Tag Archives: John Kennedy & Assosciates

The Northern California Innocence Projects corrects a very flawed verdict from 1985 cold case through the use of DNA.

Science corrects another bad conviction in El Dorado County.
Conviction Reversed in 1985 Cold Case Homicide Based on Newly Discovered DNA
SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 22, 2019— A man wrongfully convicted in a 1985 cold case murder has had his
conviction reversed based on newly discovered DNA evidence. The April 15 decision by the California Superior Court of
El Dorado County opened the door for a new trial in a case that spotlights high risk interrogation methods and the value of scientifically sound evidence.
After hearing evidence in mid-2018, on April 15, 2019, the Honorable Judge Kenneth Melikian reversed the 2005 murder conviction of Ricky Davis who had been convicted of the murder of Jane Hylton. The victim, who had been staying in Davis’ home with her daughter, had been found dead in the home 17 years earlier, in 1985.
Davis was convicted based largely on what his lawyers believe was false testimony from Davis’ former girlfriend, which was ultimately directly contradicted by DNA science.
The Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) at Santa Clara University School of Law was appointed to the case in
2012 and brought the legal request that led to the reversal of his conviction. The law by which the court reversed Davis’ wrongful conviction was one that NCIP had fought for until its enactment in January 2017.
The reversal stems from DNA results—derived using testing methods not available at the time of Davis’ conviction—which revealed the DNA of an unknown male, and not Ricky Davis, on evidence intimately connected to Ms. Hylton’s murder.
In 1985, Hylton was found murdered in Davis’ home where she was staying with her young daughter. She had injuries and a bite mark on her back indicating a serious struggle before she died.
Davis’ girlfriend, Constance Dahl, also resided in the home. Davis, Dahl, and Hylton’s daughter discovered Hylton’s body and all denied any involvement in or knowledge of what happened.
Hylton’s murder investigation went cold for 14 years until 1999, when law enforcement reopened the case and immediately focused on Davis as their suspect.
Their key witness became Davis’ then ex-girlfriend Connie Dahl.
Between 1999 and 2001, Dahl was subjected to multiple prolonged and suggestive interrogations. After first denying any involvement in the crime, Dahl ultimately claimed she was present when Davis killed Hylton, and that she had bitten Hylton while struggling to stop Davis.
At the time of trial, a forensic laboratory conducted DNA testing on the crime evidence, but concluded that they could not test for saliva on the nightgown Hylton was wearing during the attack and through which she had been bitten.
Davis maintained his innocence but was convicted of Hylton’s murder based largely on the testimony of Connie Dahl.
Davis was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison in 2005.
Over the course of several years, with the cooperation of the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Laboratory of Forensic Sciences DNA-tested evidence connected to Hylton’s murder using
techniques developed in the years after the conviction. This testing, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s
Postconviction Testing of DNA Evidence Grant Program, showed that neither Davis, nor Dahl, were the source of DNA evidence found in the area where Hylton had been bitten, or from under the fingernails of her injured hands. The testing revealed instead that an unknown male was the source of all such DNA.
NCIP challenged the conviction and successfully argued that had the original jury heard the DNA results, it would have likely reached a different outcome. It was a key moment because until January of 2017, the California standard required that new evidence “point unerringly to innocence”— then the highest hurdle in the country and a nearly unattainable standard. In 2016, NCIP co-sponsored Senate Bill 1134 championed by former California State Senator Mark Leno, to put California’s standard in line with that of 43 other states. The Bill, which passed in January 2017, allowed defendants like Davis to instead prove that the new evidence would likely have been persuasive to a jury.
“This new law has led to the just result today. The DNA evidence shows that both Ricky and Connie were innocent, but we might not have gotten here without the evolution of California law” said NCIP attorney Melissa O’Connell. “An unknown male DNA profile does not bring justice to Ms. Hylton’s family in solving her tragic murder, but there is no justice in convicting the wrong man for this horrific crime.”
The district attorney’s office now must decide whether to re-try Davis for Hylton’s murder.
NCIP prioritizes legislative efforts that address the consequences and causes of wrongful conviction. Our priorities for this legislative session include providing automatic compensation to exonerees and expanding defense access to post-conviction discovery. Past efforts have allowed NCIP to successfully litigate open cases and pursue previously closed cases, leading to important criminal justice reform and the exoneration of innocent individuals.
About the Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP)
NCIP is a non-profit clinical program of Santa Clara University School of Law whose mission is to promote a fair, effective, and compassionate criminal justice system and protect the rights of the innocent. Since its inception in 2001, NCIP has processed over ten thousand requests for inmate assistance, investigated hundreds of cases, pursued litigation or collaborative resolution in dozens, and obtained the freedom of 24 wrongfully convicted individuals. Learn more at http://www.ncip.org.

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Weiderrich/Gregor Murder Case Update

Weiderrich/Gregor Murder Case Update
The next hearing in trial of Kenneth Vanderford and Kevin Etherton for the stabbing murders in Lodi, CA of Dorothy Weiderrich and Alan Karl Gregor is scheduled for 1/14/19 at 1:30 PM.
A source has informed me that Vanderford was working or otherwise active in the San Andreas, CA area during 2013. If anyone knows anything about what Vanderford, who also went by the name of Bobby Eugene Presley, was doing at that time, please feel to contact me.


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The Use of DNA Just Gets More Interesting

Learning more about the use of DNA as a forensic tool.
Today I learned that DNA samples can be extracted from fingerprints/fingermarks. It makes perfect sense that “touch DNA” would be deposited at a crime scene through finger prints.
The results seem to vary depending on the surface where the print/mark was left and the duration of time the finger was pressed against the surface. Just the same, even if a fingerprint/fingermark is smudged, DNA might be extracted to help place a person at a crime scene.
I am waiting to hear back from a major DNA research firm to learn if DNA can be extracted from the material used to lift prints from a crime scene.

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An arrest for sex with minors in Valley Springs, CA.

As it a appeared on the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Arrest Log for 9/28/18, George Edwin Mulligan of Dunn Road in Valley Springs for various counts of sexual activities with minors.

Today, 10/3/18, Mulligan was arraigned on the following 25 charges .

001 PC288A(C)(2)-F-Oral Copulation-By Force,Violence,Duress Etc 288A(C2) Felony 08/22/2010
002 PC289(A)(1)-F-Sexual Penetration 289(A1) Felony 08/22/2010
003 PC288(A)-F-Lewd Act With Child Under 14 Years 288(A) Felony 08/22/2010
004 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 10/02/2018
005 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 10/02/2018
006 PC288(C)(1)-F-Lewd Act With Child 14 Or 15/Deft 10 Years Older 288(C1) Felony 08/22/2011
007 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 10/02/2018
008 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 10/02/2018
009 PC288(C)(1)-F-Lewd Act With Child 14 Or 15/Deft 10 Years Older 288(C1) Felony 08/22/2012
010 PC261(A)(2)-F-Rape Of A Person by Force 261(A2) Felony 08/22/2013
011 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 10/02/2018
012 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 10/02/2018
013 PC261(A)(2)-F-Rape Of A Person by Force 261(A2) Felony 08/22/2014
014 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 10/02/2018
015 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 10/02/2018
016 PC261(A)(2)-F-Rape Of A Person by Force 261(A2) Felony 08/22/2015
017 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 10/02/2018
018 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 08/22/2015
019 PC261(A)(1)-F-Rape Of A Person Incapable Of Giving Consent Due To Mental Disorder Or Devp/Phys Disa 261(A1) Felony 08/22/2016
020 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 10/02/2018
021 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 08/22/2016
022 PC261(A)(2)-F-Rape Of A Person by Force 261(A2) Felony 08/22/2017
023 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 08/22/2017
024 PC288a(c )(2)(c )-F-Oral Copulation-By Force, Violence, Duress etc 288a( c2 c) Felony 08/22/2017
025 PC261(A)(2)-F-Rape Of A Person by Force 261(A2) Felony 08/01/2017

Courtesy of the Calaveras County Superior Court Case Index

This mug shot of Mulligan appeared in the Calaveras  Enterprise web site this afternoon. (http://www.calaverasenterprise.com/news/article_90513fea-c81e-11e8-b3a9-f3986298196d.html)

Mulligan Mugshot cropped

Having seen the arrest log last Friday we checked the address location and found that it is approximately 1.2 miles from the Rippon Road address where Leila Fowler was brutally murdered on 4/27/13.  A check of records available on  the Calaveras County Recorder’s web site shows that a deed in Mulligan’s name was filed on 12/27/12, just four months before Leila’s death.  It will be interesting to see if Mulligan’s DNA matches the still unidentified male DNA found on Leila by California D. O. J. Crime Scene Investigators.


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Is E-service of process valid Service of Process?

As  many people may know, a party to a civil or criminal action may compel you to produce information in various forms and/or appear at trial, hearing or deposition to provide testimony.  Although it is often inconvenient on various levels for the 3rd party, you still have to produce and /or appear when called upon to do so by one or more of the parties.

However, the parties cannot just call you up, send you an email or a text or bump into you on the street and request this of you.  They have to serve you with one of the various types of subpoenas that exist in the legal world.

Normally, valid service of a subpoena in these cases requires what is called “personal service.”  This does not mean putting the paper in someone’s hand, otherwise very few would get serviced.  The definition of “personal” is broad enough that I have put the paperwork under the windshield wiper of the car being driven by the intended recipient of  of the subpoena while they were at a stop light.

You may be asked by a party if you would accept service as an attachment to an email or a text message.  If you agree to this, the serving party may want to get confirmation from you, but the process is valid if you agree.

The upside of service by electronic means is that it saves time and money.  It is fast and process servers don’t have to be hired to go out and serve you.  In addition, it is far more discrete.  E-service eliminates your neighbors or co-workers seeing you getting served and wondering and gossiping about why.

If one side or the other in a civil law suit, or law enforcement in a criminal case implies that service of that type may be or is insufficient, they are lying to you.  They are lying for a reason.  In a recent case, law enforcement told witnesses served by email that the service was insufficient or “might be insufficient.”  The obvious idea was to confuse the witness regarding the need to comply.

If you agree to E-service of process, don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t valid.




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Retrial in the Leila Fowler Murder Case set for June 19, 2018.

Calaveras County Court Judge Susan Harlan set June 19, 2018 as the date to begin the retrial of Isiah Fowler whose 2015 conviction for the stabbing death of his 8 year old sister Leila was reversed by the California State Court of Appeals for the 3rd District.  The time for the State Attorney General to file for a petition of review passed after 40 days from the February 22, 2018 decision without a move to contest the appellate court’s decision at the State Supreme Court level.



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The Fowler Murder Case is Returning to Calaveras County.

On February 22, 2018 a panel of judges for the 3rd California Appellate District issued and opinion that reversed the trial court conviction in the Leila Fowler murder case (see the earlier post for the details.)  At the point the State Attorney General’s office had 40 days to file a Petition for Review with the California State Supreme Court (commonly know as an appeal of the 3rd District’s decision.)  The deadline for electronically filing the Petition was 11:59 PM April 3rd.

That deadline passed last night without the AG’s office filing a Petition for review and now the case goes back to Calaveras County via a court order known as a Remittitur.

The Remittitur will be served on the Calaveras County Superior Court in 20 days, at which point the County District Attorney has to decided whether or not she wishes to retry the case.

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