Police Induce False Confession Leading to Wrongful Conviction
Update: Be sure to follow the links provided in the comments by readers Nicole Black and Peter G to learn more about this case and about false confessions.
It was easier for the Rochester, NY police to elicit Douglas Warney's confession than it would have been to track down the actual killer of William Beason.
Warney, who has a recorded IQ of 68 and a history of mental health issues, was convicted based almost entirely on a confession he gave police after hours of interrogation-even though the confession was riddled with inconsistencies, he had a history of making false reports to police and the physical evidence at the time failed to link him to the crime. Warney was initially charged with capital murder, though he was ultimately sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
In papers filed to vacate Warney's conviction and release him from prison, the Innocence Project said Rochester police officers provided key details of the murder to Warney during interrogations. Once Warney repeated those details-which were not publicly available-in a confession, police and prosecutors focused on no other suspects and secured his conviction by saying nobody but the perpetrator of the crime would know such details.
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