Although writing to public servants about wrongful convictions has been on my gotta do/don’t wanna do list for over ten years, practice hasn’t made the process perfect. Not even close. Today’s effort was particularly clumsy, likely because I’m up against an unknown deadline for something that may not even be taking place to begin with, despite news reports … the reinvestigation of Gina Hall’s no-body homicide, for which Stephen Epperly was convicted in 1980.
I apologize for the more confusing sentences in my email to Radford City Police Department Lieutenant Andy Wilburn regarding that investigation. When edit after edit tends to make matters increasingly worse, and the pressure is on over an unknown number of related, standing convictions, I just hit “send” when I fear I’ll miss a window of opportunity to speak up.
Pdf’d documents that were referred to are available by request via comment, and will likely help clear away some of the confusion.
From: Susan Chandler
Date: May 18, 2014 2:25:32 PM EDT
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, ASKDOJ <email@example.com>, Tampa Division <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com, Scott Open Government <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Seth Miller <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: Stephen Epperly’s conviction for Gina Hall’s (no-body) homicide, achieved with charlatan dog handler John Preston’s perjuries
Lieutenant Andy Wilburn
Radford City Police Department
Dear Lieutenant Wilburn,
Per the WDBJ7 attached link below, it is my understanding that you are reinvestigating Stephen Epperly’s 1980 conviction, and seeking information.
As you know, charlatan dog handler John Preston testified against Stephen Epperly. I began advocating for Preston’s perjury victims in 2004, with letters to then-Florida Governor Jeb Bush on Wilton’s Dedge’s behalf. Mr. Dedge was DNA-exonerated in Brevard County later that year.
I continued advocating, writing letters to then-Florida Governor Charlie Crist as well as federal agencies, realizing that Preston had testified nationwide, claiming participation in 1,000 criminal investigations. William Dillon was DNA-exonerated in Brevard County in 2008, but then, in 2009, all involved parties – including prominent innocence organizations – reverted to pretending that all Preston matters were resolved, which bears no relationship to the truth.
In addition to the DNA in Wilton Dedge and William Dillon’s exonerations, Preston was discredited by an actual perpetrator in Dale Sutton’s Ohio federal conviction in 1982. Preston was discredited by the skill testing conducted by Brevard County, Florida Judge Gilbert Goshorn resulting in Juan Ramos being acquitted at retrial in 1987. Florida has compensated Mr. Dedge and Mr. Dillon with millions of dollars for their combined 49+ years of wrongful incarceration in general population, Florida has likely spent more than Juan Ramos is entitled to by law for his five years on death row – $250,000 – to keep another Preston perjury story out of the news, aside from all parties acting in concert, including the media to keep Gary Bennett’s 30-year-old Brevard/Preston frame-up out of the news.
When Gary was framed in 1984, the public defenders and the local media well aware that Preston had been discredited in Dale Sutton’s federal case. Brevard’s comfort in framing Gary with Preston was apparently based on the knowledge that the FBI would protect them, as they were involved in using Preston in an adjacent county – Orange – to convict Linroy Bottoson.
To my knowledge, Stephen Epperly’s conviction was the only one that troubled Preston. For the Roanoke Times, Preston said he may have followed the wrong scent trail. As Preston – per Judge Goshorn’s skill test – could not track scent at all, Preston’s statement to the Roanoke Times signaled that he regretted participating in convicting Epperly. As you know, there was prosecutorial misconduct of record in Epperly’s case.
Bill King and Robin Robinson’s testimony against Epperly did not strike me as credible in that they apparently did nothing while someone made himself ridiculously at home in King’s parent’s vacation home. There is extensive physical evidence to DNA test in the case, and every reason to test it unless both Bill King and Robin Robinson are as short as Gina Hall was, making it unnecessary for either one of them to move her car seat back to relocate her vehicle away from the crime scene, and likely very far away from her body.
You could grill me forever and I wouldn’t be able to tell you where Gina Hall’s body is, because I don’t know. I suspect the same holds true for Stephen Epperly. It may not be true for Bill King and Robin Robinson.
There is extensive information about Preston on my blog (link below). The blog posts are backed by news articles when available as well as extensive communications concerning Preston not only with Florida public officials dating back to Jeb Bush’s administration, but with federal public officials dating back to his brother George’s administration. Among many other issues, the correspondence expressed outrage over Gary Bennett’s Brevard case being transferred to Orange County prosecutors (as use of Preston in that circuit was but one taint on the transfer), and outrage over Gary’s evidence arriving at Orchid Cellmark in even more suspicious condition that William Dillon’s had two years earlier. Judge W. David Dugan was presiding over both hearings and was unconcerned that William’s evidence arrived unsealed but testable in 2008, and Gary’s had arrived sealed but untestable in 2010, with the evidence in both cases roughly the same age, and with Orchid Cellmark having the ability to “expand” DNA in 2008.
Below the links I’ve described above is an email to Neil Harvey, a Roanoke Times reporter and coauthor of a screenplay about Gina Hall’s homicide, titled Hazel Hollow. It covers many of the same topics I’ve addressed, and provides material that substantiates some of them. The email was written prior to my learning of former Florida legislator/governor/U.S. Senator Bob Graham’s 1984 hands-on involvement in falsely reestablishing Preston’s credibility in Orange County for the purposes of keeping Brevard County frame-ups intact, with the taint of Linroy Bottoson’s prosecution already present. While a U.S. Senator, Graham served on the Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee for ten years. It is that committee’s responsibility to ensure that intelligence agencies adhere to their mandates, including the FBI’s mandate to ensure that public corruption does not affect trial outcomes, including public corruption that ensures upward mobility, like Jeff Ashton’s Orange County rise from prosecutor to State Attorney and Norm Wolfinger’s rise from Brevard public defender – including Gary Bennett’s public defender – to State Attorney.
I ask that you reinvestigate Gina Hall’s homicide with public safety uppermost in your mind, Lieutenant Wilburn. No one is safe when innocents serve killers’ time. Thank you for your time, I look forward to your response.
From: Susan Chandler
Date: November 24, 2013 5:14:03 AM EST
Cc: ASKDOJ <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Tampa Division <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Seth Miller <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, John Torres <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Is your screenplay falsely portraying John Preston as credible and Stephen Epperly guilty beyond a doubt for Gina Hall’s no-body homicide?
Dear Mr. Harvey,
I am writing yet again in regards to your and your attorney-sister Heather Harvey’s apparent intent to profit with your Hazel Hollow by misleading the public about charlatan dog handler John Preston’s capabilities, as well as other dark clouds on Stephen Epperly’s conviction for Gina Hall’s no-body homicide. While you can remove my comments from your Facebook page, you cannot remove an email from my sent folder.
Again, I remind you that the very newspaper you work for published Preston’s expressed doubts – at least twice – about whether he’d followed the correct scent in “investigating” Ms. Hall’s homicide (below).
And I again remind you that Preston could not track scent to begin with … beyond all doubt.
If memory serves, I’d previously apprised you that: 1) Preston was discredited by the actual perpetrator of a federal crime in December of 1982, resulting in Dale Sutton being freed the following month, 2) Preston was discredited again in Brevard County, Florida in 1987 when Judge Gilbert Goshorn skill-tested Preston and found he could track nothing, resulting in Juan Ramos acquitted at retrial and release from death row, 3) Preston was yet again discredited in Brevard County – twice over – by DNA, resulting in Wilton Dedge and William Dillon’s exonerations, in 2004 and 2008, respectively, 4) there was egregious prosecutorial misconduct in Stephen Epperly’s Preston-tainted trial (below), just as there was egregious prosecutorial misconduct in the convictions of Juan Ramos, Wilton Dedge and William Dillon.
Gary Bennett is facing a 30th anniversary of his 1984 Brevard/Preston frame-up, although: 1) a Palm Bay Police Department vice cop was allowed to lead the homicide investigation despite his landlord/tenant (and possibly intimate) relationship to the victim, and suspiciously did not interview the likeliest suspects, (including a son-in-law who admittedly habitually coerced sexual favors from the slain woman), nor did he look for multiple suspects to match to the multiple murder weapons, 2) the local media, prosecutors, public defenders, and law enforcement officers all knew about Preston being discredited in Sutton’s case 13 months prior to Gary’s trial, per the January 30, 1984 Sentinel article, “Legal foes differ on value of dogs nose” (below).
At least two men have been wrongly executed over Preston’s lies, serial confessor (per several Daytona officers’ sworn statements) Gerald Stano in 1998 and schizophrenic Linroy Bottoson in 2002. Bottoson’s prosecution in Orange County, adjacent to Brevard – like Sutton’s case – involved feds. Feds also used DNA-discredited dog handler Keith Pikett and other charlatans, and their own scent dogs have a high failure rate. Well over 3,000 criminal investigations are clouded by discredited dog handlers, within feds knowledge. Bottoson’s case incurably tainted the transfer of Gary Bennett’s prosecution to the same circuit, which was arranged with improper conditions, and ex parte judicial inference was not reported to any authority.
There is likely evidence to DNA test in Stephen Epperly’s case, and if it matches Epperly – which will surprise me, given Preston’s perjuries, documented misconduct and flaky witness testimony – he may well relent and tell Ms. Hall’s family where her body is. And if the DNA doesn’t match Epperly, it might match someone in the federal database, someone who might reveal where the body is.
I’ve been mired in Brevard/Preston-peripheral corruption since 2001, which keeps my life in obvious danger. Alissa Blanton lost her life to that peripheral corruption, and former Florida Today crime reporter Jennifer Ellis Seitz may have died from that corruption, too. Ellis-Seitz not only knew about Brevard’s Preston frame-ups, but of Crosley Green, Jeff Abramowski’s and likely other unrelated frame-ups, and was returning to newspaper work after a long hiatus on the heels of William Dillon’s exoneration. Every Christmas day, I think of her fall from the Norwegian Pearl cruiseship, and know that the runaround the FBI gave me about the results of their “investigation” likely means they didn’t conduct one.
As you are a part of the Roanoke Times “Public Safety/Business Team” and described as the “Reporter covering state courts,” publishing Roanoke Times’ pictures of John Preston on your Hazel Hollow promotional sites can only ethically herald another Preston exposé. As an attorney, your sister seems bound strictly to co-authoring another Preston exposé or nothing at all, too.
Please let me know – Monday – what it is that you and your sister are doing, Mr. Harvey. Thank you.