Gina Hall’s 1980 murder becomes the subject of new book
Since 2007, [Radford Police Lt. Andy] Wilburn has been chasing down new and old tips, combing old case files, doing interviews and searching sites where [Gina] Hall’s remains might lie. He’s enlisted experts in forensic archaeology and ground penetrating radar. He’s brought in forensic investigators, cadaver dogs and even psychics.
Roanoke Times reporter Tonia Moxley could and should have pulled the rug out from under Radford police Lieutenant Andy Winburn’s bogus reinvestigation of Gina Hall’s no-body homicide.
Even minimal nailed-to-her-chair research would have turned up the fact that Stephen Epperly was convicted based on the perjured testimony of phony scent tracker John Preston, who had been federally discredited by an actual perpetrator (Julius Manning) clearing Preston’s victim (Dale Sutton) in July of 1982, discredited by a judge who skill-tested him (Gilbert Goshorn) in 1987, and discredited by DNA twice, in 2004 and 2008, in the same Florida county that Judge Goshorn served – Brevard.
Ms. Moxley would have found all that and much more right here on this blog, including my well-founded disputes not only with Lt. Wilburn, but with Roanoke Times reporter Neil Harvey and his attorney/sister Heather Harvey, who were cashing in on their screenplay, Hazel Hollow, in which they pretended that Stephen Epperly’s conviction was justice, rather than an obscenity. On this blog, Ms. Moxley might even have found out that the name of the prosecutor who likely used John Preston to fool juries more often than any other prosecutor shares her last name … John Dean Moxley of Brevard County.
Cashing in on pretending frame-ups were legitimate is nothing new. For profit, investigator Paul Crow pretended the false confessions he solicited from Gerald Stano that led to his being fried alive in Old Sparky were legitimate. Florida’s Supreme Court knew that Preston was a phony, that there was no forensic evidence against Gerald, that several Daytona officers swore that Gerald was a serial confessor and that Paul Crow was a liar, that the first ghostwriter that Crow hired to capitalize on framing Gerald agreed with the Daytona officers on-the-record, that the coached jailhouse informant had confessed to being coached not only to testify against Gerald, but Wilton Dedge.
Not-really-news in newspapers about frame-ups isn’t unique, either. Word on Twitter tonight is that Gannett newspapers – USA Today, Florida Today, Tallahassee Democrat, Detroit Free Press, etc. (which all seem to specialize in obscuring the facts of matters), may be facing a hostile takeover by Digital First Media. Given their specious reporting on frame-ups, I’m short on sympathy. As concerns the Roanoke Times, I’m curious as to why its reporting continued to be as specious on Stephen Epperly’s conviction after Berkshire Hathaway’s relatively recent takeover – it runs against Warren Buffett’s carefully constructed (oft-seen-on-PBS) brand as one of the very few “good” billionaires.
There are good, fierce reporters out there, but you’ll find more of them on Twitter than you will in the mainstream media … or on bookstore shelves. Finding a couple journalists who speak truth-to-power consistently can keep you from despairing. Happy hunting, folks.