David Thorne was convicted on January 25, 2000, and sentenced to life without parole in Ohio, for allegedly hiring an acquaintance to kill his son’s mother Yvonne Layne in 1999. The problem is that evidence clearly shows that David Thorne is an innocent man.
The appeals system in the United States operates at an incredibly slow pace, making it difficult to correct a wrongful conviction no matter how strong the case for innocence may be. And, as seen in Thorne’s case, the system often fails to recognize wrongful convictions even when presented with overwhelming evidence of innocence. As a result, an estimated 100,000 innocent people remain in our prisons today, all but forgotten by society.
Thorne has proclaimed his innocence from the beginning, and evidence has come forward since his trial showing that egregious misconduct took place during the investigation and prosecution of his case. Investigators displayed a bad case of tunnel vision by failing to pursue other possible suspects. They also obtained a coerced false confession from a young man with a cognitive deficiency, who not only implicated himself but also implicated Thorne. The prosecution furthered the misconduct by withholding exculpatory witness evidence from the defense which could have greatly benefited their case. Sadly, two innocent people are now in prison, while the perpetrator remains free.
Thorne, who has an iron-clad alibi, was implicated by a mentally and emotionally impaired man named Joseph Wilkes. After being interrogated and threatened with the death penalty, Wilkes told his interrogators that he was hired by Thorne to commit the murder. The problem was that Wilkes was unable to provide accurate details of the crime scene. Forensic Scientist Brent Turvey analyzed the case for Thorne’s defense during his appeals. According to Turvey, Wilkes got every detail of the crime wrong, except the type of weapon used. Shockingly, the jury bought the flawed confession, despite its glaring inconsistencies, putting Wilkes and Thorne in prison for the rest of their lives. Wilkes has since recanted his confession and implication of Thorne, stating that he recited everything the police told him because he was fearful of being put to death. Continue reading>>