Wrongly convicted?

Do you have any experience “knowing” that someone has been wrongly convicted?

Two years ago, the former director of music and worship at my church (think operations officer) was arrested for murdering an 11-year old boy.

In addition to her duties at the church, she was also a nurse and worked nights and weekends to supplement her income. In 2002 she spent a night filling in for another nurse who was providing care for a boy who had cerebral palsy. His parents made use of this in-home care so they could rest through the night.

She checked on him every couple of hours throughout the night, but at 6 a.m. found him unresponsive. He died en route to the hospital and was buried within several days.

A month later, a standard-issue toxicology report found that the probable cause of his death was an overdose of morphine, a medication to which he was particularly sensitive. Coroner ordered an investigation and the body was exhumed for autopsy. The police took statements from the nurse and the parents, but with little physical evidence, the case went cold.

Six years pass, and a newly-elected DA re-opens the case. NO new evidence was found, but he pushes for the nurse’s arrest. Long story short, she was just convicted of third degree murder.

Those who knew and worked with the defendant cannot believe that she was capable of something like pre-meditated murder or even lying about an unintentional death. Those who have followed the case cannot believe the lack of evidence the DA brought to the trial, nor can we believe that the jury was without reasonable doubt.

I, of course, do not know the truth of what happened, but I feel like this woman—a woman devoted to her church and her family—was wrongly accused and wrongly convicted. I am not alone, but am struggling with the fact that there is little I can do to change the situation.

Read more about the case

Being as the fact that Brent Weaver died of an overdose of morphine doesn’t seem to be in dispute, the only question is how was the morphine given to him? I don’t think an eleven-year-old with cerebral palsy had a secret stash of drugs. So it appears that either Joy Woomer or Carol Weaver gave the boy morphine. And the circumstantial evidence does appear to make Woomer the more likely suspect.

My first girlfriend in high school’s dad was wrongly convicted of raping her. She said he didn’t do it, he said he didn’t do it, his wife and her mom said he didn’t do it, she wasn’t even there, but his in-laws called the police to report a child being molested and he got arrested. There wasn’t really any evidence in the case, but he got 10 years probation / sex offender registration, had to move away from his daughter and wife. After then ten years were up they threw a big party and cooked ribs. I went to help him move back in with the girlfriend’s husband.

Lesson 1: Don’t piss off your crazy mother-in-law and kick her off your land for feeding your cats antifreeze.

Was it you who also has a friend who was (obviously wrongly) labeled a sex-offender for taking a leak behind a dumpster?

It seems that you mentioned his home has to have a sign announcing his deviant leanings…

ETA—I may well be thinking of another poster that lives in Texas.

A friend of mine’s mother was wrongly convicted of her husband’s murder. The scene and evidence, which would have cleared her, were horribly botched. She was in prison for about 10 years and was eventually cleared and released.

[nevermind, the M-I-L fed the antifreeze, read it wrong]

Yep! Thats me, but it wasn’t a dumpster. You can read about it here:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=11695724&highlight=registered+offender#post11695724

I really think its a Texas thing. We are pretty weird when it comes to certain laws, and things get way the hell out of hand. There is a lot of corruption in DA offices as well.

Missed edit I think, but the sign was sort of like this, but metal, and it was red where the white was and white where the red is.

http://byfiles.storage.live.com/y1pAsc88ik-7x6WxTVwkAWlXVgFSIw0S_JM4EShHX5-FYKkmKSKpO6kw8yNirmOiK1q4RWFlkgb9qs

I remember that thread, and I also remember thinking that stuff like this is why once in a while some guy gets fed up, gets himself a bottle and a couple of guns and then heads down to the local courthouse…

The worst thing about this not especially uncommon scenerio is that they NEVER manage to get the asshole DA who actually fucked their life over, but instead end up shooting an innocent janitor or some poor random secretary.

I want to make clear that I am NOT condoning this behavior, but I imagine there are more than just one or two examples of this exact type of situation happening. Being labeled a sex offender for taking a leak off of the highway is the definition of justice run amok.

You’re right that it did come down to Woomer or Weaver. From what I read of the evidence, it seems that both women had the same access and opportunity. I don’t know how easy it is to get your hands on morphine, but they certainly never proved that Joy pilfered any from previous jobs. One could argue that Carol had more of a motive.

I was casually acquainted with a guy who was sent to prison for a rape he denied. He got out because his ex-girlfried / “victim” had confided to a co-worker that she had not in fact been raped, but had merely claimed this to punish the guy. The co-worker said nothing until about 5 months later when the ex-girlfriend did something that seriously angered the co-worker, causing her to come forward.

Ex-girlfriend had a good lawyer and the final deal was that the guy could get out of prison immediately if he agreed not to take any steps against her. That’s how it ended. He lost about 14 months of his life, but it could have been much more.

But Woomer, not Weaver, was with the boy when he was overdosed. The defense presented a theory that Weaver might have prepared and administered some time-released morphine to kill Brent while he was under Woomer’s care but that seems unnecessairly complicated. As well as risky - what if Woomer had noticed Brent was in trouble and taken action? There’s also the fact that Woomer inexplicably stopped doing her rounds during the night. And the Weavers both passed lie-detector tests in 2003.