Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




Danny R. WOLFE





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: February 20, 1997
Date of birth: 1950
Victims profile: Leonard and Lena Walters
Method of murder: Shooting / Stabbing with knife
Location: Camden County, Missouri, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in 1998. Overturned in February 2003. Resentenced to two terms of life without parole, plus 50 years on each of two counts of armed criminal action, and life for robbery in June 2006

State of Missouri v. Danny R. Wolfe

Supreme Court of Missouri (en banc) February 22, 2000)

Case Facts:

On February 19, 1997, defendant went to the home of a co-worker in Camdenton, and asked to leave a bag there. Agreeing, the co-worker placed the bag in the laundry room.

Another man staying at the house looked in the bag and saw what looked like a gray or white wig. That evening, defendant went to a bar in Lake Ozark. He met Jessica Cox introduced himself as "Danny," and played a game of pool with her. Afterward, they sat at the bar and talked. Defendant asked Cox if she was "into drags." She said yes. Defendant asked if she could "get rid of' some drugs for him. She agreed.

When the bar closed defendant and Cox left in his pick-up. Defendant said that he would give her a ride home and could get her the drugs. The two then stopped by defendant's room at a motel for about 20 minutes. Defendant said that they should go to Camdenton. He drove them to the coworker's house, where he retrieved the bag left earlier. They then returned to the motel.

Defendant told Cox that they would have to go to Greenview to "pick up some money," but could not leave until 4:30 a.m. Cox asked defendant to take her home. Defendant replied that it would be worth her wait. She decided to stay.

Defendant took some silver handcuffs from the bag. Cox asked why he had them. Defendant said not to worry, he wasn't going to use them on her. The pair watched television and talked for about two hours.

Around 4:30 a.m. on February 20, the two drove into Camdenton. Defendant stopped at a gas station. Handing over $6, he told her to buy a pair of jersey gloves, which she bought. They headed toward Greenview on Highway 7 by the home of Leonard and Lena Walters. After about a quarter mile, defendant pulled into a gravel road, turned the truck around, and parked facing the highway. It was about 5:15 a.m.

Defendant announced that he planned to rob the Walters, whom he described as "loaded." Defendant had been to the house before and said that the Walters had a car for sale. He had indicated that he would return with his girlfriend. Defendant instructed Cox to test-drive the car with Mr. Walters for about 15 minutes, while he would stay behind, handcuff Mrs. Walters, and rob them. Defendant told Cox to call him "Sam" around the Walters and to use "Jo-Jo" for herself.

Defendant was wearing black, shiny, parachute pants and a camouflage jacket, which he had changed into at the motel. He took out the handcuffs, put on the jersey gloves, and polished the handcuffs. Defendant gave Cox a pair of gloves that were already in the truck.

After waiting in the truck for about two hours, defendant drove back to the Walters' house and pulled into the driveway. He then knocked on the front door. Mrs. Walters came to the door, wearing what "looked like a nightgown." Defendant entered the house and came back out with Mr. Walters. They walked to a red Cadillac in front of the house.

Cox joined them at the Cadillac. Mr. Walters invited Cox to test-drive it. Defendant asked Mr. Walters if he was going along. Mr. Walters replied there was no reason to. Cox said she would appreciate it, to tell about the car. Mr. Walters then got in the front passenger seat. As Cox put the car in drive, defendant jumped into the passenger side back seat, saying, "Let's go, Jo-Jo."

Cox drove toward Greenview. Mr. Walters and defendant discussed the car. After driving a while, Cox turned around, returning toward the Walters' house.

Hearing a "loud bang," Cox swerved and glanced over to see Mr. Walters' head fall forward with blood coming out of his mouth. Defendant had shot Mr. Walters in the back of the head. Cox then saw defendant pull what looked like a gun away from Mr. Walters' head.

Defendant directed Cox to keep driving. He patted down Mr. Walters and pulled out his wallet. Opening it, he said, "This guy's loaded." Cox looked over and saw a large amount of cash.

As Cox pulled into the driveway, defendant told her to park the car where it had been earlier. Before the car fully stopped, defendant jumped out and walked straight to the house. He told Mrs. Walters that he needed to use the phone because Mr. Walters had had a heart attack.

Once in the house, defendant shot Mrs. Walters in the chest with a shotgun while she crouched in front of him. This wound did not kill her. Defendant then stabbed Mrs. Walters - once on the left side, and four times on the right side - while she begged. "Please God, no, no, no." The fatal stab was to the heart. Mrs. Walters did not die immediately, remaining conscious for another three minutes.

Cox heard a "loud bang," "a bunch of ruckus" from the house, and then silence for about ten minutes. Defendant left the house carrying a safe, which he loaded in the back of the truck. As they left, Cox asked if defendant was going to kill her. He replied that she was his partner, so he was not going to kill her.

Defendant pulled off the road, unloaded the safe, opened it with some tools, and rummaged through it, discarding some contents but stuffing others in his pockets. Defendant then climbed into the truck and drove away. Shortly, he turned the truck around, and retrieved his tools.

Defendant then drove to a subdivision, where he had worked as a painter. Defendant said he was going to get rid of the gun. After getting a key from one house, defendant drove to another area and left the truck for about 10 or 15 minutes. When he returned, he was in painter's clothes. Cox did not see the black, nylon pants he was wearing earlier. Defendant told Cox he had thrown the gun into the lake.

Defendant then stopped by a cigarette store where he was painting later that day. The owner testified that defendant said he had to go get some paint.

After leaving the cigarette store, defendant handed Cox a large amount of cash. He said it was enough to keep her quiet; if she told the police, she would be charged as an accessory to murder; or if she got bail, she would be killed.

Cox asked to be dropped off at the hospital. There, Cox called her fiancé between 8:30 and 9:30, saying she had been kidnapped, the kidnapper had been caught, and it was all over. Cox's fiancé’s truck was broken, so he told her to call her friends. Two friends testified that they received phone calls from Cox around 9:00, asking them to pick her up.

After dropping Cox off defendant purchased paint from a supply store, at 9:12 a.m. (according to the invoice).

Cox claims she lied about the kidnapping story because her life would be in danger if she told the truth. Cox told the kidnapping story to at least three other people. The story spread and became the "talk of the town."

Later that week a local bartender called Cox's fiance. He said that a man resembling Cox's kidnapper had come in, and someone had recognized him and attacked him. The man attacked was, in fact, defendant. The police were called, and Cox admitted to her fiance that she fabricated the kidnapping story.

Cox then told her fiancé that she had witnessed one, and maybe two, murders and feared for her life. She consulted an attorney. Through negotiations with the prosecuting attorney, Cox received immunity in exchange for her testimony.

Cox detailed to the police what happened to the Walters. She took them to where defendant rummaged (and left) the safe. Investigating the scene, police examined the safe and found loose change (including quarters) and other contents strewn about the area. She showed them defendant's motel room and truck. She identified the house where they picked up the bag. She confirmed a photograph of defendant. She pointed out the subdivision where defendant changed clothes.

When defendant was arrested, three sets of silver handcuffs were in his room. Defendant waived his Miranda rights. At the beginning of the interview, defendant was calm, showing little emotion. As police related Cox's details, defendant became nervous and apprehensive.

Police searched the subdivision where defendant changed clothes. In a storage area they discovered a pair of black pants and tennis shoes with the same pattern as shoeprints on the floors of the Walters' house. From defendant's truck, they seized a pair of jersey gloves, and a pry bar.

In the dumpster at defendant's motel, police retrieved a .25 caliber cartridge consistent with a misfire from a .25 caliber gun. Also in the dumpster were a bag with a camouflage jacket and a synthetic "wig or beard," another bag containing two boxes of .25 caliber rounds, three ring boxes, and various papers with defendant's name on them.

Mr. Walters was shot with a .25 caliber gun. A spent cartridge was found on Mr. Walters' back collar and a live round on the back seat of the Cadillac.

The Walters' bedroom was in shambles, with drawers open, items littering the room, a shotgun on the floor, and a .22 rifle laying across the bed. A live .25 cartridge lay on the kitchen floor, near a six- to eight-inch fillet knife. Footprints in dried dirt also appeared on the kitchen floor. Mrs. Walters' body was face down in the hallway, with cuts consistent with the fillet knife. She also had a shotgun wound to the chest.

In addition to Cox's testimony, the State called Paul Hileman who was in the Camden County Jail at the same time as defendant. Hileman testified that defendant bragged to him about the murders, relating several details. At the time of trial Hileman was in prison for first-degree property damage. Hileman had two prior convictions of burglary and stealing, two prior forgery convictions, and two prior interference-with custody convictions. The defense presented two impeachment witnesses against Hileman.

The local bartender also testified that about a week before the murders, defendant offered to sell him a .25 caliber handgun. He then testified that about a week after the murders, defendant "sold" him a bag full of loose quarters.

After deliberating for 12 hours, the jury returned a guilty verdict. It later returned two death sentences, finding five statutory aggravating circumstances as to Mr. Walters and six aggravators as to Mrs. Walters.


February 11, 2003

In a unanimous decision, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed both the guilt and penalty phases in this case, an appeal from Camden County involving post-conviction relief in a death penalty case.

A new trial was held in Camden County in June, 2006.  Today Wolfe  was sentenced to two terms of Life without Parole, plus 50 years on each of two counts of armed criminal action, and life for robbery. 


Court Sets '06 Trial for Danny Wolfe

It took 2 ½ years but Danny Wolfe-- who was likely wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Lena and Leonard Walters in rural Camden County-- finally has a date for his new trial. Platte County Judge Gary Witt at the May 27 hearing ordered the retrial to begin June 5, 2006, with jury selection set for May 15.

The Missouri Supreme Court in February 2003 overturned the murder convictions and death sentences, ruling he had inadequate representation which failed to independently investigate his strong claim of innocence.

Judge Witt also ruled favorably for Mr. Wolfe on four motions and continued to consider his request to change confinement conditions. Currently, he is locked in his cell 23 hours daily with one hour available for the shower, exercise yard, telephone for collect calls and/or to access the law library and his legal papers. Such confinement, his attorneys assert, could be used by prosecutors during the trial's sentencing phase as proof to jurors of his dangerousness to society (even though he has an excellent institutional record)-- one of many possible “aggravating factors” necessary to justify a death sentence.

Late last summer, Judge Witt honored Mr. Wolfe's request and appointed Cyndy Short, an eminently qualified lawyer outside of the public-defender system to represent him-- but the judge declined to order state funding for her work on behalf of her indigent client. Shook, Hardy and Bacon, based out of Kansas City, has thankfully agreed to assist Ms. Short in preparation for the trial, but won't be paying for her work as the lead attorney in Mr. Wolfe's defense. Please send any funds you can to help pay for her essential services.


Reflections from Danny Wolfe's 27 May Platte County Court Hearing

On Friday morning, May 27, 2005, Platte County Judge Gary Witt heard several motions presented by Cyndi Short and lawyers from Shook, Hardy and Bacon on behalf of Danny Wolfe and a few motions presented as well by Kevin Zoellner an assistant Attorney General in the case, State of Missouri v. Danny Ray Wolfe.(Mr. Wolfe had lived under a death sentence for five years after having been convicted of murdering Lena and Leonard Walters in rural Camden County. The Missouri Supreme Court in February 2003 overturned his murder convictions and death sentences, ruling he had incompetent representation which failed to independently investigate his strong claim of innocence. The court ordered the county prosecutor to set Mr. Wolfe free or re-try him.)

Perhaps one of the most poignant moments in the proceeding came very near the end. Attorneys for Mr. Wolfe, the assistant attorney general and Judge Witt, all concurred his new trial will begin June 5, 2006 with jury questioning to start two weeks earlier.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Wolfe told the FOR he had initially hoped a court date would be set early next year, yet he understands the challenges of trying to mesh the schedules of several attorneys, the state and court. Indeed he said, it is a relief to have a concrete trial date finally, after waiting for more than 2 ½ years after the MO high court's ruling. At last there is light for Danny at end of a very long tunnel.

The first motion presented at Friday's hearing dealt with the unconstitutionality of prosecutors having the use of all of Mr. Wolfe’s papers-- notes from his previous attorneys, personal writings dealing with the case, notes of trial strategy, and notes from privileged conversations between Mr. Wolfe and his attorneys. Adam Moore, an attorney with Shook, Hardy and Bacon (a nationally renowned law firm which has committed to assist Ms. Short in her defense of Mr. Wolfe) argued that to allow prosecutors full use of the file would deny Mr. Wolfe both of his 5th and 6th Amendment rights.

The 5th Amendment guarantees in a criminal case you cannot be compelled to be a witness against yourself; the 6th Amendment, among other things, deals with a person’s right to counsel. Mr. Moore also aptly pointed out, Wolfe’s previous counsel had been deemed by the Missouri Supreme Court to be so ineffective, as to merit Mr. Wolfe a new trial. Allowing the prosecution to use the file would seem to yet again subject Danny Wolfe to previous counsel’s incompetence.

The next issue dealt with by the Court was the diminished ability of Mr. Wolfe's legal team to speak with witnesses. Craig Proctor, also with the Shook law firm and representing Mr. Wolfe, reported that in April their investigator approached Jessica Cox (the state's star witness in the initial trial, who cooperated with the state to avoid prison for her part in the murders) to question her.

Before identifying himself, Ms. Cox mistakenly assumed he was with the FBI, saying she knew he was coming. The investigator then introduced himself but remained concerned an FBI investigation may be going on without the awareness of the Defense. Mr. Zoellner stated that he was unaware of such a federal investigation but that he had not specifically looked into the matter. Judge Witt ordered the state to find out if the FBI is indeed investigating this witness and to make the Defense aware of his findings. The assistant AG agreed to do so.

Ms. Cox reportedly told the investigator, prosecutors ordered her not to speak with members of Wolfe's defense team, so she declined to respond to his questions once she found out his business affiliation. Both Mr. Zoellner and Mr. Proctor acknowledged that neither of them were present during the conversation with Ms. Cox.

The attorney for Mr. Wolfe additionally questioned a contention made by Camden County Prosecutor W.J. Icenogle that defense attorneys and investigators needed to make an appointment through his office prior to their meeting with prospective witnesses and that an attorney for the state needed to be present for any such meeting.

Mr. Proctor asked that the judge write a letter instructing witnesses that they have the right to talk to defense attorneys and their investigators with or without the State’s presence. This letter would also let them know that they do not have to talk to the Defense. The State argued against such a letter but suggested that one were written, it should be shown to ALL witnesses (not just the primary witness discussed above).

Mr. Zoellner filed a motion to quash the requests of Mr. Wolfe for changes in his confinement. He contended these were issues which should be determined in federal not state court. The defendant, he argued, relinquished his right to question his living conditions when he successfully requested the court move him from the Camden County jail to the Platte City institution.

Mr. Zoellner further insisted the jail's warden not he nor the court ought to determine how Mr. Wolfe would be detained. The only issue for the court to determine was whether Mr. Wolfe was guilty of murder, according to the assistant Attorney General.

Also representing Mr. Wolfe was Tim Rieman another Shook attorney. He argued for changes in their client's confinement conditions, pleading with the court to move him out of what's essentially solidarity confinement. Currently, he is locked in his cell for 23 hours each day and allowed one hour out of the cell (which is about four strides long, the attorney notes).

During that hour, he may have access to a shower, an exercise yard (which he can't typically use because prisoners from another housing are scheduled to use it at the same time), to the telephone for collect calls, and/or to access the law library and his legal papers.

Mr. Rieman insisted that Mr. Wolfe's current conditions of imprisonment could have a significantly harmful impact during the trial's penalty phase, should he again be found guilty of the murder. Prosecutors could use the fact he was in solitary confinement as proof to jurors of his dangerousness to society, one of many possible “aggravating factors” necessary to justify a death sentence.

Previously, while he was in Camden County Jail-- and even while confined at the maximum-security Potosi Correctional Center, after being sentenced to death-- Mr. Wolfe had never been housed in such extremely confining conditions for disciplinary reasons. In his eight years since his conviction, he has had an excellent institutional record and has never been the perpetrator nor recipient of violence. There is no security rationale, the attorney argued, for Mr. Wolfe to be in solidarity confinement.

Mr. Rieman asserted that Mr. Wolfe has always been an active participant in his legal defense and knows more about the case at this point than even do his attorneys-- thus his help and unfettered access to legal materials, is essential to his ability to assist in his own defense. The defense attorney argued Mr. Wolfe was moved to Platte County so that he would be closer to the attorneys working on his case.

He sited the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on May 23, 2005 involving a Missouri prisoner Carmen Deck in which the justices ruled 7-2 that it is unconstitutional to visibly shackle and handcuff a defendant in a sentencing proceeding that could lead to the death penalty unless the shackling is justified by an “essential state interest”—such as courtroom security—specific to the defendant on trial. The Court, Mr. Rieman argued, indicated that justice is best served if defendants are detained by the least restrictive measures possible.

Bruce Tepekian, also an attorney with the Shook law firm, stated he had tried without success to mediate with Platte County Sheriff about easing his client's confinement, and approached the Court only as a last resort. His legal team accepted that such severe confinement would be acceptable for their client's first month or so in the jail, as officials reviewed Mr. Wolfe's conduct, but eight months of solidarity confinement amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

Mr. Tepekian said the Platte County sheriff told him his Camden County counterpart claimed Mr. Wolfe was an escape risk and thus solidarity confinement was prudent. Mr. Tepekian reported however, when he contacted the Camden County Sheriff, he was told they had only applied the most extreme security because Mr. Wolfe was charged with murder, and that after a period of evaluating his behavior, Camden County officials granted Mr. Wolfe privileges similar to others who were jailed there.

Another defense attorney said there were five other individuals in solitary confinement within the Platte County Jail, four of them for disciplinary reasons. He added that a couple individuals charged with murder, awaiting trial at the Platte County facility were not automatically assigned to be locked down for 23 hours each day, as had their client.

Mr. Tepekian filed a motion as well to obtain a full list of the state's evidence in its case against Mr. Wolfe. In a trip he and Ms. Short recently took to Camdenton, he said, they reviewed documents and found several not previously identified by the state. Full disclosure was essential, he noted.

Finally, the Court set a date for Danny Wolfe’s new trial, which Ms. Short predicted could last for three weeks and would involve calling at least 300 witnesses. Judge Witt agreed to a time line that all pre-trial motions would need to be filed by March 30 with a hearing on the motions to take place April 6-7. Potential jurors in Platte County would be questioned beginning on May 15. The trial would begin in Camdenton, with attorneys presenting their case to the Platte County jurors on June 5.

Judge Gary Witt said he would rule on the other motions within the next few weeks.

-- By Barbara Poe and Jeff Stack

Additional Notes:

Send donations to help support Ms. Short's work on behalf of Danny Wolfe. Late last summer, Judge Witt honored Mr. Wolfe's request and appointed as his attorney Cyndy Short, an eminently qualified lawyer outside of the public-defender system. The judge however, declined to order state funding for her work on behalf of her indigent client. Shook, Hardy and Bacon, based out of Kansas City, has thankfully agreed to assist Ms. Short in preparation for the trial, but they will not be paying for her work as the lead attorney in Mr. Wolfe's defense. At this point Ms. Short is basically working pro bono, practically without compensation (beyond a couple hundred dollars raised thus far) and will need funds to help support her family, while she prepares a vigorous, proficient defense of Danny Wolfe.


High court overturns double-murder ruling

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

JEFFERSON CITY(AP) - The Missouri Supreme Court yesterday overturned the convictions of a man sentenced to death for a double murder near the Lake of the Ozarks, ruling his attorneys failed to pursue evidence casting doubt on his guilt.

Danny Wolfe, 52, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Leonard and Lena Walters of Greenview, who were found dead on Feb. 23, 1997.

Wolfe’s convictions and death sentences had been upheld by the state’s high court during a standard appeal three years ago. But in a unanimous decision, the court ruled that Wolfe had received ineffective assistance from his attorneys.

"This court’s confidence in the fairness of the trial and the reliability of Wolfe’s conviction is seriously undermined," Judge Richard Teitelman wrote for the state’s highest court, which reversed the convictions and ordered a new trial.

The court said no physical evidence linked the killing to Wolfe, yet his attorneys had failed to adequately pursue evidence placing the prosecution’s chief witness, Jessica Cox, at the murder scene.

Cox - who was given immunity from prosecution - testified during the 1998 trial that Walters was shot during a test-drive of a red Cadillac he was offering for sale. Cox said she was driving the car and Walters was in the passenger seat when Wolfe shot him from the back seat. She said she then waited outside while Wolfe went into the couple’s home and killed Lena Walters.

Wolfe’s trial attorneys asserted that Cox was framing Wolfe. In court, however, they argued only that hair found in the car’s back seat and in a trash bin was not Wolfe’s, the Supreme Court said.

A post-trial comparison showed the hair fibers matched Cox. A defense attorney could have easily arranged a scientific comparison of the hair fibers before the trial, the court said.

"The results of the hair analysis would have likely cast doubt on Cox’s credibility," Teitelman wrote. "The evidence would have directly contradicted Cox’s testimony and supported Wolfe’s defense that Cox was framing him."

Wolfe’s two trial attorneys - public defenders Kimberly Shaw and Nancy McKerrow - did not immediately return calls to their Columbia offices yesterday. Shaw is now in private practice, and McKerrow no longer handles death penalty cases for the public defender’s office.

Attorney Melinda Pendergraph, who represented Wolfe before the Supreme Court, said the trial attorneys were led by prosecutors "to believe that the hair hadn’t really been seized, so they just dropped the ball on that and didn’t follow up."

The Supreme Court ruling "just scratches the surface in terms of the unfairness" to Wolfe, she said. "I am really happy he got a new trial," she said. "There are just a few cases in your career that you just hope and pray that they’ll get relief, and this is one of them."

Camden County prosecutor W.J. Icenogle, who handled Wolfe’s 1998 trial, declined to comment about the Supreme Court ruling.


Intervention Warranted in Danny Wolfe's Case

Coffee with a Dead Man

St. LouisPost-Dispatch Editorial (April 2000)

Robert Morgan had coffee with his friend Leonard Walters on Thursday morning, Feb., 20, 1997. Later that day Mr. Morgan saw Mr. Walters standing next to his car. The routine of that winter day wouldn't matter except that Leonard Walters and his wife, Lena, were supposed to be dead. Missouri plans to execute Dannie Wolfe for murdering the Camden county couple shortly before Mr. Walters and Mr. Morgan were having coffee.

Despite the discrepancy, the Missouri Supreme Court recently affirmed Wolfe's death sentence. Judges Michael A. Wolff and Ronnie White dissented, saying there was “substantial doubt” about Wolfe's guilt.

The case has many of the telltale signs of the 13 wrongful convictions discovered in Illinois: no physical evidence, police and prosecutorial irregularities, a self-interested witness and a jail house snitch.The story began on Feb. 19 when Jessica Cox met Dannie Wolfe during an evening of drinking and shooting pool at Lake Ozark. Wolfe, a house painter, had a 20-year criminal record. Ms. Cox ended up at Wolfe's motel. Ms. Cox's fiance testified she called him at 7 a.m. He checked the time on his caller ID. She said she had been kidnapped, was at the hospital for tests and that the kidnapper had been arrested. By Saturday night the fiance and most of the town had figured out the story was false.

Ms. Cox admitted involvement in the Walters murder. Through a lawyer, she made a deal to testify against Wolfe in return for immunity. Suspiciously, police did not record her first statement and erased another. At trial, Ms. Cox testified she and Wolfe had left the motel around 4:30 a.m. and gone to the Walters' house to buy their Cadillac.

On a test drive, Wolfe shot Walters in the head from behind. Then Wolfe went into the house and murdered Mrs. Walters, emerging from the house carrying a large safe.Ms. Cox's testimony has holes. One is that Mr. Morgan saw Mr. Walters after he was supposed to be dead. This suggests the murder actually occurred a day later, which is more consistent with autopsy results.

Another inconsistency is Ms. Cox testified she called her finance from the hospital around 9:30 a.m., two and on-half hours after he got the call. Also, she had said in a pretrial statement that “they” rather than he had carried the safe out of the house. That pronoun takes on added significance because a roommate filed an affidavit saying that Ms. Cox had told her that two men, Brian and Eric had committed the murder. The roommate did not show up at trial and Judge Mary A. Dickerson denied a recess to find her.

The judge also kept from jury important evidence impeaching Ms. Cox. As a girl, she had filed two false police complaints, claiming to have been kidnapped and raped. The other witness against Wolfe was a jail house informant who cut a deal. The prosecution violated court rules by failing for six months to disclose the informant as a witness. When the defense found out, it was discovered another prisoner who said a man named “Terry” had robbed the Walters. Terry and Ms. Cox were seen together around the time of the murders. But the judge excluded mention of Terry.

Despite the missing evidence, the state Supreme Court said it had to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict. Judge Wolff, in dissent said the court should act as a 13th juror in accord w ith state law which instructs the court to review “the strength of the evidence” in capital cases. “This review is not just for the defendant, it is for ourselves,” he wrote. “The honorable reputation of the our legal system is tarnished by ordering the execution of those who may not be guilty.”



home last updates contact