Thursday, April 16, 2015

Eric Wilson, Joseph Dick Jr., Derek Tice and Danial Williams -the former sailors known as the Norfolk Four; Virginia: Testifying at an evidentiary hearing in U.S. District Court in Richmond, where they are trying to get their convictions for the rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko overturned. Williams testified Thursday that he falsely confessed to a 1997 rape and murder because he wanted the 11 hours of grueling interrogation by aggressive police detectives to end. "I just couldn't take it anymore." Former detective Robert Glenn Ford, who allegedly pressured Williams to falsely confess, was convicted in 2011 of extortion and lying to the FBI in unrelated cases. He is serving 12½ years in prison for taking tens of thousands of dollars from drug dealers in exchange for getting them favorable treatment at sentencing.















STORY: "Norfolk 4: sailor says he confessed to end interrogation," by Associated Press reporter Larry O'Dell, published on April 16, 2014.

PHOTO CAPTION:   "The former sailors known as the Norfolk Four, from left, Eric Wilson, Joseph Dick Jr., Derek Tice and Danial Williams, meet with their appeal lawyers in 2010 in Washington, D.C. It was the first time the four were together since their arrests."

GIST:  A former sailor testified Thursday that he falsely confessed to a 1997 rape and murder because he wanted the 11 hours of grueling interrogation by aggressive police detectives to end. "I just couldn't take it anymore," Danial Williams said. "I couldn't take being called a liar, the pressure." Williams and Joseph Dick Jr. testified at an evidentiary hearing in U.S. District Court in Richmond, where they are trying to get their convictions for the rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko overturned. Williams and Dick are two of the so-called "Norfolk Four," ex-sailors who have long claimed that police coerced them into falsely confessing. The four men, who were all stationed at Norfolk Naval Station, drew national attention when their innocence claims were backed by dozens of former FBI agents, ex-prosecutors and novelist John Grisham. In 2009, then-Gov. Tim Kaine freed three of the men because of doubts about their guilt but allowed their convictions to remain. The fourth man, Eric Wilson, had already been released. Derek Tice is the lone member of the Norfolk Four who has managed to get his convictions overturned. DNA evidence in the case matched a fifth man, Omar Ballard, who confessed to committing the crime alone. He is serving a life sentence.........Ford wore him down by repeatedly calling him a liar, Williams said, and told him he was facing a capital murder charge if he didn't confess. He said Ford helped him rehearse a confession several times before taping it. Williams said in the statement that he beat Moore-Bosko with his fist and a shoe, but evidence later showed she had been strangled and stabbed. Ford was convicted in 2011 of extortion and lying to the FBI in unrelated cases. He is serving 12½ years in prison for taking tens of thousands of dollars from drug dealers in exchange for getting them favorable treatment at sentencing. Dick testified that Ford's relentless interrogation and threat of the death penalty left him confused. "My head was so spun around I didn't know left from right, up from down," Dick said. Dr. Richard Ratner, a forensic psychiatrist, said testing showed that Dick is "extremely suggestible" and easily intimidated — traits that made him vulnerable to the detectives' tactics. University of San Francisco law professor Richard A. Leo said people doubt the reality of false confessions because they don't believe they would ever make one. But most people know nothing about how police interrogations can distort a suspect's thinking, said Leo, an expert in the subject. He said it appears that Dick eventually came to believe that he must have participated in the crime even though he couldn't remember it. Tice also testified that Ford used the death penalty threat against him. "He told me I was going to get the needle if I kept lying," Tice said. But he said he didn't crack until Ford showed him a picture of the victim's body and asked, "How would you feel if this was your daughter?" Tice's daughter was 4 at the time. "I couldn't even imagine her being hurt," Tice said. "A picture of her being dead destroyed me. I put my head in my hands and started to sob. I just didn't want that image in my head." He added: "The only way I felt I would get out of that room and away from Ford was to tell him what he wanted to hear." U.S. District Judge John Gibney will hear from prosecution witnesses, including some former Norfolk detectives, Friday but is not expected to make a decision for a few weeks.

The entire story can be found at:

http://hamptonroads.com/2015/04/norfolk-4-sailor-says-he-confessed-end-interrogation

See the entire Frontline documentary on the Norfolk 4: "The Confessions." "Eight men charged. Five confessions. But only one DNA match. Why would four innocent men confess to a brutal crime they didn't commit? In The Confessions, FRONTLINE producer Ofra Bikel (Innocence Lost, An Ordinary Crime) investigates the conviction of four men -- current and former sailors in the U.S. Navy -- for the rape and murder of a Norfolk, Va., woman in 1997. In the first television interviews with the "Norfolk Four" since their release, Bikel learns of some of the high-pressure police interrogation techniques -- the threat of the death penalty, sleep deprivation, intimidation -- that led each of the men to confess, despite the lack of any evidence linking them to the crime."

 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/the-confessions/

See Wikipedia account:On Jan. 15, 1998, Omar Ballard pled guilty to the rape of a fourteen-year-old girl. In February of the same year, he sent a letter to a female acquaintance threatening her and indicating that he had murdered Michelle Moore Bosko.[11] It was later discovered that Ballard was an associate of Michelle Moore Bosko. Tamika Taylor, who had introduced Ballard to the Boskos and knew about his history of violence towards women, had told the police that they should investigate him as a possible suspect.[11] Ballard was later investigated for the crime and arrested after it was discovered that his DNA matched that found at the crime scene.[11] Ballard confessed to the crime, giving a description that aligned with the physical evidence. Despite police pressure to implicate Williams, Tice, Dick, and Wilson, Ballard insisted that he had committed the crime alone, saying that "those four who opened their mouths were stupid".[11] The police incorporated Ballard into their theory of the crime, but insisted that Ballard refused to name his accomplices for fear of being labeled a "snitch" and that the other men, who had been willing to implicate others in the crime, were afraid of Ballard and thus refused to implicate him.[5]

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norfolk_Four

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
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Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;