|Year of Conviction||1982|
|Year of Exoneration||2003|
|State of Conviction||Pennsylvania|
|Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty Plea||Trial|
|Type of Crime||Rape and Murder|
|Gender of Exoneree||Male|
|Race of exoneree||White|
|Type of Innocence Defense|
|Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense|
● Witnesses including owner of deli, parents and sister testified that defendant was away from the scene of the crime when the crime occurred.
|Did the defendant testify at trial?||Yes|
|Quotes from Exoneree Testimony|
Missing portion of trial transcript with defendant’s testimony, but he apparently recanted his confession and asserted his innocence.
|Types of evidence at trial|
|Were non-public facts alleged?||Yes|
|Type of Forensic Evidence|
|Types of Flawed Forensics|
|Brief Quote / Description of Testimony|
The analyst described that B substances foreign to the victim were observed and that Yarris was a B secretor. The victim’s husband was also Type B.
|Identity of eyewitness|
Yes ● Initial nonidentification ● Initially uncertain ● Discrepancies in description – height, hair, no glasses
|Quotes from testimony #2|
Q: And so would it be fair to say at least at the Preliminary Hearing on February 18, 1982, which was the first time you saw Mr. Yarris in person, other than the times you claimed to see him in the mall, you were not able to say with certainty that it was the individual you saw in the mall? A: I wasn’t sure until that night. Q: And would it be fair to say you are not sure now? A: Yes, I am sure.” Another eyewitness stated, “Well, I had somewhat of a doubt, but I specifically told him four. The reason I had the doubt is because this picture here is a lot more clean cut looking than Mr. Yarris I had seen.” One eyewitness described, “At that time did you tell the detective that the individual had dark-colored brown or black hair which was straight down to the shoulders? A: I said it was darkish and down about to his shoulders in the back.” Defendant had reddish blonde hair.
|Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies|
● That the victim had been raped ● A brown landau roof on the victim’s car.
|Quotes from law enforcement testimony|
Q: ‘Did you or the C.I.D. ever release any information concerning the rape?’ A (Detective Martin): ‘No, as a matter of fact a conscious decision was made not to release any such information and to safeguard any such information about rape.’ Q: Did anybody form the C.I.D. ever release any information about the Landau roof?’ A: ‘The same pertains to the Landau roof. This is one of the things we decided to keep confidential in the investigation from the press.
|Quotes from prosecution arguments|
“These are the two crucial things, the Landau roof and the rape which were not made public and of course when Nick is asked about it, ‘I must have guessed”
|Interrogation Recorded||Audiotaped part of interrogation|
|Jailhouse informant, Co-defendant, Incentivized Witness||J|
|Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies||● Non-public facts included information about where victim worked and corroboration of eyewitness accounts.|
|Quotes from testimony #3|
Jailhouse informant testified: “His eyes were like watery and all and he says, ‘If I had the chance again, I never would have killed her.'” “He says that he was at the mall a couple of times and there was a girl there that seen him at least twenty-five times and she wouldn’t be able to identify him, and he don’t see how they could place him at the mall.” He said “while he was at the mall he was wearing bluejeans, boots and all…” which corroborated testimony of eyewitnesses.
|Quotes regarding any deal or leniency with informant, or prior use of informant|
At sidebar, prosecutor agreed that “we’re going to recommend that he get concurrent time on whatever sentences and that he serve his time in Bucks County.” His sentencing was postponed until after Yarris’ trial.
|Highest level reached||FederalHabeas|
|Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction|
|Harmless Error Rulings|
|Citations to judicial opinions|
Com. v. Yarris, 518 A.2d 261 (Pa. 1986)