Podcast: DNA evidence and false confessions

DNA evidence and false confessions are two of the most interesting aspects of any documentary crime series that airs today. Unfortunately, there are cases of criminal injustice occurring on a daily basis in every jurisdiction around the world.

Dr. Brian Farrell of the Iowa Innocence Project held a seminar in NUI Galway last month to shed some light on the use of DNA evidence and forced confessions in the American justice system. I went along to find out what he had to say.

Listen to the podcast below:

Zach Witman's socks after the murder of his brother Greg

A perplexing case of fratricide: the murder of Greg Witman

The murder of Greg Witman has been a case which has fascinated me ever since listening to the podcast Serial. While only mentioned in one episode by the presenter, it really struck me as being deeply upsetting and traumatic for the family. Why? Greg was thirteen at the time and his older brother Zach, who was fifteen, was prosecuted for his murder.

Let’s take a look at a simplified timeline:

  • On October 2, 1998, in New Freedom, Pennsylvania, Greg arrives home from school at 3:10 pm. Zach had remained at home that day because he felt unwell. Their parents were at work.
  • Greg’s friend calls the Witman home asking for him at 3:15 pm. Zach answers the phone upstairs and tells her that Greg had not yet come home, which he believed to be true. It was a short conversation.
  • Zach hears a thud and goes downstairs to find his brother in the laundry room with stab wounds to his back and neck. He calls 911 at 3:17 pm. He is ordered by police to move his brother’s body, and tells the operator that he can see inside his brother’s throat.
  • Emergency responders arrive at 3:25 pm, followed by police five minutes later.
  • Zach is charged with first-degree murder on October 10.

Here are some things that don’t add up:

1) Zach and Greg’s relationship

Zach and Greg

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Moon landing murders?

We’ve all grown up to believe that humanity landed on the moon on July 20, 1969 with Neil Armstrong saying the famous words, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” However, as with all things which mark an important historical moment, there are some things that could be classified as suspicious. This post will not look at the more obvious/ridiculous conspiracies, but will instead look at the deaths of two men years before the landing which may raise an eyebrow.

Gus Grissom

Gus Grissom in his spacesuit

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