David Thorne was convicted on January 25, 2000, and sentenced to life without parole in Ohio, for allegedly hiring an acquaintance to kill his son’s mother Yvonne Layne in 1999.
Thorne has proclaimed his innocence from the beginning, and evidence has come forward since his trial ended showing that egregious misconduct took place during the investigation and prosecution of his case. The police withheld exculpatory witness evidence and also obtained a coerced confession from a young man with a cognitive deficiency, who not only implicated himself but also implicated Thorne. Neither of the men committed this horrific crime. The police put two innocent people in prison while the perpetrator remains free.
Thorne, who has a iron-clad alibi, was implicated by a mentally and emotionally impaired man named Joseph Wilkes. After being interrogated and threatened with the death penalty, Wilkes told his interrogators that he was hired by Thorne to commit the murder. The problem was that Wilkes was unable to provide accurate details of the crime scene. According to Forensic Scientist Brent Turvey, Wilkes got every detail of the crime wrong, except the type of weapon used. Shockingly, the jury bought the flawed confession, despite its glaring inconsistencies, putting Wilkes and Thorne in prison for the rest of their lives. Wilkes has since recanted his confession and implication of Thorne, stating that he recited everything the police told him because he was fearful of being put to death.
Thorne has exhausted his appeals leaving him with few options. He is now seeking the help of a lawyer (who is willing to work pro bono) to file a request to have the DNA tested in his case. There are several key pieces of evidence that have never been fully investigated. The items include: a bloody footprint on the victims back, blood on the victim’s pillow from the murder weapon, a large knife bearing an unidentified thumbprint, and two ashtrays containing two different brands of cigarettes. DNA evidence from the crime scene will certainly not point to Thorne or Wilkes, because they were not there, but the evidence may very well lead to the actual perpetrator.
David Thorne has now been incarcerated for 16 years for a crime he did not commit. DNA testing could lead to his freedom. Please visit The Wrongful Conviction of David Thorne to learn more about this case. Thorne’s case is also endorsed by Injustice Anywhere.
An update for David Thorne’s case is also available in the Injustice Anywhere 2016 Winter Newsletter.