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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Another jailhouse snitch drives a homicide investigation

Today's Akron Beacon Journal reports on new developments in the Neal Rankin murder case: "DNA results may give inmate a new trial." The police had a lot of trouble identifying a suspect back in 1993--according to the commander of the homicide unit, they had "45 suspects the first day," and murder charges were brought and then dropped against several defendants. Finally, over a year after the murder, the government charged Dewey Amos Jones with the crime based on an allegation from a jaihouse snitch that Jones had confessed to him. I include the story not only because it is yet another example of a shaky case built on compensated snitch testimony, but because it illustrates how powerful an informant's allegations can be. Here, a jailhouse snitch got authorities to focus on Jones long after the crime, and without any direct evidence of his guilt. Jones is represented by the Ohio Innocence Project.