We humans made law for justice. But how possibly our justice system could be perfect if we humans are not perfect. There are number of cases where our law sentenced or executed innocent people. Following are the 10 cases innocent people executed for the crime they never did. The list is in no particular order.
10. Teng Xingshan
In 1989, Teng Xingshan was taken as guilty of raped, robbed and murdered a woman, Shi Xiaorong. She was a local woman who eventually disappeared and a man found her dismembered body. Police confirmed her as Shi Xiaorong, and accused Teng Xingshan of the crime. He had been executed on 28 January 1989 by Huaihua Intermediate People’s court. But in 1993, Shi Xiaorong returned back to the village claimed Shandong kidnapped her.
9. Perry Family
In 1660, William Harrison disappeared from his village Charingworth, in Gloucestershire. Police found his clothes teared and in blood on the side of the local road. When policed asked, William’s servant, John Perry, he suspected his mother and brother may have killed Willaim for money. Without further investigation, Perry, with his mother and brother, executed for the crime. Two years later, William came back claimed he had been kidnapped and sold into the slavery in the Ottoman Empire.
8. Derek Bentley
Derek was an English man who was mentally challenged. On November 2, 1952, police tried to bust him with his sixteen-year-old friend, Christopher Craig, while attempting to burgle the warehouse of the Barlow & Parker confectionery. Christopher had a gun which he used to fire at a policeman and killed him despite of Bentley surrenders request. Derek Bentley had been executed for killing a policeman, but not Christopher, since he was a minor at that time.
7. Colin Campbell Ross
On 30th December 1921, a twelve-year-old girl, Alma, went to a butcher’s shop to collect a package of meat but never returned. After search, police found her body naked in Gun Alley. Media hype this incident too much which pressurized police to make an arrest. Police suspect a wine-bar owner, Colin Campbell Ross, who later interrogated in detail by police. Though, Colin nominated several witness who can confirm that he had not left his premises on murder’s afternoon, but police ignored everything and arrested him on 12 January 1922. After trial, Ross was executed on 24th April 1922. Later old evidences re-examined with modern forensic techniques, and Ross found innocent.
6. Timothy Cole
In 1985, Timothy Cole was sentenced for 25 years in prison for the rape of Texas Tech student Michele Mallin. She mistakenly identified Timothy as her rapist. Though Michele told police that her rapist smoked during rape, police ignored this statement despite of knowing that Timothy never smoked because he had severe asthma. In 1995, the real culprit Jerry Wayne confessed to the rape. After DNA test, Timothy exonerated on February 6, 2009, however he had already died on December 2, 1999 in prison from an asthma attack. See Also; 10 Most Evil Women in History.
5. Gary Graham(a.k.a. Shaka Sankofa)
In 1981, Shaka Sankofa, who was only 18 at the time of crime, was charged of robbery and murder of fifty-three-year-old Bobby Grant Lambert. He was convicted based on one witness who saw him for few seconds from a distance, whereas, police ignored others witnesses who saw the murderer in close and said Shaka is not that man. He was executed on June 22, 2000. From his arrest to the day of his execution, he kept saying that he was innocent.
4. Timothy John Evans
Timothy was charged for the murder of his wife and daughter at their home in Notting Hill, London. Timothy was convicted on weak evidences while he continuously said that the real culprit is his neighbor, John Christie. After Evans execution, Christie was found to be a serial killer who murdered several women including Timothy’s wife and his own wife.
3. Mahmood Hussein Mattan
On 6 March 1952, a 42-year-old woman, Lily Volpert, brutally murdered outside her shop by cutting her throat with a razor. After investigation, police arrested Mattan as a suspect who was a Somali merchant seaman. For the prosecution, police forward Harold Cover as the main witness in the case. However, police ignored other witnesses who confirmed that the man at the scene of crime was not Mattan and never took them to the court. He was executed by hanging on 3 September 1952.
2. Joe Arridy
Joe Arridy was arrested and executed for the rape and murder of a schoolgirl in his hometown of Pueblo, Colorado. Sheriff in charge, George Carroll, caught him by way of a train claimed that he accepted his crime. Joe had intellectual disabilities with an IQ score in the 40s. Police had no hard evidence against him, however, he had been executed primarily on his own confession. Three state psychiatrists agreed that Joe was “incapable of distinguish between right and wrong, and therefore, would be unable to perform any action with a criminal intent.” According to prison Warden, Roy Best, Joe Arridy was the happiest person on death row as he didn’t realized the meaning of execution.
1. David Spence
In 1982, David was charged of murdering three teenagers. It was presumed that David had been hired by a store owner, Muneer Deeb(the actual culprit), who then raped and murdered two 17-year-old girls and one 18-year-old boy in Waco, Texas. He had been executed by lethal injection on April 14, 1997. The police lieutenant, Marvin Horton, and homicide detective, Ramon Salinas, later accept that the witnesses was faked. There was no evidence against David Spence. He was innocent.