The Many Lies of Kevin Crane: The Brady Violations
Jerry Trump testified that he recognized Charles and Ryan in a newspaper article he received from his wife while he was in prison. This was a lie. Before the trial, the prosecutor's investigator, William Haws, interviewed Trump's wife Barbara, and she told him she had no memory of sending a newspaper article to her husband Jerry. Haws made no report of his conversation with Barbara Trump, and the information was never given to the defense. This prevented the defense from properly cross examining the prosecution's star witness at trial. Trump would later admit that he fabricated the story because he succumbed to the pressure of Crane.
In the end, it was the Barbara Trump Brady violation that vacated the conviction, but it was the recantations of Jerry Trump and Charles Erickson that prevented the state from pursuing a new trial. Without their testimony, the state had no case.
According to Ryan Ferguson's civil lawsuit, there were at least three other examples of material information that the State failed to disclose.
The Western District concluded:
"The additional undisclosed but plainly material statements that were late discovered by Ferguson demonstrates that the undisclosed Barbara Trump interview and the undisclosed prison contact with Trump that her interview might have permitted Ferguson to discover, were not isolated incidents. We cannot overlook the cumulative impression these nondisclosures create. We have already concluded that the undisclosed Barbara Trump interview was material, without regard to the additional nondisclosures. Any doubt on that point, however, would be resolved in favor of materiality in light of our cumulative consideration of all of the favorable evidence the State possessed, but failed to disclose."
Ryan Ferguson's father Bill Ferguson worked tirelessly to expose the lies that sent his son to prison for 40 years. for a crime he did not commit. The videos below were created by Bill Ferguson to highlight the many lies of Prosecutor Kevin Crane. The videos are very educational and are also infuriating.
The Many Lies of Kevin Crane: Hair in the Victim's Hand
What was Prosecutor Kevin Crane's motivation?
Why did Prosecutor Crane's office withhold crucial evidence from the defense? Why did Crane pressure witnesses to change their stories to fit his theory of the crime, regardless of the truth?
Maybe it was Crane's ambition to become a judge. At the time of Charles and Ryan's arrest, Crane was a District Attorney, ambitious to become a judge. After securing wrongful convictions against Charles and Ryan, in a case that Columbia residents desperately wanted solved, Crane became a Boone County Judge, taking over the seat vacated by Ryan’s trial judge, Ellen Roper.
Former prosecutor Kevin Crane
The Brady Rule, named for Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), requires prosecutors to disclose materially exculpatory evidence in the government's possession to the defense. "Brady material" or evidence the prosecutor is required to disclose under this rule includes any evidence favorable to the accused-- evidence that goes towards negating a defendant's guilt, that would reduce a defendant's potential sentence, or evidence going to the credibility of a witness.
If the prosecution does not disclose material exculpatory evidence under this rule, and prejudice has ensued, the evidence will be suppressed. The evidence will be suppressed regardless of whether the prosecutor knew the evidence was in his or her possession, or whether or not the prosecutor intentionally or inadvertently withheld the evidence from the defense. The defendant bears the burden of proving that the undisclosed evidence was material, and the defendant must show that there is a reasonable probability that there would be a difference in the outcome of the trial had the evidence been disclosed by the prosecutor.
The Brady violations that have been highlighted in the Ryan Ferguson case pertain to Charles Erickson as well. These tactics show clearly that the police had all of the evidence available to them to show that Charles Erickson was innocent. Shawna Ornt stated that she did not see Charles in the parking lot. Her statements were suppressed. By George employees stated that the club closed at 1:30 am. Those statements were suppressed. Dallas Mallory told police that he did not see Charles downtown on the night of the murder. His statements were suppressed. Jerry Trump's wife provided information to discredit her husband's statements. Her statements were suppressed.
If the police investigating this case had any interest in finding the truth, they would have looked at the totality of the evidence and concluded that Charles Erickson was not involved. They would have realized that his coerced statements were completely fabricated. Instead, they worked diligently to hide all evidence that proved his innocence, just as they did to Ryan.
The Many Lies of Kevin Crane: Chuck Erickson Photo(2008 Hearing)