Saturday, December 19, 2020

13-year-old Michael Crowe Spent 8 Months in Jail, Then DNA Evidence Proved Michael's innocence, the DA and Police were Furious and Steven Truscott

12-year-old Stephanie was murdered in her room while her family slept on January 20, 1998. She was found by her family the next morning. Police zeroed in on Stephanie’s 13-year-old brother Michael and two of his  young teenage friends, Joshua Treadway and Aaron Houser, though they had no evidence of their guilt. So police grilled the boys relentlessly. Eventually they wore the boys down and got half confessions from them.

The night of the murder, neighbors reported a strange man, homeless, mentally ill Richard Tuite, had knocked on several homes on the street. He was belligerent and acting so strange that several neighbors called police suggesting that he should be investigated for Stephanie's murder. Police found Tuite and took him to the station where they questioned him for a couple of hours then let him go. Police also confiscated his filthy clothing, taking note of scrapes on his body and a cut on his hand. Amazingly, Police never considered schizophrenic Tuite a suspect in Stephanie's murder.                   

Maybe because they already had their man, 13-year-old Michael Crowe. He was singled out by Escondido police because the crime scene seemed to suggest an inside job, and because he seemed "distant and preoccupied" after Stephanie's body was discovered and the rest of the family grieved. Police interrogated him multiple times without his parents' knowledge and without an attorney present. During the interrogations, police falsely informed Michael and his friends that they had found physical evidence implicating him, that they had all failed an examination with a so-called "truth verification" device, and that Michael's parents were convinced he had done it. After an intense 6-hour interrogation, he gave a vague confession to killing his sister, providing no details and saying that he couldn't remember doing it. The interview was videotaped by police; at times Michael is heard saying things to the effect of, "I'm only saying this because it's what you want to hear." He was arrested and charged with murdering his sister.

The court ruled that the two confessions were redundant and ordered that the first confession be suppressed. The second Treadway confession remained admissible. Houser's statements to police were suppressed because police did not sufficiently advise him of his Miranda rights. Michael and his two friends were arrested and put on trial, to pre-empt the defense, police finally tested Tuite’s clothes. It was discovered that 2 brown spots on Tuite’s shirt were Stephanie’s blood. That was enough for the case against the boys to be dismissed after they had spent 8 months in jail. Oddly enough the Republican DA requested that the dismissal be without prejudice, which meant the DA could arrest and try the boys again if he chose.   The Republican DA and Police were suspected of having leaked the story that the blood had been planted or the evidence contaminated during the course of the investigation, possibly by one of the boys' defense attorneys or someone else.  The best possible theory is the DA and Police were doing CYA, better to convict an innocent boy and his two friends than to admit they had been wrong from the very beginning. And the murderer was going to walk away free, once police and the DA gave him the contamination cover story.    

To understand this phenomenon, see my page on Peter Reilly who was coerced into a false confession for murdering his mom.  A very good movie, A Death in Canaan (1978), starring Paul Clemens, Conchata Farrell, Brian Dennehy and Stephanie Powers was made based on Joan Barthel's book.  In Peter Reilly's case, a lie detector administrator falsely told the boy that his exam showed Peter LIED AND WAS 100% GUILTY OF THE CRIME. It didn't. Later examiners looked at the same exam print out and said it absolutely did NOT show Peter's guilt or that Peter was lying. The police and lie detector examiner used this false testimony to intimidate the innocent teenager/orphan to confess to the murder of his Mom. Peter was all alone and had no one to turn to for advice, he had been in police custody for over 24 hours and relentlessly questioned and bullied by the officers. The same phenomenon, Peter and Michael both said they had NO memory of doing the crime of which they were accused, but believed police when they told the boys they had absolute proof of the boys guilt.   

Peter Reilly, the DA had proof of his innocence, suppressed it and prosecuted him anyway.


Author Joan Barthel and Paul Clemens and Peter Reilly, from Corbis Images.

What would you think if a scary, mentally ill man like Richard Tuite knocked on your door in the middle of the night, then you heard that a 12-year-old girl in your neighborhood had been murdered? Common sense tells us that he would be your first suspect, but police refused to take him seriously. 

Richard Tuite 

As a result, Richard Tuite was arrested in 2002. While he awaited trial for the murder of Stephanie Crowe, prosecuted this time by the state of California, someone started leaking the story that the blood on Tuite's clothes had been the result of innocent, accidental or deliberate contamination by police, the DA's Office, Michael Crowe, Joshua Treadway and Aaron Houser's defense attorneys or their agents. Though they offered no logical way this could have happened. After a short trial, the jury convicted Tuite of manslaughter. Many people believe that the DA and Police "muddied" the water so much with their contamination story to account for Stephanie's blood on Tuite's clothes, that the prosecutors were lucky to get any conviction at all. Tuite's court appointed counsel successfully appealed his case and got a new trial. Then the damage of the Police/DA leak/LIE came into play. In the second trial the jury discounted the blood and DNA and acquitted Tuite. Remember that police said that Stephanie's blood got on Richard Tuite's clothes due to contamination. But never explained how this happened since the clothes were in police custody in an evidence locker ever since Stephanie's murder. 
The bullying interrogation of the boys led to one of the best made for TV Movies ever made, "The Interrogation of Michael Crowe," which won a Peabody Award and showed how innocent 13-year-old boys could be bullied into confessing to a crime they did NOT commit. 

In 1999, Richard Tuite became a registered sex offender after he was convicted of having made blatant sexual advances on two underage girls on a bus.


Police psychologist settles confession suit for $1 million

Police only made one mistake in their interrogation of the boys, they videotaped the intense, cruel interrogation/inquisition of Michael Crowe and his friends. Jurors would later say the boys suffered psychological abuse at the hands of police. As the documentary footage shows, police took the boys out of the interrogation room, which had a video camera, then told each boy that his parents had abandoned him and said that each boy's parents said they hoped that their son would go to jail for the rest of their life. Michael and the other boys believe the police lie and try to make the police happy, who tell them that they are the only friends each boys has now. Every word a lie dipped in deceit. 

A psychologist who helped police obtain a false confession from 14-year-old Michael Crowe has settled out of court for $1 million. A judge had called the aggressive, relentless interrogations of  Michael Crowe and two friends "psychologically abusive."  Dr. Lawrence "Deadlift" Blum, a police psychologist, helped police in Escondido, California formulate the "tactical plan" that they used to bully and abuse Michael, Aaron and Joshua into confessing to the murder of his 12-year-old sister, according to the Crowe family's lawsuit.
Blum admitted in a pretrial deposition that he told a police detective that 15-year-old Aaron Houser, Michael's friend, was a "Charlie Manson wannabe." Can you imagine the harm that could cause to an innocent kid? Aaron Houser has not gotten into any criminal trouble in the 20 years since his trial and his case's dismissal. Can you imagine the HORRIFIC damage to this boy's life if anyone ever read this FALSE report from this Blue Wall TESTILYING Police Psychologist. 

Blum's VICIOUS techniques echoed brainwashing by the North Koreans during the Korean War. How many will forget that Trump "buddy" Kim Jung-un arrested American student Otto Warmbier, who entered the country ILLEGALLY. I would have been on the phone the second I found out and screamed at him, if he was on my kid, to get the hell out of the country IMMEDIATELY. Police States are not a place for kids raised in free countries. Otto was arrested for stealing a wall poster in his hotel after which the North Koreans proceeded to torture and murder the boy. I was stunned when the Warmbiers effectively defended Kim and Trump to smear Barack Obama. If my kid had gone to a police state by breaking the law and didn't listen to my pleas to leave, I would have been on a plane in seconds to go get him/her out of the country and on the next plane. I would have asked the state department for permission, first, of course, but then again I am a liberal Democrat. 

Richard Tuite
Richard Tuite has been arrested repeatedly since the 1970's and was arrested again in 2020 and remains in jail as of this post. The families of all three boys sued the cities of Escondido and Oceanside. The Crowes reached a settlement of $7.25 million in 2011. 

The San Diego Police and Republican DA acquiesced to the defense motion to dismiss, but only if the judge dismissed the case against teenagers Michael Crowe, Joshua Treadway and Aaron Houser without prejudice, which meant that the Police/DA could indict them again by re-filing the charges against them at any point in the future. There is NO statute of limitations for murder, meaning this murder charge could haunt the boys the rest of their lives. That is until 2012, when San Diego Superior Court Judge Kenneth So made the rare ruling that Michael Crowe,  Joshua Treadway and Aaron Houser were factually innocent of the charges, permanently dismissing the criminal case against them.

If Tuite's shirt with Stephanie's blood on it had not been incidentally retained by the police, the three INNOCENT boys have probably been convicted and sentenced to life in prison. They would have probably been tortured and raped by the murderers and rapists in juvenile prison. Boys never talk about experiences like that, you will only notice the result, their escalating criminal and psychotic behavior, if they ever get out of jail or their suicide. The shirt was in police custody for months, unexamined and untested. What is truly frightening, at some point San Diego Republican police and prosecutors  had to realize the three boys were innocent, but to protect themselves, they made the decision to persecute the boys anyway.  Then the police and DA's office leaked the lie of "possible" cross contamination, to explain the DROPS of Stephanie's blood, not smears, on Tuite's shirt. If you've ever watched Forensic Files, you know that the shape of blood drops and smears tells you a lot about how they were caused. In the original police report, Stephanie had been dead for hours when her body was found. All of Stephanie's blood had dried at that point, her body was discovered hours after the crime, proving the police were GROSSLY WRONG or lying. There is a slight chance of blood smears, but there is no chance of Stephanie's blood drops being on his shirt at any other time than at the time of the crime. 

The luckiest break for Michael Crowe, his mom and dad, family and friends never doubted for one second his innocence. Without them he might have given up. Police told Michael that his parents told them they knew he was guilty, A LIE, when he saw them next they told him they were liars. Michael never gave up after that.

Only 58% of all murders are ever solved, 42% are never solved. How many of these "solved murders" are innocent people framed/mistakenly convicted perpetrators? 

Police always suspect the last person seen with a murder victim, even if it is/was a 14-year-old good kid like Steven Truscott, who was only doing a good deed for a friend and classmate.

On June 9, 1959, near Clinton Ontario, a town of 3,500,  about 200 miles from Toronto, 14-year-old Steven Truscott gave classmate 12-year-old Lynne Harper a lift on his bike handlebars after they had been playing on school grounds. The kids had gone home for dinner and returned to school to play with other kids since the weather had started to get warm. Steven volunteered to give Lynne, a 7th grade playmate, a lift to the crossroad of Lawson's Bush County Road and Highway 8 in rural which led to her rural Canadian home. Steven later told police that he looked back and thought he saw Lynne take a lift from a man in a YELLOW Chevrolet. No one ever saw Lynne alive again. Her body was discovered on June 11. Lynne had been raped and strangled. Steven was arrested on June 12, 1959 and was the only suspect the police ever investigated. 

Steven Murray Truscott (born January 18, 1945) is a Canadian boy who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1959 for the rape and murder of classmate Lynne Harper. Truscott had been the last person to see her alive. Convicted as an adult, he was scheduled to be hanged; however, the federal cabinet reprieved him commuted his sentence to life in prison. Steven was released on parole in 1969. Five decades later, in 2007, his conviction was overturned on the basis that key forensic evidence was much weaker than prosecutors had portrayed it at the 14-year-old's trial for his life. 

Steven Truscott's middle class home, neighbors liked the family and considered them good people.  Many of them were perplexed by  the charges against Steven which they never believed.

A girl friend of Lynne's reported that Steven had asked where Lynne was immediately before her disappearance. Steven explained they both lived a long walk from school and he had promised to give Lynne a ride on his bike handlebars. The prosecutors coached the 13-year-old girl to give this statement an ominous connotation. It should be added at this point, Steven had NEVER been in any trouble before in his life, legally or with his parents or school. He was a good kid and good student.

After his arrest

During his trial

Lynne Harper's body was found only a couple of miles from both the school she and Steven Truscott attended and the Royal Canadian Air Force Base at Clinton Ontario. This would be very important in determining a much more likely suspect. Lynne and Steven actually attended Air Vice Marshal Hugh Campbell School on the Air Force Base itself. 

Air Vice Marshal Hugh Campbell School

After his death sentence commutation in 1960, Steven's friends and family never stopped fighting for him, 25 witnesses testified in his defense at an Ontario Supreme Court Appeal. The joint opinion of Canada’s Supreme Court Justices was: “The verdict of the jury, read in the light of the charge of the trial judge, makes it clear that they were satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the facts, which they found to be established by the evidence which they accepted, were not only consistent with the guilt of Truscott but were inconsistent with any rational conclusion other than that Steven Truscott was the guilty person.”  

This is very reminiscent of the Republican Rehnquist/Scalia Republican Supreme Court Decision that it is better to achieve "Finality of Verdict" than justice, even if it means innocent people are executed and imprisoned. Which actually says, it is better than to torture and murder the innocent than allow appeals after a certain point in a criminal proceeding. In 2005, 7 years after an Ohio man Clarence Elkins was convicted of the murder and rape of his 68-year-old former mother-in-law and the rape of his 6-year-old niece, REPUBLICAN Judge Judy Hunter REFUSED to consider DNA from the rape kits from the two victims, which did NOT match Clarence Elkins, the man convicted of the crime.

1) Steven Truscott appealed his conviction again, claiming new evidence came to light. Among the evidence Steven's supporters acquired, coroner's notes from the actual autopsy of Lynne Harper, which CONTRADICTED the Coroner's testimony at Steven's trial. In his notes, the coroner gave a 4 hour window for her death, between 7 PM and 11 PM on June 9th. When he testified at trial, the coroner testified that Lynne's death occurred within a few minutes either way of 7 PM. Current medical experts report there is NO way to set a time of death to within 15 to 20 minutes if a body has been left out in hot weather for over two days. Normally, this DISHONEST PROSECUTION fine tuning of witness testimony is called TESTILYING. Where a professional witness tailors his testimony to help convict the accused, not achieve justice.

2) Lynne's body was exhumed and insect evidence was re-examined. A medical examiner, the successor to the elected coroner, determined that the original coroner notes were truthful his  court testimony was NOT. 

3) A boy named Gord was fishing with friends in the local stream when he noticed Steven and Lynne on the road and yelled hello and waived at them on June 9th. He and his friends knew them and they only fished that one day, the first really warm day of the year, so they were 100% sure of the identification and testimony. The reason this is so important, Gord and the stream were well past the point at which Lynne's body was found and within a few 100 yards of the crossroads where Steven said he dropped Lynne off on his way home. The boys fishing in the stream said they did NOT see Steven and Lynne double back, though they did see some cars on the road after that. One of the vehicles they noticed was a YELLOW automobile going in the direction of their school, the Air Force Base and the thick woods WHERE LYNNE'S BODY WAS FOUND.  The prosecution during the original trial adamantly claimed that Steven and Lynne never reached this point and police discounted and refused to take these other boys' testimony seriously.

Another boy Douggie Oates saw Lynne and Steven on this bridge within a few hundred yards of the cross road where Steven dropped Lynne off. 

The crossroads where Steven dropped Lynne off today, since paved.

Looking towards the crossroads where Steven dropped Lynne off. She would have had to walk down this road to get home, a distance of about 1/2 mile. The prosecutors claimed Lynne would have never hitchhiked, even though friends and family claimed they had given her a lift on several occasions. A question which would become integral to Steven's defense, would Lynne have accepted a lift from a man in uniform. Everyone involved lived within a few miles of the Air Force Base and it would have been natural for any kid to trust a man in uniform. 

Stakes mark the spot in heavy underbrush where Lynne's body was found. 

An ambulance is seen loading Lynne's body, to give you an idea of the dense forest which hid her body for two days. The first photo was taken from the main street leading to Lynne and Steven's homes and the Air Force Base. Even an adult would have trouble carrying a struggling child or dead body this far without a car/truck. 

3)  A question never answered by prosecutors, why would Lynne let Steven take her this far away from the road, especially doubling back after Gord had seen them? Steven was not a particularly big or strong boy, he was known as a good student and bookworm among his friends and kids at the school. The physical force necessary to subdue a girl was probably beyond his ability. Plus Steven and Lynne would have had to go past witnesses, which would have given her an opportunity to scream and ask for help. Steven having to carry Lynne's dead weight was probably beyond his physical ability too. If she was alive she would have resisted and screamed for help. No way he could have ridden a bike and carried her dead/unconscious body. No weapon was used on Lynne. Simply escaping his grasp would have meant freedom. 

4) At trial, prosecutors showed evidence that Steven's penis had an abrasion/chaffing, which they contended was proof of rape. Doctors for the defense testified that any boy who masturbated could cause such minor abrasion/chaffing on his penis, especially in dry cool weather. This evidence was totally meaningless, since all boys masturbate.

Here is the author's website, if you want a detailed record of what Steven went through and a detailed record of the case, this is the best resource on the Internet. Check out Amazon for his book.

5) Steven was an average, normal boy, but a somewhat gentle and shy boy. His attorney in 1959 was worried that these senior crown prosecutors would tear him to shreds in their cross examination. They made the decision not to allow Steven to testify in his own defense. In retrospect this was a huge mistake. The province put their best prosecutors on the case, while Steven had a public defender. 

6) One of the major reasons Steven's conviction was overturned, prosecutors did not turn over and actually hid police and coroner notes from the defense. The Crown Prosecutors portrayed the case against Steven as open and shut. While coroner, police and prosecutor notes taken during the investigation told a much different story.  Remember the coroner said Lynne was murdered within minutes of 7 PM, while his actual autopsy notes show he concluded there had been a 4 hour window for her murder. The coroner DELIBERATELY DECEIVED THE JUDGE AND JURY WITH MALICE OF FORETHOUGHT. The only question, was this at the behest of Crown Prosecutors, who sought the death penalty for Steven Truscott?  Police gave no credit to teenager Gord's testimony and challenged it in court instead of considering it as important, relevant evidence. When Lynne's body was recovered, her body was already out of rigor mortis, which is one of the main ways to determine time of death, without that, it is much harder to give a precise time of death. Science today shows food digestion can be greatly affected by stress, exercise or the type of food eaten. It is a much, much less the exact science the coroner deceptively portrayed it to be. 

6) Truscott’s lawyers put forward an alternate possible, indeed probable, suspect in the murder — Air Force Sergeant Alexander Kalichuk.  Kalichuk was transferred from Clinton two years before the Harper murder but was seen visiting friends in the community several times since, right up to the time of Lynne's murder. Three weeks before Lynne's murder,  Kalichuk had been arrested in St. Thomas, Ontario for attempting to lure a 12-year-old girl into his car.

Read this document and note the similarities with what is believed to have happened to Lynne Harper. Who is more likely to rape and murder a 13-year-old girl? An average 14-year-old boy with no history of misconduct or a man with a long history of indecency infractions and sexual misconduct, including possible attempted child rape, only weeks before Lynne's murder. Other accusations turned up in the weeks after Lynne's murder of inappropriate contact between Kalichuk and young girls around 12/13/14-years-old along the road. By the way, Kalichuk owned a Yellow Ford Sedan in 1959. Steven may have been wrong about the make and model, but he apparently was right about the color.

“The following was not produced in court as the O.P.P. believed that their case should stand or fall on the one situation in order that the following material could be used in court on another substantial occasion: The O.P.P. have had a number of complaints from rural schools, names of which were provided to but not taken by the writer, of a person answering the airman’s description making such advances to school girls and/or suspected of plans to making such advances. License number of car involved was obtained and it was established that the airman’s previous car (he recently obtained a new one) and that he apparently was in possession of the car. The point here is that the airman had been under surveylance(sic) because of the complaints for some time...”

One of the major questions for his superiors, why was Sgt. Kalichuk not discharged for his REPEATED aberrant behavior with underage girls. Not including several incidents of public drunkenness' and DUI on and near the base. People who have requested copies of Kalichuk's service and disciplinary records, have noted that several documents are referred to but are apparently missing from the files.

Steven Truscott was sentenced to death on September 30, 1959. Steven's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on January 22, 1960.  Steven was released on parole in 1969.  On August 28, 2007, the court declared that Truscott's conviction was a miscarriage of justice.  A few weeks later, in the written opinion Steven Truscott was declared factually INNOCENT and the Ontario government awarded him $6,500,000 in damages in 2007. 

What do Law and Order Conservative "christians" say if they EXECUTE INNOCENT 13/14-year-old boys? 



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