Investigators and prosecutors have been entrusted with a great responsibility. While the investigation and/or prosecution of public officials is often necessary, the people in these positions must carefully evaluate the accusations being made and consider the repercussions that they could have if the person is innocent. Further, prosecutors are forbidden to go off on “fishing” expeditions. This means that he, or she, must have facts to back up a warrant. They cannot issue a warrant based on the idea that “something” would likely be found to charge a person with (Frampton 1976).
In the same way that this principal can protect innocent people from being harassed through the court system, the same principal can prevent investigators and prosecutors from being able to obtain justice against people whom they know have committed, or are committing, a crime but they simply do not have enough evidence to indict them (Frampton 1976).
In an article published by Govering.com, Greenblat (2018) discusses the challenges that prosecutors face when it comes to successfully convicting public corruption cases, due to the Supreme Court’s decision to raise the burden of proof. As a result of this decision, many politicians have been able to have their cases thrown out of court. The ethical dilemma here is that, since the statutes governing these issues are overly broad and unclear, they lack the teeth necessary to convict for these crimes (Greenblat 2018).
One problem that is seen in defining what is and is not considered public corruption is that, in the recent case of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez in which the court declared a mistrial and dismissal of the case, it was made clear that “gifts between friends,” no matter how valuable, are not considered to be proof of corruption. And, since the burden of proof was raised (as a result of the ruling on a case involving Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell), many high-profile corruption convictions have been overturned. Both of these cases have been problematic for prosecutors.
Furthermore, if the accused has the financial means (which they likely do if they are in a position of power) and the right connections within the court system, it is very unlikely that the case will make it to trial. With this in mind, prosecutors are likely to be very gun shy when it comes to pursuing certain untouchable individuals if they know that their chances of winning a case against them are slim to none (Greeblat 2018).
Examples of Governmental Crime and Public Corruption
In a federal criminal complaint that was unsealed last January, “one of Chicago’s most powerful figures and a vestige of the city’s old Democratic machine” was charged with extortion for allegedly using his political position for financial gain (Meisner 2019).
According to reports, Burke had been on the FBI’s radar for years but had been considered too “clever and sophisticated” to be caught. While many of Burke’s colleagues were being charged and sentenced to prison for similar crimes, Burke somehow managed to slip through the cracks, despite numerous accusations, until now. If convicted, the long-time alderman, identified as Edward Burke, could face up to twenty years in prison (Meisner 2019).
The problem of public corruption plagues all levels of government from small town America to Washington. In 1985, a small town in Dyer County, Tennessee received national attention when its town sheriff was arrested and impeached on corruption charges. The story depicts his reign of terror over the town and how the system tolerated his behavior. Sheriff Tommy Cribbs and his deputies were found to be some of the most dangerous and feared criminals around. Residents feared the very men who were meant to serve and protect, as they would often bully and threaten them to achieve their immoral agendas. They stole money and livestock, burned down buildings in insurance fraud, intimidated witnesses and committed acts of violence. There was no limit to what they would do to maintain their status quo within the town. The sheriff’s power over the town was passed down from his father who was reportedly just as corrupt as his son. It was not until the county’s attorney general, Jim Horner, bucked the system that the ball finally started to roll in the right direction. A assassination order was put out on Horner but, luckily, the FBI got involved and shut the racquet down before it could be carried out (ABC 20/20 1985).
Due to the challenges of prosecuting public corruption, it is more necessary now than ever for the public to be, not just assertive but, aggressive in sharing information they have pertaining to corruption. Statutes and caselaw seem to protect corrupt officials rather than the people and these cases rely heavily on the courage of whistleblowers testimonies. However, regardless of the repercussions, investigators and prosecutors must also display courage if they expect the public to trust them. Information shared must be acted upon and followed up on. The people lose trust in their government when they cry out for help and their cries fall on deaf ears.
It is important to remember that public officials work for us, the public, and when they are not doing their jobs correctly it is up to us to remove them from that position. The public must unite as one voice and take the power back and prosecutors/investigators must have their backs when they do. If something is not done, the problem will spread and worsen until the law is nothing more than a front for the most feared and powerful gang in the United States.
Frampton, G. (1976). Some practical and ethical problems of prosecuting public officials.
Maryland Law Review. 36(1). Retrieved from https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/56357306.pdf.
Greenblatt, A. (2018). Public corruption cases are harder to prove than ever. Retrieved from
Meisner, J. (2019). Powerful Chicago Democrat charged in federal corruption case. Retrieved f
Stafford, T. (2018). 11-1985 Dyer Co, TN Blues Sheriff Tommy Cribbs arrested. ABC 20/20.
YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBh6IygxOMk.
Victim Name: Swift, Karen
On November 13, 2018, I received a copy of the victim’s autopsy and was asked for my opinion regarding the details of that report, which is as follows (I am not a medical expert and do not hold a license, certificate or degree that qualifies me as such. My opinion is founded solely upon probability):
The cause of death is blunt force trauma to the head, particularly the frontal and temporal lobes, which indicates that the victim was facing her attacker when she was struck (possibly slightly to the left). The attack was not premeditated but, rather, an act of extreme rage. The attacker approached the victim quickly, as indicated by the lack of defense wounds (e.g. fractures to hands and/or arms), and struck her with an item that was readily available (tire iron, ball bat, golf club). The victim fell, landing on her left side, causing her to have a remote fractured rib.
Specific details, pertaining to David Swift, are limited but are as follows:
- He had just had surgery and was on crutches at the time of the victim’s death.
- He was at home with their other daughter on the night in question.
- The victim was at a Halloween party on the night in question but that she left early to pick up their daughter, who was not feeling well, and returned home with their daughter sometime between 1:30 and 1:45 AM and laid down with their daughter.
- He called friends and neighbors the next morning when he and the children realized that the victim was not at home.
- He called police to report his wife missing in the afternoon of October 30, 2018.
- The last call/text from the victim’s phone was to a friend stating that she was not having fun and felt like a third wheel.
- The victim was at the party with (omitted) and (omitted), who are husband and wife and whom the victim was reportedly involved with sexually (swingers).
- The victim was, reportedly, wearing jeans and a jacket upon returning home from the party.
- The victim’s Halloween costume was found inside the vehicle.
- Prominent man was reportedly seen by three separate witnesses, with a metal detector, at the location where the body was found before the victim’s body was found there.
I confirmed the break in at The Farms Golf Club.
I obtained a statement from the young man who claimed to have overheard his friend “drunk talkin” about hitting the victim with his truck. This lead was disregarded due to its improbability and unreliability.
I spoke with a close friend of the victim’s who states that the victim “confided” in her that she was involved in something she wasn’t proud of (for money). This witness also confirms much of the rumors about the couple that the victim went to the party with.
I spoke with another close friend of the victim’s who, among other things, states that the victim told her that she’d had “risky pictures” taken with other girls. This witness also notes several issues within the victim’s marriage and her uncertainty of the victim’s husband’s guilt or innocence.
I spoke with two witnesses who saw the “prominent man” with a metal detector at the location where the victim’s body was found (prior to the body being found).
I spoke with another witness who stated that he saw an “old man” walking around near the crime scene prior to the body being found and that he did not realize who it was until later when he saw a picture of him. The witness claims that he tried to report it to the detectives but was dismissed and told he was dreaming (audio provided).
Employees of the Farms Country Club have given statements confirming the altercation between the prominent man’s daughter and the victim on the night in question. However, they were told to deny it if anyone asked.
The victim had been in at least two altercations with other two women.
CONCLUSION OF INVESTIGATION
Though I will admit that none of this information “clears” the victim’s husband, I have to consider the fact that there are several factors that point to the “swinger couple” as well as the woman whom the victim got into the altercation with at the Halloween party. My conclusion is based on the following:
- The altercation at the Farms with (omitted).
- The fact that employees who witnessed the fight were told to deny it if asked.
- The Farms being broken into two days after the Halloween party.
- The fact that the security system was damaged and surveillance videos from the night of the Halloween party were stolen.
- The fact that the victim was receiving money (and a pre-paid phone) from the couple.
- The fact that the victim was at the Halloween party on the night she was murdered with the “swinger couple.”
- The fact that the victim had admitted to a close friend that she had “gotten herself involved in something (for money) that she was not proud of”… and that the “swinger” couple were at the center of it.
- The fact that three separate witnesses reported seeing the prominent man, with a metal detector, at the crime scene prior to the victim’s body being found.
- The fact that the prominent man claimed to have lost a “watch” while jogging on Harness Road (when asked what he was doing) but that he lives on the other side of town.
The information that I have received from witnesses is circumstantial. However, it paints a very plausible picture of the events of October 29, 2011 and into the early morning hours of October 30, 2011. I believe the victim was propositioned by the “swinger couple” and that she was involved with them sexually (for money). It is also my belief that the victim received a burner phone from the them for the purpose of receiving phone calls if/when the victim has a job to do (an interested john). I believe that the purpose of the risky pictures was to send to potential johns and that, when the victim was “sneaking out” of the house she would park her car at various places (such as wal-mart) and the couple would pick her up and take her to meet the “john.” On the night of the Halloween party, where the victim had gone with the couple, I believe that they had found a john for the victim to meet that night. I believe that, before the victim left the party to pick up her sick daughter and take her home, she got into a confrontation with (omitted) regarding the victim’s relationship with her husband. It is unknown whether her husband was at the Halloween party (I have heard that he was not), but I believe that he could have been a customer of the victim’s and that is who she left the house to meet with that night. I believe that (omitted) may have somehow learned of this arrangement (possibly a tracker on his vehicle or followed him???) and showed up there. I believe that the confrontation that occurred between the victim and (omitted) continued and that (omitted) grabbed the closest object (a tire iron or golf club), ran up on the victim and swung it on her. The victim fell, landing on her left side, breaking her left rib. I believe that this is when the cover-up began. The prominent man was called in to help with that. Whether the prominent man was involved in dumping her body or the actual act of killing her is unknown. At some point, however, someone lost something at the location where the victim’s body was dumped. My guess is a piece of jewelry. Perhaps (omitted) threw her wedding ring? This lost item is what the prominent man was seen looking for with a metal detector. Furthermore, the perpetrators knew they would have to destroy the surveillance video from the night of the party so as to be certain that the murder would not lead back to them (the confrontation in the front of the building which would have been on those tapes).
Is it possible that David Swift snapped and killed his wife. Yes. It is. In considering this, I have to think about the fact that both the victim and Mr. Swift had done wrong in their marriage. However, in speaking to friends of the victim, it has been stated that the victim herself claimed to never have been physically harmed by Mr. Swift in nearly two decades despite that the victim had been behaving this way since moving to Dyersburg with her family. Despite Mr. Swift’s desperation to keep his marriage in tact, and his failed attempts to control her out of that desperation, I find it hard to believe that someone who had never put a hand on his wife suddenly snapped and bashed in her skull. While I am certain that jealousy was the motive for this brutal attack, I do not believe it was the jealousy of David Swift. Rather, I believe it was an enraged wife of a john who found out about his relationship with the victim (and that was most likely under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs on the night of the party).
_________________END OF REPORT__________________
BARDSTOWN, KENTUCKY (population <12,000)
Jason Ellis was the Bardstown Police Department’s K9 officer and had been on the force for nearly seven years. On May 25, 2013, Ellis was driving on the Bluegrass Parkway in his cruiser when he noticed some brush in the road. When he pulled the vehicle over to clear it, he was ambushed. The murderer(s) shot Ellis several times in what some might describe as “sniper” fashion.
Kathy Netherland was a teacher at Bardstown elementary, where she taught special education; and her daughter, Samantha Netherland, was a sophomore at Bardstown High School. On April 22, 2014, Kentucky State Police entered the home to discover that Kathy had been shot multiple times, Samantha had been beat to death and both of their throats had been slashed.
Cyrstal Rogers disappeared on July 3, 2015. Her car was discovered on the Bluegrass Parkway. Crystal’s boyfriend and father of her youngest child, Brooks Houck, claimed that she was “playing video games” that night when he went to bed. It had been reported that the two of them had visited Houck’s mother’s farm with their son. Many believe she was killed on the farm. Her body has never been found.
Tommy Ballard was Crystal Rogers’ father and he had dedicated every day of his life to finding his daughter… until November 19, 2016 when he was shot and killed. Like Ellis… the shooting was done in a “sniper” styled fashion. Ballard, who was hunting with his son and grandsons that day, lived long enough to say “they shot me in the back” before taking his last breath (the bullet entered through his chest and exited through his back but he had only felt the exit). His killers, like the others, are still at large.
Every year tens of thousands of juveniles across the United States are processed through the court system. However, despite the growing number of cases involving juveniles, law enforcement officials and judges in the lower courts have failed to follow guidelines and instructions set forth through Supreme Court precedents. This essay will look the history of juvenile justice, how it has evolved, as well as Supreme Court decisions pertaining to the treatment of juveniles and the many ways lower courts have not upheld those standards.
History of Juvenile Justice
18th-century law treated juvenile and adult offenders the same. Minors were subjected to the same degree of punishment as adults, including whipping and death. It wasn’t until the latter part of the 19th-century, after the Civil War, that the first juvenile court was created and the parens patriae doctrine established court jurisdiction over juveniles. The doctrine, which was founded upon the belief that children were “less mature” and should not be held accountable for their behavior, placed focus on the rehabilitation of juveniles rather than on punishment. However, in exchange for leniency, juveniles were denied basic constitutional rights (e.g. the right to an attorney) and were found guilty without being given the fairness of their day in court. Instead, the decision lied solely in the hands of the juvenile court judge. A massive number of juveniles were being locked away in detention centers, institutions and training schools every year for offenses as minor as disobeying their parents (Lawrence & Hesse 2010).
In the 1980s, the juvenile justice system underwent major changes. As a response to the increase of serious crimes being committed by juveniles, state legislators began to pass more punitive laws. The new laws completely reshaped the juvenile justice system to mirror that of the adult system, making it possible for juveniles to be transferred over to adult court and subjecting them to capital punishment. In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled “the imposition of the death penalty on persons who were under the age of 18 at the time of their crimes was cruel and unusual punishment and therefore a violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments” (Roper v. Simmons U.S. 125 S. Ct. 1113, Lawrence & Hess 2010).
What Does the Supreme Court Say About the Treatment of Juveniles?
In re Gault (1967), the U.S. Supreme Court pointed out lower court’s failure to provide juveniles basic procedural safeguards. One such issue was the failure to accord the privilege against self-incrimination and whether juveniles possess the level of maturity to understand and/or waive their Miranda rights. The California Supreme Court developed the “totality of circumstances” doctrine, which tests the waiver of a juvenile in order to determine whether it is valid. The case further addresses the issue of “inherent coercion” in police interrogations and suggests the presence of a juvenile court officer or another “supportive adult” to prevent coercion. One of the biggest problems with interrogating juveniles is the “increased vulnerability” to “inherent coercion.” While most interrogations do not employ the use of physical threats, more subtle tactics are likely to be effective with juveniles. Further, juveniles are especially susceptible to the use of friendliness for the purpose of playing on their insecurities (Grisso & Pomicter 1977).
The Supreme Court has consistently overturned lower court’s rulings based on the idea that a juvenile does not possess the maturity and intelligence to voluntarily waive their Miranda rights. In T.C. v. State (2010), the Supreme Court overturned a twelve-year-old boy’s delinquency adjudication based on the idea that he did not knowingly or intelligently waive his Miranda rights before confessing to murder. In J.B.D. v North Carolina (2011) the Supreme Court recognizes that children would most likely feel bound to answer questions where an adult would not.
In addition to previously mentioned disadvantages (e.g. intelligence and maturity), the Supreme Court has acknowledged that juveniles are “no match” for adult interrogators. That understanding has resulted in the reversal of many trial court decisions, such as that in Haley v. Ohio (1948), in which a fifteen-year-old boy made a confession after five hours of being interrogated by a team of detectives. The court concluded stated, “Mature men possibly might stand the ordeal from midnight to 5 a.m. But we cannot believe that a lad of tender years is a match for the police in such a contest” (OJJDP 2018).
In Crowe v. County of San Diego (2010), it was concluded a fourteen-year-old boy who confessed to murdering his sister was “compelled to falsely confess when officers used inappropriate questioning techniques, such as lying about the evidence and promising him help rather than prison in exchange for an admission of guilt (OJJDP 2018).
Lastly, the Court points out essential differences between juveniles and adults in Roper v. Simmons (2005), noting that juveniles are “more susceptible to negative influences and outside pressures than adults” (OJJDP 2018).
Perhaps one of the most widely known and appropriate examples of extreme injustice in the juvenile justice system is that of Brendan Dassey, who was sixteen-years-old at the time of his arrest and conviction. The victim was twenty-five year old Teresa Halbach, a photographer for a magazine called “Auto Trader”, who disappeared after visiting Dassey’s uncle, Steven Avery, on October 31, 2006. Halbach was reportedly at the Avery farm for the purpose of photographing a vehicle owned by Avery. On November 5th, Halbach’s vehicle was found on Avery’s property (in a salvage yard that he owned) and her remains were discovered in various places on the property (Lee 2016).
After four interviews in forty-eight hours, detectives were able to obtain a confession confirming everything they had set out to prove. His confession stated that he had come home from school that day and had gotten the mail. He then went to his uncle Steven’s trailer to give him his mail and found him in the act of sexually assaulting Halbach. His uncle allegedly invited the teen to “join” in. After raping and torturing Halbach, Dassey claims that they killed her by cutting her throat. At this point, the detectives led Dassey by asking, “what happened to her head.” Not sure what to say, Dassey replies by saying that they “cut her hair.” The investigators asked the same question multiple times until they received the answer they were looking for, which was that they shot her in the head. Dassey, who had already stated that they killed her in the trailer, then says that they took her outside by the garage where his uncle shot Halbach about ten times with a .22 caliber rifle. Among other conflicting statements within Dassey’s story, there is one major issue. Not a shred of DNA puts Halbach inside the home (YouTube – Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey Cases 2015).
Dassey’s confession was the sole reason for the trial court’s decision to charge him with first-degree murder, mutilation of a corpse, and second-degree sexual assault, which landed him with a life imprisonment sentence with possibility of parole in 2048 (Lee 2016).
Dassey’s case, in which he was found guilty of sexually assaulting and murdering Halbach with his uncle Steven Avery, received world-wide attention through the Netflix series known as “Making a Murderer.” The show exposed questionable interrogation tactics in the course of extracting confessions from minors, particularly that of Brenden Dassey. “The video of Brendan’s interrogation shows a confused boy who was manipulated by experienced police officers into accepting their story of how the murder of Teresa Halbach happened” (Barnes 2018). Brendan’s interrogation videos, which are available on YouTube, exposed the detectives fact-feeding the socially awkward teen and promising him leniency in exchange for a confession. In addition to failing to consider Dassey’s age and level of intelligence/maturity, there is the obvious use of coercion and lack of a supportive adult to comfort Dassey through the grueling process (YouTube – Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey Cases 2015).
Dassey’s attorney, Laura Nirider from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Center of Wrongful Convictions of Youth, has filed numerous appeals. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals upheld the conviction due to the fact that Dassey had been read his rights and that his mother consented to the interview but his luck appeared to have changed when the federal court and 7th Circuit Court ruled in Dassey’s favor. Unfortunately, their decision was overturned when the State of Wisconsin demanded a full panel hearing. In part, that decision read, “Dassey spoke with the interrogators freely, after receiving and understanding Miranda warnings, and with his mother’s consent. The interrogation took place in a comfortable setting, without any physical coercion or intimidation, without even raised voices, and over a relatively brief time. Dassey provided many of the most damning details himself in response to open-ended questions.” However, “the three dissenting judges called the decision ‘a profound miscarriage of justice.’
Application of Case Law to the Dassey Case
The State argued, and the panel agreed, that Dassey was read his rights and that his mother consented to the interview. However, they failed to acknowledge some very important details that, according to precedents set by their own courts, went against every guideline that they had previously set for lower courts when deciding the fate of a juvenile. One such consideration that they had disregarded was that Dassey lacked the intelligence and sophistication to understand the implications of this decision. Furthermore, they failed to apply the “totality of circumstances” that was laid out by the California Supreme Court (Grisso & Pomicter 1977).
The State further argued that Dassey’s confession was not coerced, and the majority agreed based on their observations of a “comfortable setting” and friendly demeanor of the detectives throughout the course of the interrogation. However, they failed to recognize that inappropriate questioning techniques are not limited to physical threats or verbal aggression. Rather, the Supreme Court has found that “inherent coercion” includes lying about evidence that has already been obtained and promising to help the juvenile in exchange for a confession, which detectives did in their interrogation(s) of Brendan Dassey (OJJDP 2018).
Finally, the appellant court failed to recognize the difference between adults and juveniles as defined in Roper v. Simmons (2005). In short, juveniles are “more susceptible to negative influences and outside pressures than adults” (OJJDP 2018). In the case of Brendan Dassey, the adults around him (e.g. the detectives and even his own lawyer) express disappointment in him when he fails to give them the answer(s) they are attempting to get from him. Dassey, who clearly cares a great deal about pleasing them, makes every attempt to satisfy their efforts to the point of partaking in a guessing game until arriving at the right answer.
The injustice did not stop there for Dassey because, due to the seriousness of the crime, he was transferred to adult court. One could argue that this was an appropriate action given the seriousness of the crime. However, based on the fact that the State’s entire case revolved around a confession that was obtained by shady police tactics, the confession should have been inadmissible and the case should have been thrown out of court.
Over the course of the last hundred years, the juvenile justice system has transitioned from informal to formal and has failed to find a balance between the two. On one end of the spectrum (informal) a juvenile’s basic human rights are denied while the other end (formal) subjects them to punishment that is not suitable for a child. Unfortunately, it is not a problem that is easily resolved and fixing it would mean to completely restructure the juvenile justice system from the ground up. From interrogations to sentencing, the juvenile justice system must encompass standards that uphold Supreme Court decisions and, ultimately, one’s Constitutional rights.
Brendan Dassey is not alone when it comes to being mistreated by the juvenile justice system. However, Dassey’s case has raised awareness and exposed the unethical practices of the juvenile justice system at local and state levels. The public outcry for harsher punitive laws for juveniles is based on the assumption of guilt but considering the circumstances surrounding the treatment of juveniles in the interrogation room, how can one know whether a confession is valid or not?
On the subject of transfers, it is agreeable that there are some circumstances in which a transfer to adult court would be appropriate. However, until the process of obtaining confessions is corrected, the confession of a minor should not be the basis of a conviction and juveniles should be awarded the possibility of rehabilitation.
In closing, the treatment of minors in the juvenile justice system is unfair and unjust. They are manipulated into giving false confessions in which detectives play on their insecurities. They are often times transferred to adult courts for crimes that they may not have committed or that were committed at a time that they were too immature to understand the implications of their behavior. This problem can only be reconciled by totally restructuring the juvenile justice system into a system that respects and abides by the Supreme Court’s set of standards and holding law enforcement officers and court officials accountable for failure to do so.
Barnes, R. (2018). Supreme court won’t hear the case of Brendan Dassey, sentenced to life and featured in ‘Making a Murderer’. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-wont-hear-the-case-of-brendan-dassey-a-teen-sentenced-to-life-and-featured-in-making-a-murderer/2018/06/25/6f97336e-787c-11e8-93cc-6d3beccdd7a3_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.02c3423810f8.
Grisso, J.T., Pomicter, C. (1977). Interrogation of juveniles: An empirical study of procedures, safeguards and rights waiver
Stimson, C. (2015). Adult punishment for juveniles. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/06/05/when-to-punish-a-young-offender-and-when-to-rehabilitate/adult-punishments-for-juveniles.
Loughran, T.A., Mulvey, E.P., Schubert, C.A., Chassin, L.A., Steinberg, L., Piquero, A.R., Fagan, J., Cota-Robles, S., Cauffman, E., Losoya, S. (2010). Differential effects of adult court transfer on juvenile offender recidivism. American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychology Association.
OJJP. (2018). Introduction to developing rapport with youth. Retrieved from: http://elearning-courses.net/iacp/jjRapportContent/resourcefolder/Key%20Court%20Decisions%20Juvenile%20Interview%20Interrogation.pdf.
Lee, J. (2006). Report details Halbach’s death. Post Crescent. Retrieved from https://www.postcrescent.com/story/news/local/steven-avery/2016/01/07/report-details-halbachs-death/78437306/.
YouTube. (2015). Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey cases. Retrieved from https://www
- October 11, 2011 – Karen Swift filed for divorce (but still lived with her husband).
- October 30, 2011 (Sunday) – Karen Swift picked up her daughter from a Halloween party at about 1:30 AM.
- Swift laid down and went to sleep with her daughter (when her daughter woke up at 6a she noticed that her mother was gone).
- Swift’s 2004 Nissan Murano was found at around 5:30 AM the same day that she went missing, by a neighbor who noticed it broken down on the side of the road with a flat tire.
- December 10, 2011 – Swift’s body was found a few miles from her home, at a rural cemetery at Harness and Burnt Hill Roads in Millsfield, TN.
- Autopsy shows cause of death as blunt force head injury.
Name: Nieko Lisi (18 years at time of disappearance)
Height: 5’10 / Weight: 160
Eyes: Brown / Hair: Brown
3 Tattoos (Chinese writing on back of left arm / Jesus and angles tattoos on abs)
Nieko Lisi was last seen on September 30, 2011 in Addison, NY. He and a friend, who is deceased, were driving a GMC Canyon. His last communication with his family was on October 1, 2011 and he has not been seen or heard from since. Nieko’s last known whereabouts was in Franklin, TN on, or about, the 1st of October. His last cell phone ping was on Flintlock Drive in Franklin, TN. Since his disappearance… the truck that he and his friend were in was discovered, dismantled, in a garage in the Nashville, TN area. Foul play is suspected. If you have information, please call 1-800-465-0888 OR Franklin PD at (615)794-2513.
The victim of this crime is twenty-two year old Raquel “Kelly” Edwina Jackson. Eight months pregnant with her second child, Ms. Jackson was found stabbed to death in her Louisville, Kentucky apartment on April 4, 2003 at approximately 22:20 hours. The report notes multiple stab wounds and the victim was pronounced dead upon EMS arrival. Here are the facts as we know them:
- On February 6, 2003, Kelly signed paperwork at the Neighborhood Place (a women’s shelter) seeking refuge from a violent situation with the father of her child (whom we will call William for legal purposes).
- On February 10, 2003, an Emergency Order of Protection was entered against “William.”
- On April 4, 2003 (the day of the murder) Kelly had a sonogram at 9a and was scheduled to wait tables at Big Hops Diner later that afternoon. When she arrived at work, she was told that she was not needed and that she could go home.
- Kelly spoke with a friend after her appointment and expressed excitement that “William” had gone with her to the appointment and had experienced the sonogram with her.
- “William” denied seeing or speaking to Kelly on the day of her murder.
- DNA evidence in the form of skin and hair were found under Kelly’s fingernails, but have remained inconclusive and (to my knowledge) have not been run through CODIS since 2003.
- Kelly’s case remains open yet “William” has not been interrogated and witnesses have not been interviewed beyond initial reports being made.
- “William” has been a suspect in multiple murders. One of which, he was charged. However, the state lessened the charge to reckless homicide and released him at the trial with only eighteen months served (time served) due to lack of evidence and discredited witnesses. The victim had been shot in the head and dumped in a park. At least three people witnessed the crime take place, but were not deemed credible due to drug addiction and prior convictions.
- “William” was also a suspect in the murder of a man and woman in February of 2000. The female victim, whom he was seeing intimately at the time of her death, and the man had been gunned down on the front porch of a house in western Louisville at approximately 6:00 AM (after leaving a nightclub).
- Kelly was expected to testify against “William” in an unrelated pending court case (in which he had been charged with 2nd degree burglary) on July 15, 2003.
- Among other documentation received by my office from the family of the victim, is a stack of letters that Kelly received from “William” while he was in jail for reckless homicide. The letters express frustration and an inability to sleep due to rumors that Kelly is getting her “back knocked out” by other men. In one such letter he states that he does not want to have to get over Kelly the way that he got over (his last girlfriend that was found shot to death with the man she left the bar with).
Tune into THE FINAL REPORT with Heather Cohen, Tracey Ellis and Fletcher Long to hear more evidence, interviews with witnesses and with the suspect and an in-depth conversation about case evidence.