It seems that all anybody can talk about right now is Making a Murderer, and for good reason, as it is an astonishing and shocking documentary series. Wherever you stand on Teresa Halbach’s murder, there is no denying that Steven Avery spent 18 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit (although some in Manitowoc County would still argue against this). It was not until improvements in DNA testing emerged that he was finally exonerated for that first crime. He is now the most famous case of wrongful imprisonment, but here are just a few other people who have wrongfully faced hard time behind bars.
10. Joseph Burrows (6 Years)
In 1988, William E. Dulan was murdered at his home in Iroquois County, Illinois. Gayle Potter’s blood was found at the scene, and in a plea bargain, she admitted taking part but also implicated Joseph Burrows (who she claimed shot him) and Ralph Frye (a friend of Burrows with cognitive disabilities). No DNA implicated Burrows or Frye, and four witnesses placed Burrows 60 miles from the crime. Despite this, Burrows was sentenced to death and Potter and Frye faced lengthy prison terms. Frye later recanted his testimony against Burrows and claimed he was coerced by police. In a post-conviction hearing, Burrows’ lawyer amazingly persuaded Potter to confess the murder. After a new trial, charges were dropped and Burrows was released in 1994. This lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, recently announced she was taking on the defense in the Steven Avery case. She has earned the exoneration of 17 men in wrongful conviction cases.