Making a Murderer

If you were wrongly convicted of a crime you didn't commit, what would you do?

Making a Murderer

The real crime team at Really can't get enough of the show 'Making a Murderer'. If you've become hooked on the show like we have, and the loopholes in the Steven Avery case, then you might be interested to hear that this isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened to someone. Below is a list of other poor individuals who have fallen victim to miscarriages of justice.

Sean Hodgson

  • Convicted - 1982
  • Released - 2009
  • Time Served - 27 years

Teresa De Simone was murdered in Southampton, England in 1979. Her murder led to one of the longest proven cases of a miscarriage of justice in British legal history. The murder was the subject of a three-year police investigation which resulted in the arrest of Sean Hodgson. Over the course of his 15-day trial it was revealed that Hodgson was a pathological liar and had actually confessed to numerous crimes, including some that he could not have committed and others that did not appear to have even happened. Hodgson was subsequently convicted of the murder by a unanimous jury verdict in 1982 and was sentenced to life in prison. After serving 27 years in prison he was exonerated and released in March 2009. DNA analysis of some samples that had been preserved from the original crime scene showed that they could not have come from Hodgson. Three years after his release, Sean Hodgson died from emphysema.

Victor Nealon

  • Convicted - 1997
  • Released - 2013
  • Time Served - 17 years

Victor Nealon was unlucky enough to spend 17 years in prison for the attempted rape of a woman leaving a nightclub - even though police at the time never actually carried out any DNA testing on the victim's clothing. During Nealon's trial in 1997, the court was told that no DNA evidence was available. But privately funded DNA tests discovered that the victim's clothes had been kept sealed and untested. In fact, the garments DID contain DNA samples - from an unknown male (who wasn't Nealon). The Criminal Cases Review Commission refused to investigate the evidence a second time, and only carried out a review at Nealon's third appeal. When Nealon was released in December 2013, he was given just £46 discharge money and spent his first night of freedom on the streets. In 2014, the Ministry of Justice ruled that Nealon would not get compensation for his 17 years behind bars.

Paul Blackburn

  • Convicted - 1978
  • Released - 1994
  • Time Served - 25 years

Peter Blackburn was accused and convicted of the sexual assault and attempted murder of a 9-year-old-boy in 1978. Blackburn was just 14 when the crime was committed. The prosecution depended on a confession by Blackburn that was written after four hours of police interrogation. During an interview with the police Blackburn was not accompanied by a solicitor nor was he accompanied by a parent or guardian. In 2005, appeal judges found that the police "did not tell the truth" when they said that the confession was offered freely and in Blackburn's own words. Blackburn says the statement was dictated to him, and expert testimony found it unlikely that a badly educated 15-year-old could have spelled so many technical terms correctly. Asked if he could return to a normal life upon his release from prison, Paul Blackburn said: "I don't know. What is a normal life after 25 years in there?"

Sam Hallam

  • Convicted - 2005
  • Released - 2012
  • Time Served - 7 years

Sam Hallam was just 18 when he was given a life sentence for the death of trainee chef Essayas Kassahun. The only evidence against him at his 2005 trial was smattered with inconsistencies and contradictory statements. In 2012, when Hallam's conviction was quashed, judges were told that Sam Hallam was the victim of a "serious miscarriage of justice". Evidence from Hallam's mobile phone showed he wasn't at the crime scene, and judges found that, for "reasons that escape us", his phone was not investigated by the police (hmm, convenient..) Hallam also suffered the loss of his father, who committed suicide when Sam was sent to prison.

Thomas Kennedy

  • Convicted - 2002
  • Released - 2012
  • Time Served - 9 years

Thomas Kennedy found himself sentenced to fifteen years in prison for a despicable crime - which, as it turns out, he had never committed. The crime was rape on at least three occasions, and the accuser was his then-eleven-year-old daughter, Cassandra. Nine years after Kennedy was convicted, Cassandra came forward and finally admitted to lying about the rape, and Thomas was released and all charges against him were dismissed. In Cassandra's own words, the reason why she made up such an awful accusation was because she "was upset because [she] felt he wasn't around enough."

Barry George

  • Convicted - 2001
  • Released - 2008
  • Time Served - 8 years

Barry George was convicted of the murder of British television presenter Jill Dando in 2001. Due to the huge popularity of the victim, there was immense outrage from the general public who were keen to see a conviction. With the absence of any other suspects, Barry George attracted police attention as many elements in his background seemed to all point to his guilt, despite the fact that the only actual evidence was a tiny speck of material that may or may not have been gunshot residue. George was convicted of murder in 2001, but was subsequently quashed in 2007, and after a retrial George was acquitted in 2008. Despite being acquitted, Barry George's claims for compensation and wrongful imprisonment have all been dismissed.

Darryl Hunt

  • Convicted - 1984
  • Released - 1994
  • Time Served - 19 years

Darryl Hunt, an African American man, at age 19, was convicted of the rape and murder of a white woman named Deborah Sykes - despite the fact that there was no physical evidence tying him to the crimes. Even with zero evidence pointing to Hunt, he was sentenced to life in prison. In 1994, Hunt was actually cleared of the rape when DNA testing proved he had never committed that crime. Despite the rape being central to the overall crime, Hunt went on to spend an additional nine years in prison until a man named Willard Brown confessed to both acts. So after nineteen years in prison, Hunt was finally released in 2004.

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