Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Damon Thibodeaux; New Orleans; (Civil suit); Freed after 15 years on death row; DNA findings clearly contradict the false confession evidence that nearly took his life. The Courthouse News.

STORY: "Free after 15 years on death row," by reporter Sabrina Canfield, published by The Courthouse News  Service on September 26, 2013;

GIST: "A man with an I.Q. of 79 spent 15 years on death row after New Orleans sheriff's officers spent nine hours coercing him into confessing to a rape and murder he didn't commit, the freed man claims in court. Damon Thibodeaux sued Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand and six of his high-ranking officers, in Federal Court.  Thibodeaux seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the 16 years he spent in prison - 15 of them on death row. He claims the defendant officers could not have actually believed he committed the rape and murder they bullied him into confessing.  Defendants include four sheriff's lieutenants, a major and a sergeant.........n 2009, several well-known forensic scientists, including Dr. Edward T. Blake, performed DNA testing on clothing worn by Crystal Champagne and Thibodeaux at the time of her death.  "In June and September 2010, Dr. Blake issued comprehensive reports confirming what Dr. Lee and every other forensic expert, the DNA testing laboratory, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office Crime Lab had previously found - that no evidence connected Damon Thibodeaux to Crystal Champagne's body, her clothing, or the crime scene, although had he actually been the perpetrator, that evidence would have existed in abundance," the lawsuit states.  Blake's findings, along with every other scientist that examined the evidence, disproved Thibodeaux's false confession to raping and killing Crystal Champagne, the complaint states. Their work proved that "Crystal Champagne had not been raped and, indeed, had not engaged in any sexual intercourse on the day of her death," according to the complaint. The Jefferson Parish District Attorney's own psychiatric expert conducted extensive interviews with Thibodeaux and numerous people familiar with his history, and based on those interviews, the expert also concluded Thibodeaux's confession had been false, the complaint states."

The entire story can be found at:



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