Free Daniel Gwynn, an innocent man on Death Row

“Mr. Gwynn was convicted of first degree murder, arson and aggravated assault in 1995. The primary evidence against him was an incriminating police-written statement that he signed. In this statement Mr. Gwynn is supposed to have started the fire at that killed Marcia Smith, one of the six homeless residents there, who refused to jump out of a third floor residence. The other five residents survived. Two of the residents testified that on the day before the fire they had an altercation with someone known as ‘Rick’ who fought with them for seventy minutes before being forced to flee the residence and threatened revenge. The five homeless residents told police that they believed ‘Rick” had to have started the fire – even though they did not see who started the fire.”


(According to Prof. Leo, “There is no objective record of what occurred and therefore no way of ruling out that Mr. Gwynn was not educated about those facts that he got correct, a phenomenon known as ‘contamination’ that is not uncommon in police interrogations, especially those leading to false confessions.”)

•  no non-public crime facts that were not already known to the detective.

•  not independently corroborated by any physical, medical or other credible evidence.

•  not a single fact (actions before and after the fire) that was ever corroborated.

•   the confession contains factual errors that reveal a lack of knowledge about basic crime scene facts as well as a description of events that would have been physically impossible and gets basic details of the building wrong.

•  the confession contains statements that contradict or are not supported by existing physical and testimonial evidence.

 •  the confession is internally inconsistent, as it gives three accounts on how the fire was started and it’s clear that the detectives moved from an incorrect account back to a correct account.

 •   no record of any police investigation of the crime after taking the statement, to confirm any of the details to corroborate the very vague confession.


•  In August 1993 a homeless squatter named Glenn Taylor was beaten to death at the very same building Mr Gwynn is convicted of burning down.

 •  The same people who later survived the fire were critical eyewitnesses in the Taylor murder case.

 •  The witnesses had identified another man as “Rick” numerous times under oath in the Taylor murder case.

 •  The defendants from the Taylor case had threatened to have the witnesses killed if they did not stay quiet about the Taylor murder.

 •  The prosecution and the police were all aware of these threats and did not inform the Mr Gwynn's legal team

•  The witnesses testified against the defendants at the Taylor murder trial three days before the fire in Mr Gwynn's case.

 •  Another prosecution witness to the Taylor murder (who was not a victim of the fire in mr Gwynn's case) was a victim of a strikingly similar arson after Mr Gwynn was incarcerated.

 •  Numerous other fires had been intentionally set in that building in between the time of the Taylor murder case and this fatal fire.

 •  The prosecution knowingly presented false evidence that Mr Gwynn had engaged in a confrontation with the victims the day before the fire. The prosecution were aware that the victims meant the “Rick” from the Glenn Taylor case.

 •  The prosecution also made knowing, false representations to the court when they asserted that the victims had told the police that the person they had fought with was included as a filler in the photographic arrays from the Taylor murder investigation. There is no such record of that statement by the victims. The photo arrays from the Taylor murder investigation and from Mr Gwynn's case cannot be found. If the Taylor murder investigation’s photo arrays cannot be found, how were the police able to determine that Mr Gwynn was a filler in that photo array and the likely suspect for this arson/murder?

 •  The prosecution did not disclose evidence of Lorrain Irby reporting to the police that she had been threatened with death if she cooperated with the investigation of Taylor’s death. Less that four months after her testimony the building where she was staying caught fire and the fire marshal determined that the fire was deliberately set.

 •  The prosecution failed to mention that a witness testified that he was offered money to stop Lorraine Irby from testifying in the Taylor murder trial and to provide information on how to locate Ms. Irby.
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