The Baton Rouge Advocate

List of Louisiana Wrongful Convictions Overturned since 1966

November 23, 2003

Since 1966, at least 20 people in Louisiana have been freed from prison after judges found that they were wrongfully convicted of either murder or rape. The judges ruled either that new evidence cast grave doubt on the validity of the conviction or prosecutorial misconduct warranted the verdict being overturned.

Mary K. Hampton Conviction: Two counts of murder in 1961 Sentence: Two life prison sentences Released: 1966 after an informant's lies led to a false confession.


Jack Graves Favor Conviction: Two counts of murder in 1964 Sentence: Life in prison Released: 1974 after being found not guilty in a re-trial stemming from a federal judge's ruling that the prosecutor and judge in the first trial illegally conspired to convict Favor.


Robert H. Blanton III Conviction: Murder in 1974 Sentence: Life in prison Released: 1980 after a federal judge ruled that prosecutors withheld information about deals made with witnesses.


Johnny Ross Conviction: Aggravated rape in 1975 Sentence: Death Released: 1981 after his blood type was found to be inconsistent with that of the rapist.


Isaac 'Jerry' Knapper Conviction: First-degree murder in 1979 Sentence: Life in prison Released: 1991 when the state Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors intentionally withheld a police report from Knapper.


Roland Gibson Sr. Conviction: Murder in 1968 Sentence: Life in prisonReleased: 1993 after a co-defendant recanted prior statement that Gibson was the trigger man and a 13-page police report surfaced stating police initially were looking for a white suspect. Gibson is a black man.


Larry Hudson Conviction: First-degree murder in 1967 Sentence: Death Released: 1993 when a police report surfaced showing that the lone eyewitness couldn't identify two of the three men involved in the crime and lied when he testified that he picked Hudson out of a lineup.


Clarence Smith Conviction: First-degree murder in 1984 Sentence: Death Released: 1994 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that jurors were given faulty jury instructions in Smith's case. He was retried and found not guilty.


Vernon Chapman Conviction: Aggravated rape in 1980 Sentence: Life in prison Released: 1994 after the discovery of a statement given by the victim stating she could not identify Chapman as the rapist. The victim's identification of Chapman was the key evidence in convicting him at trial.


Hayes Williams Conviction: Murder in 1967 Sentence: Life in prison Released: 1997 after a police report resurfaced, showing Williams wasn't involved in the shooting of a gas station owner.


Curtis Kyles Conviction: First-degree murder in 1985 Sentence: Death Released: 1998 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors illegally withheld evidence from Kyles. He was retried five times before prosecutors dropped the charges.


Clyde Charles Conviction: Aggravated rape in 1982 Sentence: Life in prison Released: 1998 when a DNA test, unavailable at the time of conviction, excluded Charles as the rapist, instead implicating Charles' brother. The brother, Marlo Charles, was convicted and is serving life in prison.


Shareef Cousin Conviction: First-degree murder in 1995 Sentence: Death Released: 1999 after the Louisiana Supreme Court overturned Cousin's verdict, saying prosecutors used unreliable evidence. Prosecutors declined to retry Cousin.


John Thompson Conviction: First-degree murder in 1984 Sentence: Death Released: 1999 after judge ruled prosecutors improperly used a second crime for which Thompson was later found to be wrongfully convicted in seeking a death sentence. Jurors found Thompson not guilty during a retrial.


Michael Graham and Albert Ronnie Burrell Conviction: Two counts of first-degree murder in 1987 Sentence: Death Released: 2000 after a state Attorney General's investigation found a "total lack of credible evidence" against Graham and Burrell. A judge dismissed the charges, and prosecutors opted not to retry the men.


Gene Bibbins Conviction: Aggravated rape in 1988 Sentence: Life in prison Released: 2002 after DNA eliminated Bibbins as the rapist. Bibbins had been convicted based on his blood type matching that of the rapist and the victim's identification.


Gregory Bright and Earl Truvia Conviction: First-degree murder in 1975 Sentence: Life in prison Released: 2003 after a judge ruled that prosecutors withheld information from the attorneys for Bright and Truvia. Prosecutors declined to retry the men, citing a lack of evidence.


Calvin Willis Conviction: Aggravated rape and burglary in 1982 Sentence: Life in prison Released: 2003 after a DNA profile from small samples at the crime eliminated Willis as the rapist. Prosecutors opted not to retry Willis.




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