How Va. prosecutors got 2 high-profile ‘no body’ murder convictions | WTOP
One of the most compelling witnesses was John Preston and his tracking dog. It was the first time in Virginia’s history that dog tracking evidence was allowed in court.
After being scented on a pair of Epperly’s underwear, the dog, named Harass II, led Preston — a retired Pennsylvania State Trooper — and detectives on a search for clues, starting at the spot where Hall’s abandoned car had been located.
My sole kidney is being cranky again, so I’m just going to copy and paste what I posted to my “Gary Bennett is Innocent” Facebook page earlier today in response to the above-linked tripe:
Like Gannett’s Florida Today in reporting on Gary, Hubbard’s WTOP News is shy on facts when reporting on Stephen Epperly. Like Gary, Stephen’s conviction was achieved using the perjured testimony of phony dog handler #JohnPreston, who was discredited in July of 1982 by the confessions of #JuliusManning to a series of crimes … one of Manning’s confessions unequivocally cleared #DaleSutton, who was serving time based on Preston’s perjuries. Sutton was released from FEDERAL custody in January of 1983, a year before Gary’s trial.
Back to Stephen … John Preston himself stated – for publication in the The Roanoke Times – that he wasn’t certain he had tracked the correct scent trail in Gina Hall’s homicide investigation. As Preston wasn’t capable of tracking scent, it was an admission that of all the hundreds of investigations he’d participated in/mucked up, Stephen’s alone was playing on his conscience – tiny as that conscience was. Perhaps this was because (in addition to Gina Hall’s body never being found), there was prosecutorial misconduct of record, and the “witness” testimony of record was nonsensical. Although much mention has been made of bloody evidence by different news source, no statements have been secured by reporters from police or prosecutors about any efforts to secure DNA testing. It has also apparently become inconvenient for the media to state that Stephen was long ago offered a sentence reduction for telling authorities where Ms Hall’s body was. He instead maintained his innocence.
In this New Year, I hope that reporters will work very hard on expanding their Preston-sized consciences, because there are likely hundreds of innocents behind bars based on the perjured testimony of dog handlers that the FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation used, like Preston and #KeithPikett.
The FBI is tasked with investigating and seeking indictments for public servants who – under #ColorOfLaw – commit the civil rights crime of #FailureToKeepFromHarm. While the FBI has admitted to some of the #FauxForensics they’ve used, for the most part, the FBI continues to settle for looking good, instead of doing good – which isn’t the job description, and is itself an example of Failure to Keep From Harm … merely looking good keeps killers free to kill again and rapists free to rape again, while innocents serve their time.