Archive for Friday, October 12, 2012

Parole denied for suspect in 1985 rape

October 12, 2012


Intersecting lives: A serial rapist and an innocent man

Joe Jones, a Topeka man wrongfully convicted of a 1985 rape, and others involved with the case, talk about learning the true suspect's identity almost 27 years later. Enlarge video

The Kansas Prison Review Board has denied parole for at least three years to a Kansas inmate currently charged with a Topeka cold case rape for which another man spent seven years in prison.

Joel L. Russell, 46 — who is serving up to a life sentence in prison on several sex crimes committed in 1992 — was denied parole until at least June 2015, according to Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman Jeremy Barclay.

In April, Russell was identified by DNA evidence as a suspect in an unsolved 1985 Topeka rape. Another man, Joe Jones, had spent nearly seven years in prison for the crime before his exoneration by DNA evidence in 1992.

Russell was served an arrest warrant in April, and has been charged in Shawnee County with one count of rape in that case. Prosecutors, however, had to wait for Russell to file paperwork under the Uniform Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Act before the court case could proceed. Russell filed that paperwork earlier this month, and his next court date in Shawnee County is Nov. 1.

Russell is accused of kidnapping a Topeka woman at knifepoint on Aug. 24, 1985, and sexually assaulting her. Shortly after that crime occurred, Russell was arrested for three other crimes in which he used a knife and attempted to kidnap a woman in the downtown Topeka area. Russell was convicted on numerous charges in that case, but was released from prison in 1990. In 1993, Russell was convicted of sexually assaulting two girls in Reno County the previous year.


skinny 5 years, 7 months ago

Life in prison should be life in prison! Period!

marklperry 5 years, 7 months ago

Umm... what about the guy that spent seven years in prison for that crime he did not commit?

What about that? Someone stole seven years of his life. Where's the justice for that man?

Why don't we throw the prosecuter (yes, you read that correctly) in jail for seven years, and also the witness that said, "he did it".

Both of them need to be imprisoned. You can't give seven years back. NO amount of money will make it right, either. And if they did pay him for seven years, where did the money come from? Did it come from out of the prosecuter's check book and from the witnesses?

Certainly it would not come from the taxpayers, right?

ebyrdstarr 5 years, 7 months ago

Eyewitnesses are often mistaken in their identifications. But they are also well-intentioned. A mistaken eyewitness should not be imprisoned for being wrong.

paulveer 5 years, 7 months ago

These wrongful imprisonments nearly always happen due to prosecutorial misconduct. Coercion of witnesses, manipulation of evidence, and much more.

kansasredlegs 5 years, 7 months ago

@ebyrdstarr - I agree with your statement, but if true, why is a defendant not allowed to have an expert witness testify about the unreliability of "eye witness" testimony? For a great read on this subject, grab "Picking Cotton" about a man imprisoned for a rape he did not commit. Interestingly, the real rapist was actually at a court hearing for Mr. Cotton, but the "for sure" victim who made a point to memorize her attacker's face didn't even realize it when looking at him.

ebyrdstarr 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes, I've read the book. And I completely agree that defendants should be allowed to present those experts, but for some reason, the Kansas Supreme Court found in 1995 that such testimony wasn't admissible because it was well within the common knowledge and experience of jurors. Here's hoping the Court will eventually rethink that ruling some day.

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