Lawyers Push for New Appeal for Three of the “Norfolk Four”


September 1, 2011

Danial Williams, Joseph Dick (pictured right) and Eric Wilson (left) — three of four men who falsely confessed to a rape and murder they did not commithave taken their quest to clear their names to the Virginia Supreme Court.

This new legal move comes about a month after the fourth person charged in the crime, Derek Tice, was fully exonerated after a court threw out his confession as evidence.

A fifth man, Omar Ballard, later confessed to the 1997 rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko; his was the only DNA found at the crime scene. Ballard pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to two life terms in prison.

The basis for the latest appeal, which was originally rejected by a Norfolk Circuit Court judge in March, stems from the unrelated corruption conviction of then-Det. Robert Glenn Ford, who interrogated the Norfolk Four — interrogations that the men say were coerced and led them to make false confessions. Lawyers for the three men also say they have evidence that Ford admitted to the Norfolk Four’s innocence; according to The Washington Times, this new evidence can only be heard if court revives the appeal.

Williams and Dick were given conditional pardons by then-Gov. Tim Kaine in 2009; this means that, although they’re free from prison, Moore-Bosko’s rape and murder is still on their criminal records. Both must register as sex offenders and are ineligible for certain types of employment. Eric Wilson was convicted of rape only and served his entire 8-and-a-half year sentence, thus making him ineligible for the partial pardon. He also must register as a sex offender.

The Virginia Supreme Court is expected to rule on the appeal in about a month.

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus