On Monday, 19 April, I met with a private investigator in Columbus, Ohio who had been successful in obtaining the police file on the crime for which Michael was convicted. Some of the copies are unreadable and I'm sure there are things missing. For example, there was a witness who testified in court who must also have been interviewed during the course of the investigation, but there's no paperwork on that. There is, however, a lot of other interesting paperwork.
I'm hesitant to post any particulars because I wouldn't want to give anyone a specific heads-up - if we are ever able to have the PI or Ohio Innocence Project conduct some interviews - about what it is we find suspicious. Let's just say that I was shocked at some of the information that is contained in the file that never came out in trial.
Right now we're at kind of a standstill as I'm not in a position to travel to Ohio and hope that people will talk to me, yet neither can I afford to hire the PI to do the work. But, I'm going to keep trying to get the word out - maybe some benefactor will come along who wants to make a donation in the name of justice. As you'll see, with the "button" to the right, there's now a way to contribute to these efforts. Unfortunately, we're not in a position - at least not at this point - to file for tax exempt status. Thus, donations are not tax deductible. But, every little bit helps and is appreciated more than words can say.
I visited with Michael for six and half hours on 22 April. I think he's having a hard time right now. He had a conflict over the art room and is, as I understand, banned for 30 days. I think his art is a major part of what keeps him going so that's hard for him. Then, he has a parole hearing next month. He was meeting with the psychologist and was told that there was something in his history that wasn't true. He didn't handle it well. I think he also wonders if she didn't just say that to gauge his reaction. He's going to try to follow up with the warden.
He knows that he'll be denied parole again so it's not that he's hopeful. He's been denied six or seven times because, as you might know, if you don't "accept responsibility for your crime," you won't get paroled. And, as an innocent person, Michael can't accept responsibility for Henry Cordle's death. The big question, I think, is whether his next parole date will be 2012 or 2015. He was getting two year "flops," but, as I understand it, last time, they made it five years. So, between the art room, the conflict with the psychologist, and the upcoming hearing, I think he's a bit more stressed than usual.
I shared the contents of the police file with him and, suffice it to say, he, too, was shocked by some of the contents. It's hard knowing that there are leads to pursue, but that we're just not in a position to do that right now. And, of course, even if we get really good material, the hurdle to getting him a hearing is quite high. But, one step at a time.
So, that's about it. I'm still on the road, but when I have a chance I'll scan a current photo of Michael and add it to the blog.
Please - whether you're family, friends, prison volunteers, or you just stumbled upon this blog because it came up in a search - spread the word. Michael has been incarcerated since he was eighteen years, six months, and twenty-eight days of age. He turned fifty last June. He never should have been incarcerated for this crime. It's time to find a way to exonerate him.