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Murder, rape convictions questioned

The New York Times Magazine to be published Sunday has an extended article questioning the validity of the convictions of four sailors who confessed to the rape and murder of a woman in Norfolk in 1997.

The story by free-lance writer Alan Berlow cites inconsistencies between the confessions and the physical evidence and among the four confessions by defendants Joseph Jesse Dick Jr., Danial Williams, Derek Tice and Eric Wilson.

Moreover, DNA evidence at the scene of the death of Michelle Moore-Bosko did not match any of the four and does match that of Omar Abdul Ballard, who has been convicted of another rape and wrote a female friend that he had killed Moore-Bosko.

The four have filed a request for a pardon from Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. They contend that their confessions were made at the end of lengthy and abusive interrogations by a Norfolk detective.

Four former Virginia attorneys general, including Richard Cullen, also a former U.S. attorney and now chairman at McGuireWoods, believe the defendants are innocent, Berlow reports. The victim’s family and police, prosecutors and the defense attorney for one of the defendants continue to insist on their guilt.

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