has backfired.

Immediately after the shot, the President raises his right hand to his face and leans forward in his seat, his head tilted slightly to the left. He looks shocked. Jackie Kennedy glances across at her husband. Four seconds after the first shot there is no mistaking the sound of a second gunshot. The President grasps his throat and slumps forward in his seat.

Just 1.6 seconds later, captured with horrifying clarity in both sound and vision, a third shot blasts away the right side of President Kennedy's skull. Jackie Kennedy, in a state of abject panic, clambers out of her seat and scrambles across the trunk of the limousine towards Secret Service agent Clint Hill, who has jumped from one of the following cars and is now standing on the rear fender. He urges the first lady to get back in her seat, which she does.

The President's car speeds away and disappears through the triple underpass at the western perimeter of Dealey Plaza. Time appears to stand still. John F. Kennedy is fatally wounded and Texas Governor John Connally is seriously wounded. Half an hour later, at 1:00 pm, the Parkland Hospital issues a statement confirming President Kennedy's death.

Lee Harvey Oswald is arrested at 1:45 pm inside a movie theater and charged with the murders of President Kennedy and Dallas police officer, J.D.Tippet, who was shot four times while trying to question Oswald.

At 2:07 pm, in contravention of Texas law, the President's body is taken from Parkland Hospital by Secret Service agents and driven to Air Force One. The body is removed before a forensic examination can be conducted by the Dallas County Coroner, Earl Rose, who has jurisdiction. At 2:38 pm Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson takes the Presidential Oath of Office on board Air Force One just before it departs from Dallas Love Field airport.

Two days later, Jack Ruby, a Dallas night club owner, shoots and kills Lee Harvey Oswald in an underground car park while he is being transferred to Dallas County Jail.

Ruby is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. After his arrest Jack Ruby tells several witnesses that he shot Oswald to help the City of Dallas redeem itself.

But it is later revealed that he also wrote a note to his attorney, Joesph Tonahill, saying, "I was told to say that I shot Oswald so that Caroline and Mrs. Kennedy wouldn't have to come to Dallas to testify." After four years on death row, Jack Ruby is granted a retrial after an appeal. With impeccable timing, he suffers a pulmonary embolism and dies before he can be retried.

With the nation in mourning, President John F. Kennedy is buried at Arlington National Cemetery on November 25, 1963.

Four days later, on November 29, 1963, President Johnson sets up 'The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy', also known as 'The Warren Commission'.

The 889-page report is presented to President Johnson on September 24, 1964. It concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing President Kennedy and wounding Texas Governor John Connally and that Jack Ruby also acted alone when he killed Oswald two days later.

The Commission's findings prove to be controversial.

Public opinion polls consistently show that a majority of Americans believe there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. However, Gallup polls also find that 30% of the population believe that Oswald acted alone.

The truth is that many people do not know what to believe. In 2013, it was estimated that during the fifty years since that fateful November day in Dallas, a total of 42 groups, 82 assassins, and 214 people have been accused in John F. Kennedy conspiracy theories.

How can a crime witnessed by hundreds of people at the scene, filmed by at least thirty of them, watched by billions on television and more documented than any other assassination in history remain so unresolved?

Maybe because what happened was too obvious, and everybody missed it.

Has the answer to this mystery been staring us in the face all the time? Is the answer to who shot JFK so absurdly uncomplicated that it has just been overlooked in the rush to blame the CIA, the Russians, the Mafia and even Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro?

Let's start with the man who pulled the trigger. Lee Harvey Oswald. A former U.S. Marine who defected to the Soviet Union in 1959. Disillusioned, he returned to the United States in June 1962.

Like all Marines he was taught how to shoot. Despite being court-martialed twice he scored above average with a rifle and was eventually designated a marksman.

In March 1963, Oswald purchased a mail order 6.5 mm Carcano Model 91/38 bolt action carbine with a 4 x scope. Introduced into the Italian army in 1891, the Carcano had a poor service record, being unreliable and inaccurate. It was not the weapon a would-be assassin would normally choose.

So, the only way to discover the truth is to ask questions. The first question is simple: Using an obsolete, bolt action army surplus rifle, could Oswald have fired three shots in 5.6 seconds?

The answer is yes, it is possible. In 1967 CBS recreated Dealey Plaza. They placed eleven marksmen in a tower. A target, positioned at the same distance and same height as the President's limousine, moved away from them at 11 mph. All the marksmen were able to fire three shots in 5.6 seconds, but only one of them hit the target, and that was on his third attempt.

Jackie Kennedy later stated that after the first shot the President raised his right arm and said, "I've been hit." If he was still able to speak at that time then it wasn't the first shot that went through his throat and severed his larynx and windpipe, it was the second. It has been suggested that the first shot hit the sidewalk causing a small piece of stone to fly up and hit the President. Witnesses said they saw sparks on the sidewalk and assumed it was a firecracker.

Virgie Rachley made the following statement:

Warren Commission Vol II, Page 509
July 22, 1964.
'I thought it was a firecracker. It looked just like it. You could see sparks from it.'

Secret Service agent Roy Kellerman, riding in the front seat of the Presidential limousine, made the following statement:
  Warren Commission Vol II, Page 73
  March 9, 1964
'There was a report like a firecracker. Pop. As I turned my head to the right to see whatever it was, I believe it was the President who said 'My God, I'm hit.' I turned around and he had his right hand up to his throat.'

That was the first shot.

The second shot passed through the base of the President neck, exited below his Adam's apple and struck Governor Connally below his right arm pit, shattering four inches of his right rib, exiting under the right nipple before passing through his right wrist and lodging two inches deep into his left thigh.

The only bullet capable of doing that is a full metal jacket. It is a bullet used in combat and it ensures that if a soldier is wounded it will pass through his body, giving him a higher survival rate.

Oswald's Carcano rifle was loaded with 6.5 mm full metal jacket bullets.

Governor John Connally made the following statement:
'I am convinced beyond any doubt that I was not struck by the first bullet. I know that I heard the first shot, that I turned to my right to see what was happening. Seeing nothing, I was in the process of turning to my left when I was struck by a second shot. The third shot struck the President but did not strike me. As I said earlier, this testimony was presented to the Warren Commission, but they chose to disagree with my interpretation and my memory of what had occurred.'

Question. Why did the third shot do so much damage? It hit the President in the back of his head, and instead of passing through as you might expect a full metal jacket bullet to do, it exploded outwards - something that particular bullet would not do.

Why did that third bullet behave so differently?

Was it because the first two were full metal jackets and the third a hollow-point that exploded on impact, leaving a gaping wound on the right side of the President's head? If so, who fired the third shot? It could not have come from the infamous 'Grassy Knoll' area to the right of the limousine because a shot from that direction would have shattered the left side of the President's head. It didn't come from the far side of Dealey Plaza because the First Lady was blocking that line of fire.

One possible answer is that the hollow point bullet which did so much damage was fired from a position behind the President.

There is also something interesting about the timing of each shot. The time between the  first and second shot is four seconds. After the first shot Oswald has to pull the bolt back, reload, take aim and fire. Four seconds is probably about right for a man high on adrenalin and nervous energy. The anomaly is that the third shot follows just 1.6 seconds later, far too quickly for Oswald to have reloaded, aimed and fired - and, the third shot sounds different. Watch the piece of footage below and listen for the gunshots.


Question. How many shots did Oswald fire?

Three spent 6.5 mm Cacano shells were found at Oswald's sniper position in the book depository. One of the three casings was found away from the other two.

The single casing was dented which suggests that it may have been used as a chamber plug. This stops moisture and grit getting into the chamber, a trick that was often used by combat soldiers on the battlefield. Did Oswald eject this chamber plug before taking up his firing position?

If so, then he only fired two shots.

One piece of evidence that strengthens the suggestion that Lee Harvey Oswald did not fire the third shot comes from another page of the Warren Commission report.

Warren Commission Vol II, Page 352
March 16, 1964.
Bethesda Naval Hospital autopsy report: 'The bullet entrance wound is 6 mm. Bullet tunnels through President's head for 15 mm before fragmenting.'

A bullet wound in the skull always makes a hole bigger than the diameter of the bullet. Oswald's Carcano bullets are 6.5 mm in diameter.

If the shot came from Oswald's gun the entrance wound in the President's skull would have to be at least that diameter or bigger.

It is impossible for the bullet that created a 6 mm entrance wound to have come from Oswald's Cacano. So where did it come from?

Howard Donahue, a ballistics expert, spent twenty-five years researching the John F. Kennedy assassination, chronicled in Bonar Menninger's book, 'Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK.' Donahue discovered that the trajectory of the third shot did not emanate from the 6th floor of the book depository. The trajectory of the fatal shot led back to the Secret Service follow up car behind the Presidential limousine.

Donahue wrote to the Secret Service requesting the names of the agents riding in the follow up car, the weapons they were carrying and the calibers. The Secret Service replied that they didn't disclose such information, other than that agents carried .38 revolvers.

The letter also added that Secret Service agents fired no shots at that time. Donahue thought that final comment a strange response to a question he hadn't asked.

Question. Is it possible that the third shot was fired accidentally by a Secret Service agent riding in the follow up car?

Of course, anything is possible, but this is not just a stab in the dark. Ten different witnesses smelled gun powder shortly after the third shot. Dallas patrolman Earl Brown was standing at a railway bridge overlooking Dealey Plaza.

He made the following statement.

Warren Commission Vol VI page 233
April 7, 1964
'I heard the shots then I smelled this gun powder come on a couple of minutes later or so. At least, it smelled like it to me.'

Question. With a 15 mph wind blowing towards the book depository where did the smell of gunpowder come from?

Dallas Mayor, Earle Cabell and his wife Elizabeth were sitting in a convertible four cars back from the Presidential limousine. Elizabeth Cabell made the following statement:

Warren Commission Vol VII, Page 486
July 13, 1964
'Well, I turned around to say to Earle that was a shot. Just as soon as I got the words out two second shots rang out. I was acutely aware of an odor of gun powder.'

Senator Ralph W. Yarborough was traveling with Vice President Lydon B. Johnson in a car directly behind the Secret Service follow up car. Yarborough is a war veteran with over fifty years experience with firearms. He made the following statement in an interview with the Dallas Times Herald, March 28, 1975.
'I knew there were rifle shots and there were three of them. A second or two later I smelled gun powder. I always found that strange because being familiar with firearms I could never see how I could smell the powder from a rifle in that high building. You don't smell powder unless you are upwind of it and it blows in your face.'

Question. Did anybody see a Secret Service agent in the follow up car holding a gun? Remember the Secret Service response to Howard Donahue's letter? The Secret Service categorically stated that agents were armed with .38 revolvers. There was no mention of agents carrying rifles.

The Secret Service follow up car behind the Presidential limousine

The weapon being held by the Secret Service agent in this photograph is an AR-15 assault rifle. It was taken seconds after the third shot. The motorcade, still on Dealey Plaza, is now racing toward Parkland Hospital.

22-year-old Hugh Betsna was standing in Dealey Plaza taking photographs as the motorcade passed. He gave a statement to the Dallas Sheriff's department later that day, November 22, 1963. It was entered into the record of the Warren Commission.

Warren Commission Vol XXIV, Page 200
Exhibit 2003
'I heard at least two shots fired. I also saw a man in either the President's car or the car behind his pull out what looked like a rifle.'

Senator Ralph Yarborough also testified that he saw a Secret Service agent in the follow up car pull out a rifle.

Warren Commission Vol VIII, Page 439
July 10, 1964
'I heard three shots, no more. All seemed to come from the right rear. Some of the Secret Service men looked backward and to the right in the general direction where the explosion seemed to come from. One of the Secret Service men sitting in the car in front of us pulled out an automatic rifle. He looked backward.'

Secret Service agent George Hickey holding an AR-15 assault rifle

Senator Ralph Yarborough asked one of the most telling questions of all. If a Secret Service agent was seen waving an assault rifle around at the the exact time of the shooting why did the Warren Commission never investigate this particular sequence of events?

Question. What might have happened?

Agent George Hickey hears the first shot, reaches down and picks up the AR-15 from the floor of the follow up car and flicks the safety off. As the the second shot hits the President and the car jerks forward, the gun accidentally discharges, tragically hitting the President in the back of the head.

What agent George Hickey said about the incident.

Warren Commission Vol. XVIII, Page 763
Nov 30, 1963
'I reached to the bottom of the car and picked up the AR-15 rifle. Cocked and loaded it, stood part way up in the car.'

What agent Roy Kellerman said.

Warren Commission Vol. II, Page 69
March 9, 1964
'We have an AR-15. It's out of the case, laying on the floor. She is ready to go.'

These two statements are contradictory. Either the gun was cocked and loaded and ready to go, or it wasn't. Which one is the truth?

What agent Winston Lawson said.

Warren Commission Vol. IV, Page 353
April 23, 1964
'I also noticed right after the reports an agent standing up with an automatic rifle in his hand. And the first thing that flashed through my mind was that he had fired, because this was the only weapon I had seen up to that point.'

Question. What happens next?

The Presidential limousine and the Secret Service follow up car arrive at Parkland Hospital at 12:36 pm. County medical Examiner, Earl Rose, tells Senior Secret Service agent Roy Kellerman that as this is a homicide Texas law requires that an autopsy be preformed before the body can be shipped out of the state.

Despite Rose's protests, agent Roy Kellerman insists that any autopsy on President Kennedy will be carried out in Washington. Flaunting all legal protocols, the President's body is flown out of Dallas Love Field Airport en route to Washington. The time is 2:38 pm.

Question. Why did the Secret Service not want Earl Rose to conduct an autopsy?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to that. What is known is that the autopsy carried out at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland descends into farce. Representatives from the three armed forces and the FBI crowd into the small autopsy room. There are also reporters and photographers present. Secret Service agent Roy Kellerman appears to take charge.

Despite the fact that a President had been assassinated, this autopsy formed part of a homicide inquiry and a cause of death should have been established. Bullets should have been matched to the neck and head wounds. Blood stained clothing from the First Lady and Secret Service agents in the line of fire, particularly George Hickey, should have been sent for forensic examination. All exhibits should have been bagged and labeled. None of these normal forensic procedures happened.

Agent Roy Kellerman took possession of all photographs, x-rays and pathology slides and none of these items were ever seen again.

The most damning piece of evidence should have been President Kennedy's brain. Forensic examination might have revealed the size and type of bullet that caused a 130 mm hole in the President's skull.  

Unfortunately, if any forensic evidence was uncovered it was never revealed because John F. Kennedy's brain simply disappeared.

It has been suggested that Robert Kennedy asked for his brother's brain, but he never received it. Nobody, even to this day, appears to know where it is. An inquiry ordered by President Bill Clinton in the late 90's into John F. Kennedy's death revealed that all Secret Service records pertaining to the assassination had either been destroyed or misplaced.

Secret Service agent George Hickey was a dedicated man who served his country by putting himself in the line of fire. If the sequence of events described above is anywhere near the truth then it was a tragic accident. As Richard Nixon discovered, it's not the deed that shames the devil, it is the cover up that follows.

The American people deserve to know the truth, but it is unlikely they ever will. Secret Service agent George Hickey died in 2005.

(May 29, 1917 - November 22, 1963)
Rest in Peace, Mister President.

Information and pictures courtesy of:

JFK: The Smoking Gun (Cordell Jigsaw Productions)

The Warren Report

United States National Archives and Records Administration

United States Government Documents - Internet Archive


Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK
Bonar Menninger

JFK: The Smoking Gun
Colin McLaren

Friday, 10 October 2014

Michael Morton: The Man Who lost 9000 Yesterdays.

August 13, 1986
 Day 1

9114 Hazelhurst Drive, Austin, Texas
Michael Morton is trying his best not to wake his wife, Christine, and their 3-year-old son, Eric. It is 05:30 on a warm Wednesday morning in Austin, Texas, and Michael is about to leave for work. It appears to be the start of another unremarkable day, just like every other working day.

Except it isn't.

On this particular day, 32-year-old Michael Morton's life will change forever - he just doesn't know it yet. After leaving a note for Christine, he gently closes the front door and heads to the Safeway store in Austin where he works as a Pharmacy Manager.

The previous day had been his birthday and he was still annoyed that Christine had not been as attentive as he felt she should have been. In the note he leaves propped against a vanity mirror in the bathroom, he mentions how he feels. He also writes "I-L-Y" (I love you) on the bottom of the note, and signs it "M".

After a half-hour journey through the sparse early morning traffic, Michael arrives at the store and punches his time card at 06:05 am. During the eight hour shift none of the staff notice anything different about Michael. Although he is an introverted individual, he also has an innate calmness about him and rarely shows signs of stress. Co-workers later recall that his attitude and demeanor appeared to be normal.

Michael clocks off around 2:00 pm and heads to the mall to shop for some personal items before making his way to pick up Eric from the babysitter. He arrives at Mildred Redden's house around 3:30 pm to be told that Christine never arrived that day. Concerned that his wife and child may have had an accident, Michael phones his home. He hears a man's voice he does not recognize.

Sheriff Jim Boutwell, 1987
Williamson County Sheriff, Jim Boutwell, has answered the phone. It is a tense moment. A short, highly charged conversation between the two men ensues. The sheriff politely refuses to answer any questions and asks Michael to return home immediately.

Fifteen minutes later, the neighbors, gathered on their front porches in Hazelhurst Drive, watch as Michael's car screeches to a halt outside number 9114. They see him move past the crime scene tape surrounding the house, sprint across the lawn and try to push his way inside. He is stopped by two uniformed officers.

After identifying himself to Boutwell, Michael asks if his son is okay.

"He's fine. He's at the neighbors," Boutwell answers, slightly puzzled. He wonders why that was the first question. Surely, the first question should have been about Christine.

"How about my wife?" asks Micheal.

The Sheriff slowly shakes his head and answers the question in a flat monotone. "She's dead."

Earlier in the day, a deputy sheriff had responded to a neighbor's phone call reporting 3-year-old Eric wandering around the front yard wearing only a shirt and a diaper. Before the police arrived, the neighbor had gone into the Morton's house looking for Christine. She found the battered body lying on the bed next to a wall splattered with blood. Christine had been bludgeoned to death with a blunt object.

Sgt Don Wood, 1987
Now, nearly three hours later, several scenes of crimes officers are combing through the house searching for clues. A police photographer is taking photographs of Christine's body, still lying in the bedroom.

Leading a strangely subdued Michael into the kitchen, Boutwell reads him his Miranda rights and then introduces him to lead prosecutor Sergeant Don Wood. After just fifteen minutes of questioning, both officers are convinced that Michael Morton is guilty of his wife's murder.

In the weeks, months and years that follow, they will steadfastly refuse to consider any other suspects.

Less than three hours into the investigation, both officers have read the note left by Michael and have both concluded that the motive for murder was his anger. He was refused sex, struck his wife and then lost control. The officers' initial suspicions are raised by Michael's apparent lack of emotion. He appears to be taking his wife's murder very calmly.

As forensic officers dissect the crime scene, no sign of a break-in is evident and robbery as a motive for the murder is ruled out; several items of jewelry and other valuables are still lying on the dresser in full view. However, one important piece of information is withheld from Michael Morton.

Christine's purse is missing.

The questioning continues for most of the afternoon and into the late evening. Michael does not request an attorney and answers, openly and without hesitation, every question put to him. After several hours of questioning, Michael loses his temper. "I didn't kill my wife," he shouts at the two lawmen. "Are you fucking crazy?"

 Although the prime suspect, Michael Morton is not arrested for murder. Not yet.

August 14, 1986
Day 2

The next day, one of Michael Morton's neighbors, Orin Holland, who lived a block north on Amanda Drive, stops a sheriff's deputy to report something unusual. A man had been seen parking a green van on the wooded lot behind the Mortons' home on several occasions prior to the murder. The same man had been seen wandering in the overgrown area surrounding the Mortons' privacy fence.

Later that evening an investigating officer calls on Orin Holland. "His purpose was not to ask us questions about what we had seen, but to reassure us that we weren't in any danger," Holland recalls. "He didn't overtly say, 'we know who did it,' but he implied that this was not a random event. The suggestion was that the husband did it."

Another neighbor called the sheriff's office to report sighting the green van on the morning Christine Morton was murdered. "We kept waiting for the police to call us but they never did. We figured the evidence led them in another direction."

Christine Morton's brother, John Kirkpatrick, finds a blood-stained bandana near the murder scene and gives it to Sheriff Jim Boutwell. Kirkpatrick thinks it is an important piece of evidence. The police do not. Nobody from the sheriff's office ever contacts Kirkpatrick and the area behind the Morton's house is never searched.

The medical examiner's report offers no respite for Michael Morton. An analysis of the partially digested food in Christine's stomach reveals time of death to be between 01:00 am and 06:00 am - a timing which places Michael at the murder scene around the time of death.

The ME also reports that Christine was not raped. if the motive was neither rape nor robbery - what was the motive?

August 15, 1986
Day 3

The Jewel Box store in San Antonio calls the police to report that someone appears to have fraudulently used Christine Morton's credit card. The San Antonio police department informs Williamson County Sheriff's Office and sends them the details. 
Sheriff Boutwell and Sergeant Wood are unmoved by this information. No action is taken.

August 24, 1986
Day 12

Eric Morton, 1986
Rita Kirkpatrick, Christine's mother, contacts Sergeant Don Wood with what she believes is vital information. She says that 3-year-old Eric saw the murder. "Eric and I were alone at my house...the first time he and I had been alone since his mother's death."

She tells Wood that she wrote down everything Eric said. She reads her exchange with the boy:

Eric: Mommie's crying. She's - stop it. Go away.

Rita: Why is she crying?

 'Cause the monster's there.

What's he doing?

He hit Mommie. He broke the bed.

Then what happened?

The monster threw a blue suitcase on the bed. He's mad...

Was he big?


Did he have on gloves?

Yeah. Red.

What did he carry in his red gloves?


What was in the basket?


(The boy's account matches the murder scene perfectly. Wood chips found in Christine's hair suggested she had been beaten with a piece of wood. A blue suitcase and a wicker basket were found on top of her body.)

Where was Daddy, Eric? Was daddy there?

No. Mommie and Eric was there.

(Sergeant Wood listens to this account and takes the transcript. He fails to ask any relevant questions and at one point tries to convince Rita that the "monster" Eric refers to is actually Michael wearing his scuba diving gear. This transcript was then filed away and never offered as exculpatory evidence to the defense.)

September 9, 1986
Day 28

Williamson County Sheriff's Office
Michael Morton is questioned at length by Sergeant Wood and Sheriff Boutwell at the sheriff's office. He provides samples of his hair, saliva and blood and gives permission for his car to be searched.

On the same day he also passes two lie detector tests.

No physical evidence is ever found that ties Michael to Christine's murder. In fact, the evidence found up to this point should have ruled him out as a suspect. Unfortunately, the two investigating officers are so convinced of Michael's guilt they refuse to accept they may have the wrong man. 

Later that day, Sergeant Wood tells a local newspaper, The Hill Country News, that fingerprints found near the murder scene had no connection to the killing. (It is later discovered that these fingerprints were found on a door inside the Morton's house.) He also dismisses a blood-stained item (he is referring to the bandana found by John Kirkpatrick, although he does not state that specifically) which he believes to be the result of a minor accident that may have occurred on the building site.

September 25, 1986
Day 44

Boutwell and Wood arrest Michael Morton at his home. They arrive unannounced. With no warning of his impending arrest Michael has no time to arrange child care for Eric, who once again, is pulled from his father's arms and given to a neighbor.

Michael looks at his young son and then back at the officers, "You've got to be kidding me," he says.

The child becomes hysterical as he watches his father being led away in handcuffs. Having lost his mother, he now loses his father.

February 9, 1987
Day 181

The first day of the trial. Michael Morton glances to his right and studies the faces of the twelve jury members. Two rows of blank faces stare back at him. He can almost feel them making their initial assessment of him.

He takes a deep breath and stares straight ahead.

Nothing is ever guaranteed in a court of law, but Michael knows that his defense attorney, Bill Allison, is cautiously optimistic that the lack of hard evidence will lead the jury to acquit. The evidence available to the prosecution is weak and mostly circumstantial.

But Williamson County District Attorney, Bill Anderson, the lead prosecutor, has other ideas. He ignites an emotional bonfire that engulfs Michael Morton. Firstly, he paints a picture of marital disharmony in the Morton household. Several witnesses testify that Michael's marriage is unhappy. He's portrayed as a bully and petty tyrant who hated his wife. One member of the jury later recounts that, "after listening to several witnesses, I was disgusted with Michael Morton's attitude. I'm assuming the entire jury felt that way too. Whether he was a murderer or not, I knew that I did not like him."

Williamson County DA, Bill Anderson
Bill Anderson now has everybody's attention. He insinuates that Michael Morton treated his wife with contempt and casts him as a sexual deviant.

The prosecutor rips into the jury with a lurid story of perverse violence; his voice cracks as he pounds his fist into his hand and weeps, the tears rolling down his cheeks.

He portrays the mild-mannered Pharmacy manager as a sexually dysfunctional, murderous psychopath. It is a bravura performance worthy of Broadway.

The jury is told that Michael Morton battered his wife to death with a wooden club and them masturbated over the dead body. The whole courtroom is stunned.

A story that belonged in the pages of a dime novel has swayed the jury. Unfortunately, none of it is true.

Texas statute requires law enforcement officers, if they take the stand, to turn over their reports and notes to the defense. Sheriff Jim Boutwell's report consisted of a couple of pages of handwritten notes containing virtually no information about his investigation. A major homicide investigation, and there was nothing there.

Sgt Don Wood
In fact, exculpatory evidence which included details about the intruder seen behind the Morton's house, the bloodied bandana, unidentified footprints and fingerprints found at the murder scene, Eric's revelations about the "monster" and the fraudulent use of Christine Morton's credit card in San Antonio was withheld by the prosecution. All of this evidence was contained in Sergeant Don Wood's investigation notes. Wood was never called to the stand, so he didn't have to turn his report over to the defense.

(With regard to the fraudulent use of the credit card, Williamson County sheriff's office never acknowledged the San Antonio police report. In a file discovered twenty-five years later, a Williamson County deputy sheriff dismissed the theory that Christine's purse had been stolen by the murderer with the words, "''Course we know better.")

Also withheld from the defense were unidentified fingerprints found on a sliding glass door at the Morton's house and on the blue suitcase left beside Christine's body. Only the sheriff's office and the district attorney's office knew about this evidence and they had no intention of ruining their case by giving it to the defense. With two unreliable law enforcement officers and a compliant judiciary system lined up against him, Michael Morton didn't stand a chance.

February 17, 1987
Day 189

The final day of the trial. The jury is out for less than two hours. One jury member later says, "eleven of us were ready to convict at the start. I was certain of his guilt."

The guilty verdict is read out and Michael has to be supported by his attorney. As the judge sentences him to life in prison, Michael rests his head on the defense table. "Your Honor, I didn't do this. That's all I can say. I did not do this."

Michael is moved to Huntsville diagnostic center, where he will remain for several weeks. On arrival he is ordered to strip and then ushered into the communal shower. He's allocated a prison number and his photograph is taken. Herded into the mess hall under the impatient eyes of the guards, he hurriedly eats a prison meal, the first of many.

Eventually, he is assigned a cell. At the ten-thirty lights out, he lays on his bunk listening to the cacophony of sounds reverberating around the cell block. What does the future hold? Michael knows he is innocent, but how does he prove it? And how long will it take? With a wry smile, he quickly realizes that the one thing he has... is time.

Lots of it.

January 13, 1988
Day 519
Debra Baker is savagely bludgeoned to death with a wooden club in her North Austin home. It is less than 12 miles from where Christine Morton was murdered. Despite the similarities, police fail to connect the two murders. The murdered woman leaves behind a grieving husband and two small children.

March 22, 1990
Day 1318

Michael Morton, 1987
Michael Morton files an application for a writ of habeas corpus and requests testing on the bedsheets from the murder scene.

Williamson County DA's office opposes the motion.

When Christine's body was discovered, the blinds were drawn and she was still wearing her nightdress. Michael believes his wife was killed a short time after he left for work at 0530 am on that Wednesday morning.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals grants the testing on the bedsheets, which reveals Morton's semen. This apparently corroborated what the prosecution had alleged in court - that Michael had indeed masturbated over the corpse of his wife.

What they do not say is that the sample also contains Christine's vaginal fluid. This is not revealed because it confirms a truth the Williamson County DA's office would rather not hear. In the days before the murder the Morton's had had consensual sex, a rather different scenario than that put forward by the prosecution.

In any event, the application is denied.

March 2, 2001
Day 5316

Eric Michael Morton
Michael hits rock bottom. He receives a letter informing him that his son, Eric, has decided to change his name. It is the worst day of Michael's life. "Nothing before this did it - not Christine's murder, not my arrest, not my trial, not my conviction, nothing. Eric was what I had been holding on to. He was the reason I was trying to prove my innocence. There was a hollow, empty feeling, because getting out had never been the goal. It was getting out so that I could tell Eric, 'Look, see? I didn't do this."

Michael realizes that reconciliation with his son is now not a possibility. "This wasn't just another difficult thing to overcome, this was the end. This was death.

January 2, 2002
Day 5622

Williamson County DA, John Bradley
Ken Anderson, the Williamson County DA, becomes a state judge after being appointed to the bench by Governor Rick Perry. Perry appoints Anderson's first assistant, John Bradley, as district attorney.

Bradley continues to oppose all motions regarding Michael Morton. He also stonewalls all attempts to test DNA samples obtained at the Morton murder scene.

He will also oppose parole for Michael Morton saying that Michael and his attorneys, "are grasping at straws," in their search for a "mystery killer."

The only conclusion to be drawn from John Bradley's actions is that he was aware of Wood's, Boutwell's and Anderson's unethical use of exculpatory evidence in the Morton case and he was attempting to protect them.

February 11, 2005
Day 6785

Under Texas' post-conviction DNA law, Michael Morton requests testing on several items from the crime scene, including the bandana and fingernail scrapings from Christine and the evidence from the unsolved murder of Debra Baker near the Mortons' home.

Williamson County DA John Bradley opposes the testing. Asked why they oppose these tests a spokesman for the DA's office says, "It would muddy the waters."

Michael is informed that it may take some time. It is the first time somebody has actually told him the truth.

August 15, 2006
Day 7308
Eighteen months later. The trial court in Williamson County grants testing on some items, including the fingernail scrapings, but denies testing on the bandana and the evidence from the Debra Baker murder.

February 2, 2007
Day 7494

John Bradley, 2007
After serving the first third of a sixty-year sentence Michael is eligible for parole.

John Bradley, Williamson County DA, opposes it. He writes to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. "I am writing to protest parole (for Michael Morton) and request that you put off reconsiderations of parole for as long as the law permits."

The DA's excuse for writing to the Parole Board is that Michael Morton never accepted responsibility for Christine's murder. Which was correct. Michael tells his parents that he is unrepentant and that he will not lie to get out. "My innocence," he says, "is all I have."

Parole is denied.

When John Bradley receives notice from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice that parole has been denied to Michael Morton somebody scrawls the word "Victory" across the bottom of the letter.

March 17, 2008
Day 7888
Nineteen months later. DNA tests ordered in August 2006 on swabs, nightgown and hair are completed. The results are found to be inconclusive. Only Christine's DNA is found, and the court finds that Michael Morton cannot be excluded as the murderer. 
Michael Morton has finally run out of appeals. He has nowhere else to go. His release date is February 18, 2047. He will be 92-years-old.

January 8, 2010
Day 8550

Justice Alan Waldrop 2010
The 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin unexpectedly reverses a previous judgment and allows DNA testing on the bandana found by John Kirkpatrick behind his sister's house.

After considering all the facts available to him, Justice Alan Waldrop suggests that there is a trail of evidence that connects the bandana to the crime scene. "If the bandana contains Christine's blood, it is sufficient by itself to establish a trail."

The blood on the bandana is now nearly 24-years-old. Michael Morton's attorneys do not have high hopes. They believe the DNA may have degraded beyond what is permissible for testing.

Once again, DA John Bradley intervenes and tries to stop the test. He is overruled.

June 30, 2011
Day 9088

Orchid Cellmark, the forensic testing firm, issues a report that confirms biological material on the bandana belongs to Christine Morton and another man who is not Michael Morton.

When Michael's lawyers tell him the good news, he doesn't remember the exact words but recalls that he was, "bouncing off the walls."

His lawyers tell him it is not over yet as they believe John Bradley will fight them all the way. Even if Michael's conviction is overturned, the DA could order a retrial. Years of appeals could follow. What they really need is a match to the unknown man's DNA found on the bandana. With millions of profiles of people with convictions stored on the FBI national database, it is a long shot.

August 9, 2011
Day Nine Thousand One Hundred and Twenty Eight

A match is found. The man is Mark Alan Norwood, a drifter with a long criminal record. The story now begins to fall into place. Norwood is the man with the green van, seen prowling around the Morton's privacy fence. He enters the house through an open window (his fingerprints on the glass) around 6:00 am, just after Michael had left for work. After killing Christine, he wipes his hands on the bandana and leaves. While walking back to his van the bandana slips from his back pocket.

All the evidence was there. Boutwell, Wood and Anderson just did not want to see it.

When the news breaks, the response from the Williamson County DA's office is predictable. John Bradley issues a statement. "I don't think on its face, that a DNA result on a piece of evidence away from the crime scene immediately proves innocence. It does raise some good issues that are worthy of investigation, and we will do that."

So, after 24 years they are going to do some investigating.The arrogance and hypocrisy of two law enforcement officers and two District Attorneys is breathtaking, but their case against Michael Morton is now shot to pieces.

And questions are being asked.

August 26, 2011
Day 9145

Ken Anderson, 2012
After the Morton homicide file is unsealed, Michael Morton's lawyers discover that Anderson did not provide all the reports as was ordered. Although the file contains six pages of preliminary reports, it excludes the Kirkpatrick phone transcript, the reports on the use of Christine Morton's credit card, a forged check and the neighbors' reports about the man in the green van.

Shortly after these revelations, the former Williamson County DA, Ken Anderson, now a state judge, holds a press conference. "As district attorney at the time, and as woefully inadequate as I realize it is, I want to apologize for the system's failure to Mr. Morton and to every other person who was adversely affected by this verdict."

With regard to the exculpatory evidence willfully withheld by Anderson, he says he is not to blameUndeterred by the truth he continues to squirm. "There have been a number of allegations made about professional conduct of the prosecutors, including me, in this case. In my heart, I know there was no misconduct whatsoever."

Most people disagree with you, Ken. You and your colleagues stitched up an innocent man, took away 24 years of his life, and knew exactly what you were doing. There's a circle in hell reserved just for you.

Dante was right about lawyers.

October 4, 2011
Day 9184

October 5, 2011
Day 1

Sheriff Jim Boutwell
Died of cancer in Austin, Texas, 1993, aged 66.

Sergeant Don Wood
Now retired and living in Austin, Texas. Claims he can't remember anything about the crime or the investigation. When pressed, he remembers something about a credit card, but can't remember what it was. Says his memory "bounces around here and there."

Former Williamson County DA, now state Judge Ken Anderson
Ken Anderson claims he did nothing wrong. Also seems to have had a lapse of memory as he claims not to remember specific details about the Morton case. In November 2013 he pleaded 'no contest' to a court order to show cause for withholding exculpatory evidence. The special court of inquiry found Anderson "in criminal contempt of court." 
For his part in sending an innocent man to prison for 24 years, Ken Anderson was fined $500, received 500 hours of community service and had his law license revoked. 
The Innocence Project said, "It is an extremely rare instance, and perhaps the first time, that a prosecutor has been criminally punished for failing to turn over exculpatory evidence."

Former Williamson County DA, John Bradley
Was voted out of office in 2012. Many voters were appalled at how much time and taxpayers money he devoted to opposing Michael Morton's appeals and requests for DNA testing. A local blogger, Lou Ann Anderson, wrote this about John Bradley, "adjust the facts as needed, feign respectability, stick to talking points, and, above all else, protect your friends and associates." 
In the months leading up to the election, his critics tie bandanas to his political signs.

 Mark Alan Norwood
March 20, 2013
Day 9717
58-year-old, Alan Norwood, was found guilty of the murder of Christine Morton and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. He was also indicted for the murder of Debra Baker. 

Michael Morton
Michael Morton received $2 million compensation from the state of Texas. He donated part of his compensation to a prison ministry that had helped him during his imprisonment. 
Michael was reunited with his son Eric in November 2011. During their first meeting Michael discovered he had a granddaughter. When he was told her name he cried for the first time in 24 years.  
Eric had named his daughter...Christine.

 Information and pictures courtesy of:

Daily Mail (UK)


The Innocence Project

Texas Monthly

An Innocent Man
Pamela Colloff

National Public Radio (

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice

The FBI - San Antonio office

Williamson County District Attorney's Office