innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

An Unthinkable Crime--An Innocent Man?

David Gladden, a mentally retarded petty criminal, was convicted of the horrific rape and murder of Geneva Long in 1994, despite the fact that the case was entirely circumstantial and police had another suspect—serial killer Andrew Dillon.

In a three part series that ran in Harrisburgh's The Patriot News Pete Shellum investigated the complex series of events that may have put an innocent man in prison.
Dillon confessed to four unimaginable crimes against elderly women, in which they were raped and stomped to death. Long’s murder fit this gruesome pattern, and Dillon lived in her neighborhood.

Initially, Dillon was a suspect in the crime, until a convicted child molester pointed authorities in the direction of Gladden and another man, James A. Carson, in hopes of getting a reduced sentence for two separate rape charges involving two separate children.

Carson confessed to the murder after police questioned him for 10 hours using different tactics to illicit an incriminating statement, including having Carson’s terminally ill mother call and beg him to confess.

Justin McShane, the attorney who has taken Carson’s case said, “People—more than we as a society would like to think—unfortunately plead guilty to crimes every day across the entire U.S. to minimize the consequences or get it over with.”

The jury never heard about Mr. Dillon, the coercion involved in Carson’s statement, or the unseemly motives of the only other witness linking David Gladden to the crime.

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