Innocence Proj

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Date Submitted: 01/07/2012 12:55 PM

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Bisera Vergieva

Innocence Project


On March 25, 1988, a man named Barry Gibbs was accused of a second-degree murder which he did not commit. About 4 months earlier, the body of an African- American woman was found near a Brooklyn highway after she had been strangled to death. The real killer was never found but Gibbs spent a total of seventeen and a half years in prison. The contribution of “snitch” testimony and prosecutorial misconduct apply to the sentence of the innocent man. Barry Gibbs was finally released when the court realized that the lead detective in the case had been plotting to prove him guilty (Gibbs 1). The story of these two people is similar to that of Elizabeth Proctor and Abigail Williams in The Crucible.

A witness claimed that he had been there the day of the crime and had seen a man pull out a body from his car, lay it on the ground, and drive away. The detective, Eppolito, realized the Gibbs knew the victim and proceeded to have him in a line-up and a search through his apartment. The witness identified Gibbs as the man who disposed the body even though they looked nothing alike (Gibbs 1). Even though Barry contacted the Innocence Project there was no DNA found in the case. When the court realized that Gibb’s investigation file was missing they began to investigate Louis Eppolito. In a search at his house the police found Barry’s file. Louis Eppolito was discovered to be part of a mafia! The witness who testified against Gibbs confessed that Eppolito had threatened him to say that Gibbs was the killer (Gibbs 2).

Contributions like a jail mate snitch and clothes led to the conviction of Barry Gibbs. A jailhouse informant who had a close relation ship with Eppolito claimed that he had spoken to Gibbs and that he admitted to killing the victim (Gibbs 1). Clothes found in Gibbs’ home were quite similar to that of the killer but had never fit Barry in the first place. His car was also the same color as the killers but...