Episode 1: Wrongful conviction
Raegan: Welcome to the first episode of criminal, my name is Raegan Coffee.
Kaeleigh: My name is Kaeleigh Tuck.
Gavin: My name is Gavin Freeman.
Kaeleigh: In this episode we are talking about cases that have ended in wrongful conviction.
Gavin: There have been several cases that have ended with wrongful conviction, there is even a case that we will be talking about that ended in wrongful conviction in 1673. https://www.stmuhistorymedia.org/case-of-thomas-cornell-the-murdering-of-his-own-mother/
Raegan: (talk about what wrongful conviction is)
A wrongful conviction is a conviction of a person accused of a crime which, in the result of subsequent investigation, proves erroneous. Persons who are in fact innocent but who have been wrongly convicted by a jury or other court of law.
Kaeleigh: (talk about how wrongful conviction pulls into a case)
When wrongful conviction plays a role in a case it normally causes someone to go to jail for a long period of time for a crime they didn’t commit
Gavin: (talk about the history of wrongful convictions in cases)
Raegan: (introduce Thomas Cornell Jr.’s case)
Seventy-three year old Rebecca Cornell’s last moments on this Earth have had to have been one of the strangest moments ever. In early February 1673, Rebecca was found burnt, with flames all around her, lying some distance away from the fireplace in the downstairs room of her house. Hours before this occurred, Thomas her son had spent more than an hour talking with his mother when he decided to go upstairs with his wife and kids. He had left his mother peacefully sitting by a large fireplace in her bedroom smoking a clay pipe. A possible reason for what could have happened on the night of Rebecca’s death is that she could have been murdered by a person or a group of people because two days after Rebecca’s death, John Briggs, Rebecca’s brother in law, claimed he was visited by Rebecca’s ghost, who stated Rebecca was trying to tell her brother-in-law that her death was no accident. She failed to accuse the specific person of her death, but told Briggs that it was someone. Briggs took his testimony to the court and told the officials what he had seen.
The jury was wrong in accusing Thomas for the murder of his own mother. However, the jury’s information about Thomas that led to his conviction was mainly based on Thomas’s relationship with his mother. Their relationship was filled with bitterness and hatred that was badly fueled with financial conflict. There was no one there to see the death of Rebecca, nor was there a murder weapon found at the scene. To this day, this mystery has not found the proper reason as to what happened to Rebecca Cornell for her tragedy on February 8, 1673.
Gavin & Kaeleigh: (discuss Thomas Cornell Jr.’s case)
Kaeleigh: (introduce William Jackson Marion’s case)
William “Jack” Jackson Marion and his friend, John Cameron, traveled to Gage County, Nebraska, in search of work in 1873. While in Gage County, Marion purchased a team of horses from Cameron, making a small down payment for the purchase. The men then traveled together with the team of horses through Beatrice, Nebraska. After they passed through Beatrice, Marion was seen traveling alone with the horses and Cameron was not seen again. Shortly thereafter, a body was found in nearby Odell, Nebraska, with three bullet holes in the skull.The body was decomposed, but it was wearing clothing similar to that which Cameron had been wearing when he was last seen. The sheriff was certain that the body was Cameron and that Marion had killed him. Once located, Marion was brought back to Beatrice, Nebraska, where he was tried, convicted, and ultimately hanged for this murder on March 25, 1887. Four years after his hanging, Cameron reappeared, alive and well, in LaCrosse, Kansas.
The National Registry of Exonerations
Raegan & Gavin: (discuss the William Jackson Marion’s case)
Wrongful conviction pulls into this case because Marion was innocent of Cameron’s missing/death case. Marion was hung and killed for nothing.
Gavin: (introduce Bill Wilson’s case)
“Bill Wilson was wrongly convicted in December 1915 of the first-degree murder of his former wife Jenny and their child in 1912 based on bones that were found. He was convicted even though six witnesses, including her sister, testified at his trial to seeing the two alleged victims alive after they were allegedly murdered. Bill Wilson was sentenced to life. After Wilson’s conviction a curator from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC examined the bones and determined they were aged bones from four different people. Bill Wilson’s attorney eventually found the alleged victims alive and living in Indiana, and Wilson was pardoned by Alabama’s governor in July 1918 after 5 years of wrongful imprisonment, including 17 months held without bail prior to his trial. In 1919 he was awarded $3,500 compensation by Alabama’s legislature. However, a probate judge named as a trustee of Wilson’s account stole most of the $3,500.”
Kaeleigh & Raegan : (discuss Bill wilson’s case)
Kaeleigh: (introduce serial podcast)
Sarah koenig is the creator/host of serial, Sarah is a journalist who was contacted about Adnan Syed case. The woman who contacted Sarah about Adnan case is Adnan best friend’s sister, she wanted the podcast to bring awareness to Adnan case. She was hoping that this would help Adnan get a retrial, and help him get his freedom.
Raegan: (explain Adnan case in serial)
A high-school senior named Hae Min Lee disappeared one day after school in 1999, in Baltimore County, Maryland. A month later, her body was found in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was sentenced to life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.
Gavin: (explain why wrongful conviction can be pulled into Adnan’s case)
Wrongful conviction can be pulled into Adnan’s case because the jury used his ethnicity against him a example is that they asked him if his parents knew that him and hae were together they did this because they knew they weren’t supposed to be together since there different ethnicity backgrounds.
Kaeleigh: (explain how the cases pull together)
Adnan case and the cases we talked about have similarities, one being that in the cases there are wrongful conviction, also the evidence in all theses case are very limited.
Gavin:(explain episode 1)
This podcast was about wrongful conviction and how it played apart in adnan’s case. And this i a big deal because it can put the wrong person in jail it can cause them to use years of there life.
Raegan:(explain next podcast)
Up next on criminal you will hear more in depth about Rebecca Cornell’s last moments on this Earth. You will hear previous interviews with Thomas and hear his side of the story.