Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Another wrongful conviction in the making?
The Pacific Northwest Inlander just published this story, entitled Reasonable Doubt, about the recent robbery convictions of Tyler Gassman, Paul Statler, and Robert Larson. The sole evidence against the young defendants was the testimony of Matt Dunham, a confessed drug dealer and robber himself, who named Gassman and the two others as accomplices in a series of unsolved robberies. In exchange for his testimony, Dunham received a light sentence for his own robbery charge--18 months in a juvenile facility; by contrast, Gassman received 25 years. Two weeks after the verdict, Dunham's accomplice, Anthony Kongchunji, came forward and confessed that he and Dunham had conspired to pin the unsolved crimes on Gassman and the others in order to get deals for themselves, their friends, and relatives. The trial court denied the defendants' motion for a new trial, and the case is currently on appeal.