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Archive for Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Man seeks reversal of conviction in ‘74 slaying

April 4, 2012

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— A former school janitor serving life in prison for the 1974 killing of a 13-year-old Johnson County girl is seeking to have his conviction thrown out over what he says was judicial error at his second trial for the slaying.

John Henry Horton, 64, was in a Johnson County courtroom Tuesday, where a judge listened to testimony from several witnesses. Several others, including former Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline, were expected to testify in May before the judge rules on whether to reverse Horton's conviction, The Kansas City Star reported.

Horton was convicted in 2004 and again in 2008 of killing Lizabeth Wilson, who disappeared while walking to her Prairie Village home from a swimming pool and who was last seen near the high school where Horton worked. Her remains were found later in a Lenexa field.

Horton was charged after Prairie Village police reopened the investigation and found a witness in 2002 who said Horton had used chloroform to knock her out and sexually molested her at around the time Lizabeth disappeared. Chloroform had been found in the trunk of Horton's car after Lizabeth's disappearance.

The Kansas Supreme Court threw out Horton's 2004 conviction after ruling that the testimony of the alleged chloroform victim should not have been allowed.

When Horton was tried again in 2008, the judge again allowed testimony about the alleged chloroform incident after prosecutors also presented evidence from two prison inmates who testified that Horton told them he killed the girl accidently after using chloroform so he could molest her.

After the case went to the jury, Horton's lawyers asked the judge to suspend deliberations so they could translate and analyze tapes of phone conversations in Spanish between one of those inmates and his mother. The defense contended that the inmate told his mother that a prison guard was recruiting the inmate to testify against Horton because of problems with another inmate witness.

The judge said he did not have the authority to stop the deliberations to allow the defense to present that additional evidence.

The Supreme Court later ruled that the judge had the authority to suspend deliberations and ordered another hearing to determine what the defense's proposed evidence would have been and if it was significant enough to throw out the conviction.

Among those who testified Tuesday was Bob Stephenson, a prison staffer who called Johnson County prosecutors when an inmate told him he had information about the Horton case. Stephenson said he did not feed information to the inmate about the case, and didn't know anyone else at the prison who would have done that.

The Spanish interpreter who was asked by Horton's lawyers to listen to tapes of recorded conversations testified Tuesday that she didn't remember specific information from the tapes or her conversations about them with Horton's lawyers.

Comments

UNIKU 2 years, 8 months ago

He should hire Carrie Neighbors as his attorney....

Number_1_Grandma 2 years, 8 months ago

Do tell UNIKU....what is your connection to Carrie Neighbors? You seem to comment frequently about her. A love affair? Scorned lover? Resentful cop maybe?

pace 2 years, 8 months ago

Cowards and bullies always resent anyone with courage.

pace 2 years, 8 months ago

you are a fool if you think standing up to the police and court system and not pleaing out didn't take courage. They really don't like perps to do that. I never thought Carrie was thoughtful or self aware but I thought it took guts for them to stand up for their selves. If you can't see that, it is because you don't look at things thoughtfully, it is all emotion for you. I do think the police and courts pulled a few tricks to get them extra good. The fire inspection with 8 firemen and two police officer was a bit creepy. That was on video. . I thought this city and the courts blew a lot of money making their point. I thought it showed a pretty seamy and egotistical side of the system. That case and several instances of petty bullying and unanswered crimes convinced me we needed a citizens review board.

pace 2 years, 8 months ago

What is sad is how you fill you life and opinion with hate. I have never said either side was totally in the right. I have a right to my opinion and my opinion is based on more than bias and denigration. I don't say the prosecution was corrupt, but something went wrong here with how our judicial system conducted themselves. It might not seem like courage to you for some person to stand up for themselves, for their right. I thought it took courage, I didn't think it was prudent or thought out well. One reason it might look different to me than you is, to me, it is important that even criminals have rights. You don't feel that way. You might not have experience. I consider your inability to adjudicate information sad. you consider my opinion of one aspect sad. You are welcome to your opinion, even if you are wrong.

pace 2 years, 8 months ago

If I misjudged how you felt or the quality of your thought process, feel free to prove me wrong. I am sorry you can't prove that I misjudged the quality of your reading and comprehension.

pace 2 years, 8 months ago

Since my comments were right above, why change my words? unless you are deluded and read and hear voices and can't tell the difference from what I wrote and your dancing interpretation.
Here is what I wrote "to me, it is important that even criminals have rights.",
Then you again change what I said which was " I thought this city and the courts blew a lot of money making their point." .

You then translated the gist of my discussion which was that " it took courage to stand up to the system and not plea out." to, and by you pretending I said that "criminals should make "false statements about cases" Hence my comment about your reading and comprehension level.

pace 2 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, I am imagining you can't take a dose of straight reality. You harp on about your obsessive hate and if anyone disagrees with any point you rant away. I am doing you the courtesy of addressing your points and you just denigrate. If you can't face that I asked "Why change my words?" You call me delusional. I quoted exactly what I said and then explained your reinterpretation was wrong. I don't mind people having a different view, I do mind when you change my words. Your argument is wrong. I am not saying you don't have a right to your view point, just be prepared that someone else also has their right to theirs. I repeat, Here is what I wrote "to me, it is important that even criminals have rights.", and I wrote " I thought this city and the courts blew a lot of money making their point." . I said " it took courage to stand up to the system and not plea out." you pretended I said that "criminals should make "false statements about cases" Hence my comment about your reading and comprehension level.

ksndn 2 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

ksndn 2 years, 8 months ago

Ok so I guess I'll try this again. This has nothing to do with Yellow House. It has all to do with an individual putting the fear of parents telling there kids to always look behind their backs. I went to SM East & seen this person almost daily. He has been judged. When he finally enters eternity, he will face his judgement.

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