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Evidence Shows Oregon Inmate Was Falsely ConvictedTim King Salem-News.com
DNA clears African-American inmate serving 19-year sentence for sex abuse.
(SALEM, Ore.) - Documents in the case of an African-American man serving a 19-year sentence for sex crimes against a child, spell out what may be one of Oregon's more significant miscarriages of justice.
38-year old Terrence Kimble's story is very hard to believe, yet it is a fact that this man has had to live with for almost ten years while incarcerated in the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem. From the beginning of his ordeal, Kimble has been denied a lie detector test.
At this point the whole thing defies explanation, because the DNA didn't match.
How a prosecutor in Lane County, Oregon was able to create a case with no witnesses, a denial of the crime that began with the victim and included an aunt and uncle, who is a psychologist; blood relatives of the girl, is perplexing.
Add to that an emergency room doctor's examination of the alleged 13-year old victim concluding that the girl had not engaged in any sexual activity, and the fact that she was in the presence of family members exhibiting normal behavior at the time of the alleged occurrence, and the fact that a man was sent to prison for 19 years becomes all the more unbelievable, yet it happened, and for Terrence Kimble, it continues every day of his life.
The crime Kimble is incarcerated for places him under the worst imaginable conditions. Questions now surround instructions provided by the judge in the case, as well as possible motives of the prosecutor, who was obviously very intense in his desire to convict Kimble - who never wavered from his position as that of an innocent man - of first-degree Rape.
Lorna Jackson, aunt of the alleged victim, offered this testimony at trial:
Ezekiel Jackson, an Industrial Psychologist, is the uncle of Tracy Hoffman. Hoffman is the mother of the alleged victim, Danielle McDaniel, who was 13 at the time and one of three siblings. Ezekiel Jackson and his wife Lorna Jackson were the reason Kimble and Hoffman were in Oregon with their children.
Ezekiel Jackson testified:
This discussion, according to Mr. Jackson, took place in front of Eugene Police officers there to investigate the allegation.
Kimble said in court, "I can't understand how I was found guilty of sex crimes with no physical or solid evidence. I was found guilty on hearsay.
"From just another African-American who has been railroaded by Lane County, Oregon, no matter how much time I'm sentenced to serve I'm going to continued to maintain my innocence for the crime for which I was found guilty and the crimes I was also accused of. I will continue to fight for my freedom no matter how much time I get or no matter how long it takes. I feel like a political prisoner here in Eugene, Oregon."
Judge Karsten Rasmussen, who was a personal injury lawyer prior to becoming a judge, said: "Mr. Kimble, the jury found what it found, and I confess to you that I would have found you guilty of the more serious crimes in all probability. I found the testimony of the victim in this case, a now 14-year old African-American girl, to be some of the most compelling testimony that I've ever heard in the 20 years or so I've been in this business. I found her completely and totally believable."
Yet the testimony seems simply to not exist.
Daniel D. Dietel M.D. at Eugene's Sacred Heart Medical Center wrote:
The girl's blood pressure was 109 over 70, very low.
Coleman says there is one thing very clear, "He is built like a horse, if that man had sex with that girl he would have seriously hurt her. I'm telling you, I worked the shower room and I can tell you a few things about that. 200 to 400 men in the shower at one time."
The DNA states that there is no connection between Terrence Kimble and the 13-year old girl, Danielle McDaniel. The girl initially claimed having been raped, but then a medical team found no evidence of a sex act. The girl told the doctor she was not raped, she told her aunt and uncle she was not raped, and her demeanor did not reflect that of a person who had been violently violated.
William Coleman says he looks forward to seeing 'Mr. Kimble' emerge from his ordeal as a free man very soon.
A great deal has been written about false convictions in America. The good news is that the advent of DNA to positively pinpoint details in police investigations, has allowed law enforcement to enter a new era; scientifically identifying those tied to crime scenes, and at the same time eliminating those who were not.
That is, unless you happen to be in Lane County, Oregon.
Terrence Kimble was tried and convicted of sex abuse against a child ten years ago. The girl was 13 years old at the time of the alleged offense. Former prison guard William Coleman knew Kimble in the Oregon prison system.
Coleman said, "Inmate Kimble is in prison on false accusations. Criminal charges that were brought against him that were false. One thousand percent false, and we have the documents to prove that, and he should be released any time soon, I'm pushing for that."
The smoking gun in this case is one that many would consider indisputable; a report from the Oregon State Police Forensic Laboratory clearly stating that there is not a DNA match.
The prosecutor, Robert Lane, tried very hard to convict Kimble of first-degree Rape. The judge clearly states on the record that he would probably have found Kimble guilty of the more serious crime. Again: first-degree Rape. The doctor who examined the victim, 13-year old Danielle McDaniel, said there had been no sexual contact. In fact it was stated that the girl had never had sex at all.
"It's very outrageous", Coleman said. "It just goes to show you what is going on in the state of Oregon. It has been going on for years, and the justice department is allowing this to happen. These things need to be reviewed, not just by the court system, but by the governor; by people in power that have the power to make these rulings when the person is completely one thousand percent innocent."
I ask, "And how long has he been incarcerated?"
"He's been incarcerated around ten years now, about ten years, for a crime he didn't commit."
Kimble was convicted in Eugene, Oregon, in a Lane County court, where verdicts against black black inmates sometimes leave many questions.
We covered the case of Darrel Sky Walker, an African-American student convicted in the death of a Portland judge's son who died as a result of a fistfight. Key witnesses said a white man named JD Beall threw the fatal punch, but Walker was convicted.
Coleman says Terrence Kimble is an innocent man.
I asked Coleman, "And when you worked at the prison, you had a feeling about this guy didn't you? That he might not be guilty?"
He replied, "I felt that he wasn't guilty for the crime they claimed happened. I didn't see that in him by just observing him, I didn't see that, but come to find out now that this guy is one thousand percent innocent, it's crazy. It is just unbelievable that the system would stoop so low to bring this man down, but then they brought me down the same way, there is nothing surprising."
The story is still coming together. It seems clear that the girl did make an initial accusation of rape against Kimble and the accusation involved a knife and torn panties.
But no torn panties were produced at the trial, and the medical reports stated that the girl had not engaged in sexual activity.
Coleman responded by saying, "So the rebellious child decided she wanted him out of her life because she decided to, he's the man of the house and he said, 'No, you stay home' or, 'No, you can't go nowhere' - so she got with her friends and they collaborated this bogus situation about Kimble and the state bought the whole situation."
I stated, "Even though the young lady bringing the case, after she had been talked to by the doctor said that there had been basically no act."
"She said there had been no sexual contact, over and over and over, but the state said, 'yes there has' - but documents prove that nothing happened," Coleman answered.
William Coleman is a survivor. He reported racism as an Oregon prison guard and discovered huge levels of corruption.
I clarified with William, "You were charged with 15 counts of smuggling cigarettes and this is the gentleman who went in... talk to me about a couple of the things he revealed during your court case."
He replied, "Well in that court case, inmate Kimble, he let the world know, he let the jury know, that the state police and other state officials were pushing briberies out, trying to get the inmates to buy, not buy but give them TV's and give them things for pleasure, to lie on me. He let the court know that, he let the court know that they were trying to get him to lie on me about other drugs that were brought into the institution. He let the jury know, and the court know that their goal was to destroy me with lies and slander, and that's just what he did."
I asked Coleman to confirm his amazing success fighting the case against him, "And the outcome of that trial was a unanimous not guilty verdict on all counts for you."
He replied, "Yes, and thanks to Kimble's testimony, I do believe it helped, he helped show the corruption on a high level, from state police, from state officials, the IA (internal affairs); all of them that collaborated their ideas together to try and destroy me- only because I blew the whistle on hate crimes and corruption in the prison system. And that was their retaliation, to destroy me, and discredit me, and they did that."
It was the DNA evidence, combined with testimony from the 13-year-old girl's family who testified on behalf of Kimble, that convinced Coleman.
"When I first started reading about Kimble's innocence, it blew me away, because of the injustice that is in this system today. From my experience, and just to see that inmate Kimble is in the same situation, so I just think that it is time to let Kimble out of this prison system."
Coleman believes Kimble is likely the reason he didn't get tossed in prison for many years, on trumped up charges.
"Kimble was my only witness that spoke the truth about the corruption that went on inside the prison system."
In the end, the entire case does not contain testimony from the victim. We know that she told relatives and her doctor that she was not raped, but still police moved the case forward.
"True, this young lady never admitted that she was sexually assaulted by inmate Kimble," he said.
The problems and inconsistencies Coleman observed in the Oregon State Prison, he believes, are widespread and varied. Kimble's case is a priority now. Interestingly, even though Kimble was ultimately not convicted of raping the girl, only charges of Sex Abuse, he was sent to prison for 19 years. 19 years. His attorney at the time, James Rice, who today is an attorney with the city of Portland, Oregon, says sentences of that length are typically reserved for cases involving egregious circumstances.
Coleman agrees, saying it is time for the government to take the high road and clean up the state prison system of corruption.
"I think the governor is going to have to step in and get Kimble out of this prison system, because the fact is that he is one thousand percent innocent. And they all know that. The thing is, who has the integrity to get this man out of prison"
"Besides you?", I asked
"Yeah besides myself, I am going to do what I need to do to see this man get his justice."
(Editor's note: Oregon is notorious in many circles over the murder of former Corrections Chief Michael Francke who was hired to clean up corruption in Oregon prisons, and was stabbed to death about a year after being hired. The state in that case used a young drug addict to convict a man named Frank Gable. There are amazing similarities in the case involving William Coleman.)
Previous Installments in this series:
Great resources on the Michael Francke Murder:
Articles for August 4, 2010 | Articles for August 5, 2010 | Articles for August 6, 2010