Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More Wrongly Convicted Murderers?

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2007 at 12:56 PM

In 1988, Anthony Michael Green was convicted of a rape he didn't commit. It would be 13 years before DNA evidence would finally exonerate Green. As soon as he was set free, he filed a lawsuit against the City of Cleveland. Green demanded that they do an audit of the city police laboratory. The feds were on it right away. In 2005, the federal audit revealed that forensic analyst Joseph Serowik had falsely testified against Green. Though his lab notes indicated that there was no forensic match to Green at the scene of the crime, he testified otherwise. Serowik was quickly fired. It appeared that justice had been served. But it now appears there were two more victims on Serowik's list. In 1997, a 74-year-old was beaten into a coma. Fingerprints on her body put Jason Smith at the scene of the crime. In order to reach a plea bargain, Smith pinned the beating on two other men, Thomas Siller and Walter Zimmer. A year later, they were convicted of attempted murder. But when the elderly woman died in 2001, Siller and Zimmer were retried for aggravated murder. Thanks to Serowik's forensic work, they were both found guilty and each sentenced to 40 years in prison without parole. Now The Innocence Project, a non-profit that helped exonerate Green, says that DNA evidence should set both men free. "DNA proves that these men were convicted based on false evidence," says co-director Barry Scheck. The convictions were largely Serowik's fault, he asserts. "There are only two possible explanations for what happened in this case. Either Serowik never conducted the tests that he said he did, or he conducted the tests and lied about the results." The Innocence Project filed motions to vacate both convictions. But the question remains: Who else is on Serowik's list of wrongly convicted men? --Denise Grollmus


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