Arlo Olson, 1977-2017

ArloWe were deeply saddened to receive news of Arlo Olson’s passing and further disheartened to learn that he took his own life while in custody.

Arlo was the victim of a terribly dysfunctional justice system that did not take his humanity into account when arranging for a wrongful conviction, just as it did not consider ours. Today, it is his humanity alone that matters.

Arlo Olson struggled for nearly a lifetime with mental illness as well the addiction and behavioral issues that often follow in its wake. To the degree that his choices were his own in regards to our case, he was given forgiveness long ago. His last act toward the Fairbanks Four was one of bravery and honesty and it is that act we will choose to remember.

Arlo Olson had a family who loved him dearly. He was a son, a father, a brother, and there always was and always will be much more to his story than its interconnection to this case.

As survivors of systemized injustice we will continue to advocate for true justice, which includes the humane treatment of inmates and access to dignified and quality mental health services within our prison systems.

Our hearts are with the Olson family today, and we hope they receive an outpouring of love and support in this time of grief. Arlo is with his Creator now who knows the contents of his soul and will no doubt receive him with love beyond our understanding.

Rest in peace, Arlo.

 

 

Below is a memorial written byAdrienne B. who graciously shared it here. This friend of Arlo’s reveals a star-gazer and cook, and her words are stronger than ours:

 

My grandma Alma couldn’t say Arlo. Every time he’d cook her a meal, she’d say “Orville, you’re a real good cook. You should open a cafe and call it Orville’s.” He was very particular about his clothes, down to matching his hat to his shoelaces. I went to visit him in Valdez one summer when he was a supervisor for Peter Pan. When I showed up, he was wearing a large pink Alaska tourist themed sweatshirt and some highwater green pants with that really big eye smiling, childish grin. He had done his laundry the previous night and didn’t want to smell eau de fishy so he added a small bottle of bleach to his whites and his jeans. At least he separated them. He finished his shift and we ran into town to only be able to find Lee jeans and Hanes white tshirts with a wool flannel shirt. He went from being dressed like an old lady to an old man with suspenders the week I was there. Those little Phillipino ladies took him under their wing and helped him with his laundry and made sure he ate for the rest of the season. He liked cream in his tea and couldn’t wait go the fall time so he could watch the stars. Godspeed my friend. Those of you reading this that are feeling sad, I pray you too find your place of love and gratitude for being blessed with such a kind soul. He wouldn’t want you to be sad, that’s why he always made you feel important and loved. It’s and good day to celebrate that love. Rest assured from the Heavens above, his loved ones know his sissy Tass has her big brother to hold hands with and run in the tall grass by the river to visit grandpa Aggie and Grandma Marylene. The four of them I’m sure have stopped in to visit my grand alma and grandpa Roland. In good time, in good faith, God promises I too will join them. Until then, I’ll continue to look for them in the stars. Ill speak up about the stigma of mental illness, fight for fair treatment in the system for those suffering from their own minds and let the memory of his beautiful hands be a part it. He may no longer be here in flesh, but a part of him will continue to live through so many wonderful memories. Bless and be blessed my friends.

Advertisements

I Am Spartacus – Prosecutor’s Hate Speech Backfires in Fairbanks Four Case

fairbanksfour4Prosecutor Jeff O’Bryant, in cooperation with lead detective Aaron Ring, was without question the driving force behind the conviction of the Fairbanks Four. They pursued the conviction with a strange zealotry that to this day remains hard to understand.

By the time the cases went to trial it is impossible to conceive that the two men driving the court action could have possibly believed that the Fairbanks Four were guilty. In fact, they fabricated court exhibits, coached testimony they knew to be false, and attempted to intimidate defense witnesses, threatening them with arrest if they testified. They do not appear in this story as men who believed incorrectly that the four young men were guilty. They do not come across as men making a mistake – in reality it is clear that their actions were deliberate and calculated. And someday, we hope they are imprisoned for the crimes they committed.

Jeff O’Bryant was the man who tried and convicted George Frese, Kevin Pease, Eugene Vent, and Marvin Roberts. He went to trial with very little evidence of any kind, a few jailhouse snitches in his pocket, one fabricated exhibit presented as scientific, and absolutely no physical evidence. In addition to the lack of evidence indicating the men were guilty, there was a tremendous amount of alibi testimony indicating that the men were innocent. To convict the Fairbanks Four, O’Bryant knew he would have to convict the alibis, the witnesses, and in reality, all Native people. He had the ideal stage. Overt, extreme racism against the Native people of Alaska is the norm in the northern state. Persuading an all-white jury that being guilty of being Native was guilty enough was not as difficult as we hope it will be someday. So, Jeff O’Bryant argued that the alibi witnesses in the Fairbanks Four case should be ignored because they were simply Indians sticking together the way Indians do, a la “Spartacus.”

Fortunately for ol’ Jeff, the jury must have met the demographic of people who have seen the movie Spartacus. In order to fully understand the reference we did some research into the Spartacus mythology, and the pop culture “I Am Spartacus” moment that Jeff O’Bryant compared Native people to. And, wow, Jeff. He got it all wrong. He really misunderstood Spartacus. And he really misunderstood Native people. He really misunderstood a lot of things, and the jury misunderstood with him. But at the end of the day, he may be right about the Spartacus-Fairbanks Four Supporter connection.

spartacusThe mythology of Spartacus has taken many forms, and made its way into American pop culture in the 1960 movie “Spartacus” starring Kirk Douglas. According to that account, Spartacus was born into a corrupt Roman empire, where the poor were regularly enslaved as soldier in a never-ending series of wars. Spartacus was born a soldier in that world, but eventually refused to fight and escaped. He was hunted down and arrested, then turned over as a slave in a labor camp. While enslaved there, Spartacus led a small band of other slaves to freedom with a brazen escape plan. Shortly after escaping, the enemy army located Spartacus and his fellow slaves in a camp. They fought off the soldiers sent to recapture them, and went on to free many more slaves and win many battles. At its height, his army born from a slave uprising is said to have reached over 100,000 men. As the leader of the most notable uprising of the lower class against the government in the history of the Roman empire, Spartacus was most-wanted man in the ancient world and there was a huge price on his head. When the Roman army eventually circled around and outnumbered the escaped slaves they made the recaptured soldiers a simple offer: all of the slaves would be pardoned. They would not be killed, but would remain slaves. All of their lives would be spared so long as they handed over Spartacus. If they failed to hand over Spartacus, they would all be crucified.

Spartacus heard the offer while they all sat surrounded and stood up. To spare the lives of his friends and fellow warriors, he said “I am Spartacus.” But one after another, more slaves stood up and proclaimed “I am Spartacus.”

i-am-spartacus-2The rebel army that stood behind Spartacus met a bloody fate. Most were killed that day in 73 BC and in the days that followed. 6,000 escaped followers of Spartacus were hunted down and crucified. The government lined the streets with their corpses as a warning to any other citizens considering rising up against the empire. Yet, the men died free, and the rebellion has inspired humanity ever since.

The story of Spartacus is told as a story of loyalty. Bravery. Of the perseverance of the human spirit and the ability to defeat enormous enemies in the face of oppression if not logistically, then spiritually.

With that in mind, it is a strange and poignant irony that Prosecutor Jeff O’Bryant chose this story as the metaphor for the Fairbanks Four alibis and witnesses. O’Bryant argued, apparently persuasively, that the witnesses were all somehow simultaneously fabricating their testimony in an effort to protect other Natives. Slaves. Unruly slaves were what came to mind when O’Bryant wanted to undermine an entire race of people.  According to the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer, O’Bryant told this version of the Spartacus story in closing arguments:

“It reminded me,” he told jurors, “of the movie where the Romans have a bunch of prisoners, slaves, and there’s an uprising amongst the slaves because of the conditions. And the leader of the uprising, apparently, was Spartacus.”

When the Romans came looking for Spartacus, O’Bryant observed, “much like the witnesses here” slaves stepped forward declaring “I am Spartacus,” one after another.

When the jury announced a guilty verdict, Kevin Pease turned to Jeff O’Bryant and said, “How does it feel to convict an innocent man, Jeff?”

How did it feel, Mr. O’Bryant?

fairbanksfour6In 1997 there was no army. There was no conspiracy, there was no massive decision by dozens upon dozens of Native people to lie for the benefit of other Native people. There were only people, telling the truth in a court of law, where they were dismissed at face value because of their ethnicity. Kids. Living out a role they were born into. They hadn’t had that moment yet. That moment when you realize some kinds of discrimination are bigger than the individual. Those kids walked into the courtroom believing justice was blind, and they walked out with their eyes wide open.

billfairbanksofurBut today, there is an army. There are thousands of people willing to stand behind these wrongfully convicted men and say, if you take one innocent person you take us all. To say no, we will not quietly allow you to take a few people in exchange for a life where we are complicit in our own continued enslavement. Thank you for pointing us to this inspiring bit of history. But remember, never take heavy words for granted. Never forget words have a power all their own, that once they leave your mouth there is always the risk that they will be truly heard. Cause guess what, Jeff? Can you hear them now? They’re saying, I am Spartacus. We are all Spartacus.

fairbanksfour5 fairbanksfour3 fairbanksfour4 fairbanksfour2 secrethearing1 IMG_1857 courthousecrowd 415 (1024x683) IMG_7093 IMG_7092

William Holmes Confession in Hartman Murder Supported by Others, Evidence

decadeSince the moment the Fairbanks Four were arrested for the murder of John Hartman in 1997 the case has been plagued by questions, community concern, and accusations of corruption. As the years passed the movement to exonerate the men convicted in the locally notorious beating death has not faded, but grown larger and more persistent. These efforts have raised funds for rewards, appeals, litigation costs, awareness campaigns, and to support the work of the Alaska Innocence Project. Many events, speeches, news articles, television specials, and rallies have been held over the course of the sixteen years that the Fairbanks Four have been incarcerated, and the case has long been a line dividing the residents of Alaska’s “Golden Heart City” between those who believe the four are innocent and those who do not. In all the years that the case has worked its way through the Alaska court system and the court of public opinion, there is no question that the most explosive development in the Hartman murder and plight of the Fairbanks Four has been the confession of convicted killer William Holmes, who names himself and four other men as the true perpetrators of the murder of John Hartman.

Holmes ConfessionThe handwritten confession, received by Alaska Innocence Project in late 2011, is the most shocking revelation of the application for a post conviction relief file on behalf of the “Fairbanks Four” on September 25, 2013. However, the handwritten three page confession is only a fraction of the contents of the 138-page filing. (READ CONFESSION).

 

Following the filing the State of Alaska’s representatives, Jason Skidmore on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office and Fairbanks Police Chief, were dismissive of the confession. Their criticism was essentially that the confession was not credible given the source – that the character of a known murderer was suspect and Holmes had nothing to lose. In this post we seek to counter that position and give a brief overview of the supporting statements of others and documentation that bolster the validity of Holmes’ confession.

In the days and weeks to come we will take a more detailed look at each of these piece of the Alaska Innocence filing. But for now, we want to outline the contents of the filing that corroborate the confession.:

1.) The affidavit of Scott Davison, who provided a statement to Alaska Innocence Project in 2008. In his sworn affidavit Davison details the confession that Jason Wallace gave to him in 1997 in the days after the murder of John Hartman. The details of the confession Davison recalls and the confession of Holmes, each given without the knowledge of the other and some 14 years apart, match closely. Scott came forward with no motivation (reward was not yet in place) beyond doing the right thing.

2.) The DMV records supporting that Holmes in fact owned and was driving the vehicle he describes in the confession. When a confession is not credible, small details are incorrect. For example, a person fabricating a confession often does something like name a car that they owned, but not at the time of the crime.

3.) Records from the FNSB School District affirming that the five accused were, as Holmes claims, classmates. They all attended Lathrop Highschool, as did EJ Stevens and Chris Stone, the last two people to see Hartman alive. Again, this is the kind of small detail that a false confession often misses.

4.) The filing also indicates that sealed statements made by Jason Wallace likely corroborate the confession of William Holmes. Reporter Brian O’Donoghue recently wrote an article that addressed this sealed statement in detail. His speculation, backed up by jailhouse interviews with Wallace and some thinly veiled comments from a few local public defender’s, is essentially that Wallace confessed to the Hartman murder sometime around 2002-2004 to his public defender, but that the attorney has kept quiet under the guise of attorney-client privilege. Unless and until a judge orders the “sealed” evidence to be opened, its contents cannot truly be know. But O’Donoghue’s work provides a strong hint to the contents of the evidence under seal. Read the article HERE.

5.) The details in the confession of William Holmes closely match what is known about the crime, victim’s injuries, and crime scene. Holmes describes spotting Hartman as he turned off of Barnette Street. He describes how Jason Wallace stomped Hartman over and over, despite the protests of the others present. He describes how, as Marquez Pennington rifled through the contents of Hartman’s pockets, the boy was shaking and then went limp. Hartman was found with the contents of his pockets scattered about, his wallet missing, laying face up with his knees on the curb, torso in the street, his baggy pants down near his knees, and other clothing in place. Hartman was displaying deceberate posturing, a body state that is indicative of severe brain injury, and often brain death. It is likely that the moment when Hartman stopped shaking was the moment of brain death. His belongings were scattered as they rifled through his pockets. His position was consistent with the assault type.

6.) Holmes does not mention a sexual assault. There was early police speculation and a “satanic panic’ style community belief that Hartman was sexually assaulted. In reality there was no determination of sexual assault by anyone besides one under-qualified nurse who likely mistook the anal dilation associated with brain trauma for a sign of sexual assault. The state medical examiner and other experts brought in to look for indications of sexual assault found none. The fact is that the physical evidence of the crime never supported a claim of sexual assault, although the press and community clung to it. Given that there is more evidence that Hartman was not sexually assaulted than that he was, there is credibility in a confession that does not contain this element.

7.)  Holmes states that Jason Wallace, the ‘ringleader’ in the account give by Holmes, had a substantial amount of blood on his clothes and shoes. Although the crime scene was described as bloodless by police, and had not been seen until the image on this blog was unearthed (HERE), the nature of Hartman’s injuries, statements by the people who found him, and recollection of responding EMTs always lead most who considered it to assume that whoever committed the crime would have had a substantial amount of DNA evidence on themselves and any getaway vehicle.

8.) The Holmes confession meets all litmus tests used to determine if a confession is legitimate. He provides details on location, the victim, the motivation, and shares the chilling details that have remained with him through the years. He does all of the talking, and is not prompted with leading questions or supplied details to repeat. No one forgets a murder. Holmes has spent the last eleven years without access to the internet, to news about this case, with no contact with the others he names, and had to draw his confession from memory alone, and memory that was a decade and a half old. That he was able to provide so much detail is indicative credibility. The experience of participating in a killing as a teenager would be traumatic. Even though he says “mentally, I lived as if that night never happened,” the details were likely so clear and accessible because they were so traumatic and remained vivid.

The filing corroborates every independent and verifiable statement made by Holmes. However, the State of Alaska has still chosen to question the credibility based on the character of William Holmes as well as the “nothing to lose” factor (Holmes is serving a double life sentence for unrelated killings). We would like to address both attacks on the credibility of the confession.

First, let us say that the ONLY credible confession of murder comes from a murderer. When a false confession of murder is elicited it is, in fact, not particularly credible (read about that HERE). It is a sad irony that the Fairbanks Chief of Police would make the statement that confessions of murder by known murderers is not the kind of confession he finds credible, in light of the fact that the FPD was quite willing to take confessions in this case from innocent men that were clearly not credible. It is impossible to receive a credible confession of murder from anyone except a killer. That three of the five men named have committed other murders does not detract from the credibility of the confession, it strengthens it. It is a tragic revelation. The moment that John Hartman stopped shaking these men became killers. Three of the five went on to become serial killers. That these men are capable of the crime is clear. We find this unimaginably sad, but also very true.

The second attack on the credibility of the confession is that Holmes has nothing to lose by confessing. He is serving a double life sentence, so it is absolutely true that the threat of additional time is probably not the kind of disincentive that it would be for a free man. That said, Holmes lives in a maximum security prison in California, which has the highest rate of murder of incarcerated men by incarcerated men in the country. It is well-known that in prison culture the most hated and attacked prisoners are snitches and child molesters (there are thousands of killings and articles and studies to underscore that, look on your own if you like, HERE is a relatively random one if you would like to read about snitching in prison).

William Holmes, 1997

William Holmes, 1997

The reality is that William Holmes has nothing to gain, and everything to lose. He has put his life on the line, and although we will not defend his character, he has risked the only thing he still has – his life. Assuming he is not killed for snitching, he has certainly sentenced himself to a life of isolation, fear, and assault.  It is impossible to say what motivated Holmes, but the most likely one is perhaps the most simple – for 16 years he has lived knowing that innocent men are in prison for a crime they did not commit and he chose to right that wrong. He has committed the sin of murder, and there is nothing he can do to bring the people he killed back to their families. But he does have the ability to do what he can to end his part in the ongoing victimization of the Fairbanks Four. For all of these many years people have hoped, prayed, and dreamed that the hearts of whoever killed John Hartman would be called to come forward. We choose to believe that those prayers certainly can permeate concrete and pass through prison walls, and that they reached William Holmes and called him to do the right thing.

If Holmes came forward just to clear his conscience, he would hardly be the first. Many wrongful convictions have been resolved after the true perpetrator confesses (read those stories HERE and HERE). Sadly, initial reactions to the confessions that eventually freed the innocent in those cases were met with the same predictable response that the State of Alaska has expressed in the Fairbanks Four case.

It is extremely uncommon for a prisoner, even a lifetime prisoner, to arbitrarily confess to a crime he did not commit. Voluntary false confessions are rare as well. It is reasonably common for the wrongfully convicted to be cleared or unsolved crimes to be solved when a perpetrator voluntarily confesses years later. These confessions usually come from prison cells, because the perpetrator went on to commit similar crimes and were eventually caught.

William Holmes’s confession is credible. And, contrary to the sentiment expressed by the state of Alaska, no one has to take his word for it in isolation. The confession is backed up by hard corroboration, the matching statements of others given at other times without collaboration, and mounds of anecdotal evidence that indicates that this is what a credible confession looks like. (Read about credible confessions HERE).

Regardless of his past misdeeds, William Holmes made a decision to tell the truth. And, as we have said many times, the truth will prevail. The truth will FREE THE FAIRBANKS FOUR.

 

*Footnote – it remains necessary, although painful, to write about the details of the last moments of John Hartman’s life. To those who knew and loved him, we are sorry if our words bring you pain. We have posted about that HERE and encourage all of our readers to pray for John, his family, and remember to honor his memory as best you can.

Bloody Photos of the “Bloodless” Crime Scene Emerge

Aside

ImageWhen Calvin Moses and his passengers came upon a young John Hartman badly beaten, barely alive, and draped over a curb around 2:50am on that cold night in October 1997, the sight of his body was so frightening that the four adults did not get out of the car for fear the attackers were still nearby. They rushed to a nearby apartment complex and called 911. In fact, John Hartman was so bloody and badly beaten that they could not tell if he was a boy or girl, face up or face down. Only that if he was alive, he was barely alive.

One EMT who responded to the call was so badly shaken that he called home, woke his wife, and pleaded with her to lock the door. In the first newspaper article about the case (HERE) the lead detective described the crime scene as “horrific.”

Perhaps Detectives Aaron Ring and Jim Grier (who did the bulk of the police work on this case) believed that when the lab results came back from the car, the clothes, boots, shoes, hands, and feet of the four young men they had arrested in the hours immediately following the girssly discovery of the murdered boy, that the lab results would show what any reasonable person would expect to find on the people and car used to commit a violent stomping and beating death – DNA. And lots of it. But the lab results didn’t tie the Fairbanks Four to the victim. So, they tested, and retested. They took Marvin’s car apart to the point that it cannot be reassembled, searching for blood. And they found NONE.

NO DNA EVIDENCE HAS EVER LINKED THE FAIRBANKS FOUR TO THE CRIME THEY ARE CHARGED WITH COMMITTING.

When the police realized that there was no physical evidence linking Marvin Roberts, Kevin Pease, Eugene Vent, or George Frese to the murder of John Hartman, they did not begin looking for other leads. They did two things – they shopped for jailhouse snitches and “lost” a lot of evidence that would have supported claims of innocence by the four young men and pointed to the guilt of others.

So many things have been lost in the Fairbanks Four case. Life. Time. Freedom. Hope. Memory. Intangible things.

But a lot of other things were lost. Tangible things. Evidence. For example, the first interview police did with Chris Stone. That was “lost.” The transcript of the police interview with EJ Stevens simply directs the reader to the audio recording. Somehow, it was lost. Perhaps no coincidentally “lost” piece of evidence stands out more than the missing crime scene pictures. With no photographs of the crime scene, the public and juries had to rely on the word of the investigators who examined the crime scene (primarily Ring and Grier).

For many in the Native community the moment that the crime scene went from “horrific” to “virtually bloodless” was the moment when it became completely clear that something was extremely wrong with this case. These are, after all, a people who have many times seen a death on the first winter snows when they are blessed with a moose to feed their families. The idea that place where a boy was kicked and beaten to death would be bloodless has long seemed to be a deliberate lie. We can now confirm that anyone who saw the crime scene and later described it as bloodless was lying, and readers can confirm that for themselves by looking at the recently unearthed photograph above.

When KTUU Channel 2 Anchorage did their documentary The 49th Hour: The Fairbanks Four, they were granted access to the historical footage shot by KTVF. During this same KTUU documentary (which you can watch HERE) the CURRENT Fairbanks Police Department police chief applauds the exemplary work of the detectives who investigated the murder of John Hartman, even calling it “model” police work. In that film footage from KTVF that KTUU producers unearthed, buried in the long-forgotten reels of film shot the day that John Hartman died, were a series of images of the crime scene the police and DA described as bloodless. This photograph of the place John Hartman was killed looks exactly as we would have imagined.

Those of us that live with the land and feed our children with what we can gather and hunt know something about blood and snow. We have seen the warm blood of an animal hit snow and race across the surface, frozen. We have seen it seep, and spread slowly from a wound. The place where a life is taken, even when taken respectfully with one swift and cordial wound, is marked on the snow until spring washes it away. We know the way that snow makes blood sticky, how the course hair of moose cling to your hands and boots and resists any attempt to cast it away.

To take a life is to spill blood, and blood remains there where life poured out, and upon those who touched it. It tracks on boots and pants, fingers and hands. Life does not disappear without a trace. John Hartman did not lose his life without leaving a mark behind. Those who killed him did not leave the scene of the crime without the blood of John Hartman on their feet, in their car, on their clothes, their shoes, and hands.

That DNA evidence probably washed over time, as seasons changed. But blood is on the hands of many in the case of the Fairbanks Four: Those who really did kill John Hartman, those who chose to deliberately wrongfully convict the Fairbanks Four believing they had so little value that they would never be remembered and fought for, and those who “lost,” altered, hid, corrupted, and lied. Those people have blood on their hands that cannot be washed away with water or with time. For all those in our community and world who have blood on their hands through murder, corruption, conspiracy, or through the crime of silence, we have a prayer always on our lips and in our hearts for you – that someday you will be free from the prison you built for yourself. That you will choose to redeem yourself as best you can during your time on this earth. That you remember that every day that innocent men spend in prison for a crime they did not commit, you commit another crime, and your guilt grows.

You can try to bury the truth. You can try to outrun it, you can try to lose it by forcing it deep into the darkest theatres of the mind. But you cannot destroy it. You can take a lot from another human being – their life, their time, even their hope. But you cannot take their story, and you cannot take the truth. Truth has a power of its own, and someday, the truth will FREE THE FAIRBANKS FOUR.

The Truth About Deception – Eugene’s Interrogation

The true definition of con·fes·sion is: Noun. A formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a crime.

The truth is Eugene did not confess. But he did make incriminating statements after many hours of interrogation.

The truth us that the police, media, and prosecuters led all of Alaska to believe in those first days that he had confessed.

The truth is that the issue of false confessions is one of the hardest elements of this case for most people to understand, but we are not going to avoid it. We are going to address it right away.

The truth is, police can lie to a person they are interrogating. Period. It is legal, and it is common practice.  Their right to do so has long been protected and upheld in the highest courts of this country.

The truth is, the average Native kid from Interior Alaska, especially before this case, had no idea that the police can lie to you.  We were raised to believe that police should be honest.

The truth is, the police can tell some pretty compelling lies. They can, for example, tell a drunk seventeen year old who was blacked-out drunk for half the night that there is blood on his shoes. That his friends say he kicked someone. Lies that are hard to imagine. The truth is that they can use lies like weapons, to take someone’s mind apart.

The truth is, they did that to Eugene. It took over eleven hours.

The truth is, eventually, he fell for it.

The truth is, the interrogation technique the FPD used on Eugene is not used anymore, because it turns out it is a good way to trick someone, but not a good way to find out the truth.

The truth is, false confessions may be the single leading cause of wrongful convictions in homicide cases.

The truth is that more than two-thirds of the DNA-cleared homicide cases documented by the National Innocence Project were caused by false confessions.

The truth is that 93% of false confessors are men. 65% are under 25 years of age.

The truth is, multiple false confessions to the same crime were obtained in 30% of the cases, wherein one false confession was used to prompt others.

The truth is, the majority of people polled believe that a person would “never” or “almost never” confess to a crime they had not committed.

The truth is, most of us are blessed enough to have never had our psyche tested to that point. We are lucky that we do not know firsthand what it feels like to be interrogated for murder, and in reality we do not know how we would respond.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE, JUST LOOK FOR IT.

READ EUGENE’S INTERROGATION HERE. For most of the interview, Eugene thinks they are trying to bust him for hooking a friend with weed, and doesn’t actually know what they are questioning him about. Remember that the “evidence” the police are citing is fictional, that Eugene is extremely intoxicated, and scared. Do your best to put yourself in HIS shoes.

READ WHAT EXPERTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FALSE CONFESSIONS HERE, HERE, and HERE, in their sites dedicated to the topic. Also, read HERE in Scientific American, HERE in the Economist, or HERE in the Huffington Post.

If that is not enough, Google it. Look it up on Wikipedia. Look anywhere – what you will find is the suprising truth about lies. Stay tuned to hear what Eugene himself has to say about the experience.