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'Making A Murderer': 9 Wrongful Conviction Cases More Shocking Than The Netflix Series

06/02/2016 14:27 | Updated 06 February 2016

While the world has been gripped by the case of Steven Avery in 'Making a Murderer', the real scale of wrongful convictions in the United States is tragically far larger then one man.

In 2015 alone there were 149 exonerations.

exonerations

Infographic supplied by Statista

The National Registry of Exonerations holds detailed records of all cases, any one of which would be worthy of its own Netflix series.

Below are just nine of these.

You may notice that all of the surnames begin with either 'A' or 'B'. That's because all of these cases are only taken from the first page of the database.

There are 1733 in total...

  • 1 James Bain
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • CONVICTED FOR: Child Sex Abuse
    AGE ON CONVICTION: 19
    AGE ON RELEASE: 54
    TIME SPENT IN JAIL: 35 Years
    CASE AND REASON FOR EXONERATION: In 1974 James Bain was convicted of the rape of a nine-year-old boy in Lake Wales, Florida. Bain's photo made its way into a police ID lineup based on a relative of the victim saying the boys description of the attacker sounded like him. The boy picked his photo and he was convicted on little else. He had no previous convictions and insisted he was at home with his sister watching TV at the time of the attack. There was little other evidence other than the photo lineup yet he was found guilty. In 2005 the Innocence Project took up his case and DNA evidence finally proved he didn't commit the crime in 2009.
    COMPENSATION: $1.75 million
    NOTES Bain's 35 years in jail is the longest time spent by someone later exonerated through DNA evidence.
  • 2 Bernard Baran
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • CONVICTED FOR: Child Sex Abuse
    AGE ON CONVICTION: 18
    AGE ON RELEASE: 44
    TIME SPENT IN JAIL: 21 Years
    CASE AND REASON FOR EXONERATION: In the 1980s, a notorious case of child sex abuse spawned a period of hysteria for years after in which many people were wrongly convicted of the abuse of minors. Baran, an openly gay high school dropout was one of them. He was working at the Early Childhood Development Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts when he was arrested in 1984 on charges of molestation of children in his care. The charges arose after a boy said Baran had "hurt his penis". The month previously the same boy's parents had said he should be fired because he was gay. After news of his arrest broke more than a dozen children came forward with allegations. Baran was convicted of five counts of rape and five counts of indecent assault and battery and was sentenced to three concurrent terms of life in prison. In 2006 a Superior Court Judge found a number of disturbing things wrong with his original trial.
    - On the day the trial started social workers recommended sexual abuse charges be brought against the boyfriends of the boy's mother, evidence never shared with Baran's lawyers.
    - Baran’s attorney, Leonard Conway, was found to have not adequately prepared for the trial.
    - Taped interviews of the children alleged to have been molested by Baran were heavily edited. In one a child was recorded saying: "Where’s my prize? You promised me a prize."
    His conviction was quashed in 2009.
    COMPENSATION: $400,000
    NOTES During his imprisonment Baran was repeatedly beaten and sexually abused. He died of heart failure in 2014.
  • 3 Daniel Anderson
  • CONVICTED FOR: Murder
    AGE ON CONVICTION: 21
    AGE ON RELEASE: 48
    TIME SPENT IN JAIL: 27
    CASE AND REASON FOR EXONERATION: 20-year-old Cathy Trunko was stabbed and killed on January 19, 1980. Five days later Daniel Anderson was being driven to a police station on an unrelated drunken disorderly charge. Police claim he spontaneously confessed to Trunko's murder during the ride. He immediately recanted the confession but was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 55 years. The jury rejected his claims that while sleep-deprived and still drunk - family members said Anderson had been battling alcohol since he was 14 - he was beaten by police and told to confess. Anderson was released on parole in 2007. In 2015 new DNA evidence showed that blood found on the knife belonged to neither Anderson nor Trunko and his charges were dismissed.
  • 4 Marvin Anderson
    The Innocence Project
  • CONVICTED FOR: Sexual Assault
    AGE ON CONVICTION: 18
    AGE ON RELEASE: 33
    TIME SPENT IN JAIL: 15 Years
    CASE AND REASON FOR EXONERATION: In 1982 Marvin Anderson was sentenced to 210 years in jail for robbery, forcible sodomy, abduction, and two counts of rape relating to the sexual assault of a 17-year-old white woman. The attacker was alleged to have told the victim that "he had a white girl" and Anderson was arrested as he was the only black man known to police who was living with a white woman. Anderson's photo was picked out of a lineup by the victim. He was later identified in a live lineup later on but was the only person present whose photo had been shown to the victim. He was convicted. In 1988 John Otis Lincoln came forward and confessed to the crime but a judge ruled he was lying. In 2001 DNA evidence proved Anderson's innocence - and implicated Lincoln.
    COMPENSATION: $200,000 plus $40,000 annually for life.
    NOTES The analysis of Anderson's case ultimately led to the exoneration of 10 other men
  • 5 Billy Frederick Allen
    Tony Gutierrez/AP
  • CONVICTED FOR: Murder
    AGE ON CONVICTION: 38
    AGE ON RELEASE: 64
    TIME SPENT IN JAIL: 26 Years
    CASE AND REASON FOR EXONERATION: Two drug dealers, James Perry Sewell and Raven Dannelle Lashbrook, were murdered in Texas. Sewell was still alive when police found him and on the way to the hospital he was alleged to have identified his attacker as "Billy Allen". Based on this and a palm print found on car in which Lashbrook was found, Billy Frederick Allen was sentenced to 99 years in jail. A paramedic later claimed the name Sewell uttered was actually "Billy Wayne Allen". Allen protested his innocence repeatedly. Further evidence from a man called Clifton Cook appeared by 2004 stating a Billy Wayne Allen had told him he had "wiped a smart-assed-son-of-a-bitch named Perry in Dallas". Allen was released in 2009.
    COMPENSATION: $2,073,333 as of 2013
  • 6 George Allen, Jr.
    Jeff Roberson/AP
  • CONVICTED FOR: Murder
    AGE ON CONVICTION: 27
    AGE ON RELEASE: 56
    TIME SPENT IN JAIL: 29 Years
    CASE AND REASON FOR EXONERATION: Mary Bell, 31, was found stabbed to death in her apartment in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1982. Schizophrenic, George Allen Jr, was picked up by police as he resembled another suspect in the case who had disappeared. A taped confession was obtained despite one officer dismissing him as unreliable. He was charged despite the fact Allen lived 10 miles from the crime scene in an area which was under a 20-inch snowstorm at the time of the murder. He later denied the murder but was convicted. Various appeals failed and then in 2012 the Innocence Project found police documents eliminating Allen as a suspect that had been withheld. Semen from two different men had been found on Bell's robe that she was wearing when she was killed. Allen was released in 2012.
    NOTES The actual killer was never found
  • 7 Laurence Adams
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • CONVICTED FOR: Murder
    AGE ON CONVICTION: 21
    AGE ON RELEASE: 51
    TIME SPENT IN JAIL: 30 Years
    CASE AND REASON FOR EXONERATION: In 1974 Adams was sentenced to death by electric chair by an all-white jury for the murder of a transit worker on a Boston Subway. Three witnesses claimed Adams had confessed to the murder despite his entire family saying he was at home at the time. One of the witnesses, Wyatt Moore, was actually in jail at the time he said he had heard the confession. Another, his sister Susie, recanted the confession on her death bed. He was released in 2004.
    COMPENSATION: Undisclosed
  • 8 Reginald Adams
    The Innocence Project
  • CONVICTED FOR: Murder
    AGE ON CONVICTION: 28
    AGE ON RELEASE: 62
    TIME SPENT IN JAIL: 34 Years
    CASE AND REASON FOR EXONERATION: Adams was convicted in 1983 of murdering Cathy Ulfers, the 24-year-old wife of a New Orleans police officer. There were no fingerprints or witnesses, only a confession from Adams which he claimed was obtained under coercion by officers Venezia and Ruiz. In 2013 the Innocence Project uncovered evidence that testimony from the two police officers was false. He was exonerated in 2014. In 2006, Cathy Ulfers’ husband, Ronald, was found guilty of murdering his second wife.
    COMPENSATION: Only $250,000 over 10 years and $80,000 to compensate for “lost life opportunities”.
  • 9 Kwame Ajamu
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • CONVICTED FOR: Murder
    AGE ON CONVICTION: 17
    AGE ON RELEASE: 44 (Exonerated aged 57)
    TIME SPENT IN JAIL: 27 Years
    CASE AND REASON FOR EXONERATION: Ajamu (then called Ronnie Bridgeman) was convicted of the murder of 59-year-old Harold Franks in 1975 based almost entirely on the testimony a 12-year-old boy, Edward Vernon, despite it being inconsistent. Another witness said Ajamu was not one of the two men who carried out the murder and Ajamu's classmates testified he was aboard a school bus with them at the time. A reporter later claimed Vernon had admitted lying to police about the murder and the Ohio Innocence Project took on the case. They fond evidence that police had pressured Vernon to testify when he attempted to retract his statement. Ajamu was released on parole in 2003. He was exonerated in 2014.
    COMPENSATION: $1.6 million.
    NOTES Upon his exoneration Ajamu said: "I can even go back to being Ronnie Bridgeman, but I’m not. They killed Ronnie Bridgeman. They killed his spirit. They killed everything he believed in, everything he ever wanted. I wanted to be something, too. I could have been a lawyer possibly. I could have been Barack Obama. Who knows?"
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