The Confessions: One of the “Norfolk Four” Cleared of Rape/Murder Charges

Share:

Photo: Derek Tice's mugshot

August 4, 2011

Derek Tice, who was convicted of the 1997 rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko, is officially a free man after Norfolk Circuit Court Judge Charles Poston dropped two felony charges against him as recommended by special prosecutor D.J. Hansen, who originally tried the case. Tice claims he was convicted based on a confession coerced by then-Norfolk, Va. detective Robert Glenn Ford, who is now in jail on charges unrelated to the Norfolk Four case. In April, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Tice’s confession — the only evidence linking him to the crime — should have been thrown out of court. The state had until late August to re-file charges against him.

Tice’s complicated road to exoneration was profiled in our November 2010 film The Confessions, which investigated the problematic way Tice’s case — and the cases of three other men, a group known as the “Norfolk Four” — were handled by Virginia’s justice system. All four Navy men underwent long interrogations before breaking under pressure, admitting they took part in Moore-Bosko’s violent death. It wasn’t until 1999, after the Norfolk Four were incarcerated, that another inmate named Omar Ballard confessed that he committed the crime alone. Ballard’s DNA matched evidence found at the scene of Moore-Bosko’s death, while no physical evidence could connect the Norfolk Four to the crime.

“It’s a victory for me, but there’s still three other guys,” Tice said upon hearing the news. The guys, Joe Dick Jr., Eric Wilson and Danial Williams, have all filed appeals to the Virginia Supreme Court after a lower court dismissed earlier petitions in March.

Due to a conditional pardon by then-Gov. Tim Kaine 2009, the three men are no longer in prison but still have convictions on their records, meaning they are ineligible for some kinds of employment and required to register as sex offenders.


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

More Stories

The Supreme Court Has Overturned 'Roe v. Wade.' These Documentaries Show How We Got Here.
Overriding nearly five decades of legal precedent, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in the U.S. These documentaries offer context on how America reached this moment.
June 24, 2022
Why the Black Educator Forced Out Over Bogus Critical Race Theory Claims Wanted to Share Her Story
ProPublica reporter Nicole Carr explains why educator Cecelia Lewis was hesitant to speak to reporters about white parents forcing her out of her job and why she ultimately decided she had to.
June 18, 2022
White Parents Rallied to Chase a Black Educator Out of Town. Then, They Followed Her to the Next One.
Cecelia Lewis was asked to apply for a Georgia school district’s first-ever administrator job devoted to diversity, equity and inclusion. A group of parents — coached by local and national anti-CRT groups — had other plans.
June 16, 2022
THE PEGASUS PROJECT Live Blog: Major Stories from Partners
A curated and regularly updated list of news articles from our partners in “The Pegasus Project,” a collaborative investigation among 17 journalism outlets around the world.
June 14, 2022