As far back as I can remember, patterns have always jumped out at me, so much so that it took me years to realize they weren't as obvious for most everyone else. Patterns in wood or other material, patterns in numbers or while counting, music and most of all patterns in behavior. This search for patterns plays a big role in being so intrigued with criminal behavior (true crime) and being so passionate about advocating for wrongful conviction and other human rights issues.
In 2007 wrongful arrests and conviction was still fairly new to me. We followed a few cases and felt very strongly for those individuals but had no idea how bad it really was. That's the year Meredith Kercher was murdered in Perugia, Italy followed by Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito being arrested. Like most, mainstream media got our attention with the dramatics of an evil vixen over in a foreign country, killing her roommate during a ritualistic Halloween orgy. Then after learning more about the case, it dawned on me that the prosecutor in this case was the same prosecutor from the 'Monster of Florence' case and that was that. The moment the pattern appeared, the realization the two defendants were innocent did too. Is it possible a man had to battle monsters and demons once? We pride ourselves on keeping an open mind. Do we believe believe Giuliano Mignini is a real live Ghostbuster fighting the battle of good vs evil on a regular basis? A very troubled man with an overactive imagination is more like it but the fact of the matter is, his version was a lot more interesting and people love drama.
Mignini was charged and found guilty of ordering the illegal wiretapping of the phones of various police officers and journalists involved in the Monster of Florence case. This was later thrown out due to 'lack of jurisdiction' (?) It has also been proven that he used eerily similar investigation tactics in the Knox case, and still many continue to believe and even adore him.
Once the connection was made in the Amanda Knox case it became clear this wasn't uncommon, in fact it's everywhere. If you've ever studied criminology, you know that most criminals follow a pattern or ritual when committing their crimes. As it turns out, so do the over zealous, even crooked prosecutors, investigators and attorneys responsible for wrongful arrests and convictions. Mignini screams Satan and puts on a hell of a show while others have their own seemingly obvious pattern or style of shadiness, yet it seems to go unnoticed.
Commonwealths Attorney, Paul Ebert over in Prince William County, Virginia has his very own modus operandi. In many cases, his first plan of action is 'throw the book at them'. Ebert will charge a defendant being accused of even a minimal crime with outlandish, life changing, even unheard of charges and promise they will never see the light of day again. That is, of course, unless they decide to take a deal, just admit guilt and get one little felony or register as a sex offender and everything else will go away. A lot more innocent or overcharged take that deal than you could ever imagine, due to money, bad lawyer-ing or even fright.
Trey Simms, 17, is facing very adult charges for the manufacturing and distribution of pictures of his own underage penis (isn't that an oxymoron?). Investigators under Ebert were in the process of carrying out a warrant to inject Trey with drugs that would induce an erection so they could photograph his erect penis. This was halted when the case went national. Trey's aunt, Stacy Bigley, went straight to the media and refused any deals that were offered. We should all take note and Trey should be very thankful to have such a wise guardian. Stacy made it clear that she wouldn't rest until charges were dropped altogether.
Commonwealth of Virginia~ Destroying Young Lives One Sex Crime Charge at a Time
Police back off on plan to take explicit photo
Police decide to drop efforts to photograph teenager’s penis in sexting case
Those that dare pass up the deal and go to trial are sure to be faced with Ebert's ultimate signature move when they have their day in court.
The Jail House Snitch~
Ebert has no qualms about making a deal with jail house snitches looking for a reduction in their sentences in order to secure a conviction. This method of prosecution is used quite frequently among many other local district attorneys as well. In fact there was one very popular 'snitch' Jamaal Skeeter, who was used first in a major murder conviction trial by Ebert in 2009 and then passed all over the state of Virginia to testify in other separate trials. Prior to this inter-state courtroom excursion, Skeeter had been deemed a liar by his local authorities and turned down on previous offers to testify in earlier trials. This information had no bearing on Ebert's decision to use Skeeter during trial though, none at all.
Ebert also prosecuted Justin Wolfe's case and the actual admitted murderer took a deal and testified against Justin. Owen Barber was offered a fairly light sentence considering he admittedly killed the victim, and all he had to do was testify that Justin was his only link to Danny Petrole and the reason he killed him. Not only was Owen offered a lighter sentence, the charges his girlfriend was facing were completely thrown out too. Is there an admitted murderer of questionable character out there that wouldn't testify if faced with this deal?
Another pattern in Ebert's history as Commonwealths Attorney is his love for the death penalty. Ebert has sent more people to death row than any other prosecutor in Virginia history. Justin Wolfe was one of those until his conviction and sentence were vacated after a federal judge uncovered a mountain of wrongdoing and prosecutorial misconduct. Misconduct on the part of none other than yours truly, Commonwealths Attorney, Paul Ebert, yet this man remains in control and Justin Wolfe remains in solitary confinement waiting to find out what they will do with him next. Ebert's still calling the shots and his recent actions prove that being disgraced in Wolfe's case did not slow him down a bit.
After learning of so many unjust arrests and convictions here in Virginia, over in Italy and all over the country and world, we have one final thought. What really separates the criminals from these prosecutors? Sadly only one thing, accountability.
Advocate for Humans. Advocate for Rights. Advocate for Human Rights.