Photo: Former detective Robert Glenn Ford, from a 2006 deposition obtained by FRONTLINE.

Did a Detective Admit to the Innocence of Four Men He Helped Convict?

December 21, 2010

A confidential witness has told an investigator that former detective Robert Glenn Ford, who elicited false confessions from four men who were later convicted of the rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko in 1997, believes they did not commit the crime, reports The Virginia-Pilot. Omar Ballard, a fifth man, later confessed to the crime, pleaded guilty and is serving two life sentences. His DNA is the only match to the crime scene, and he claims he committed the rape and murder alone.

The allegation against Ford was leveled in court documents filed last month as part of Danial Williams’ appeal to overturn his conviction. Ford’s attorney rejects the claims, and lawyers for the state insist that the “statement is unreliable and ‘contains several layers of hearsay.'”

The new allegation is just the latest in a series of legal troubles facing Ford. In May 2010, he was indicted on four counts of extortion and one count of lying to the FBI; he pleaded not guilty, was convicted on two of the four extortion charges and one charge of lying to the FBI in October and will be sentenced in February. In addition, two death row inmates recently petitioned for new evidence to be brought to their appeals. Ford was lead investigator on both cases.

The Norfolk Four’s story was told in our film The Confessions. You can also read our comprenensive timeline for more about the twists and turns of the case.

Update: On Dec. 22, 2010, a judge rejected the appeals of the two death row inmates mentioned above.

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