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DNA Evidence Should Free Oregon Inmate Terrence Kimble from PrisonTim King Salem-News.com
Screaming for the justice due an innocent man is sometimes a reporter's place.
(SALEM, Ore.) - A great deal has been written about false convictions in America. The good news is that the advent of DNA to positively pinpoint details in police investigations, has allowed law enforcement to enter a new era; scientifically identifying those tied to crime scenes, and at the same time eliminating those who were not.
That is, unless you happen to be in Lane County, Oregon.
Terrence Kimble was tried and convicted of sex abuse against a child ten years ago. The girl was 13 years old at the time of the alleged offense. Former prison guard William Coleman knew Kimble in the Oregon prison system.
Coleman said, "Inmate Kimble is in prison on false accusations. Criminal charges that were brought against him that were false. One thousand percent false, and we have the documents to prove that, and he should be released any time soon, I'm pushing for that."
The smoking gun in this case is one that many would consider indisputable; a report from the Oregon State Police Forensic Laboratory clearly stating that there is not a DNA match.
The prosecutor, Robert Lane, tried very hard to convict Kimble of first-degree Rape. The judge clearly states on the record that he would probably have found Kimble guilty of the more serious crime. Again: first-degree Rape. The doctor who examined the victim, 13-year old Danielle McDaniel, said there had been no sexual contact. In fact it was stated that the girl had never had sex at all.
"It's very outrageous", Coleman said. "It just goes to show you what is going on in the state of Oregon. It has been going on for years, and the justice department is allowing this to happen. These things need to be reviewed, not just by the court system, but by the governor; by people in power that have the power to make these rulings when the person is completely one thousand percent innocent."
I ask, "And how long has he been incarcerated?"
"He's been incarcerated around ten years now, about ten years, for a crime he didn't commit."
Kimble was convicted in Eugene, Oregon, in a Lane County court, where verdicts against black black inmates sometimes leave many questions.
We covered the case of Darrel Sky Walker, an African-American student convicted in the death of a Portland judge's son who died as a result of a fistfight. Key witnesses said a white man named JD Beall threw the fatal punch, but Walker was convicted.
Coleman says Terrence Kimble is an innocent man.
I asked Coleman, "And when you worked at the prison, you had a feeling about this guy didn't you? That he might not be guilty?"
He replied, "I felt that he wasn't guilty for the crime they claimed happened. I didn't see that in him by just observing him, I didn't see that, but come to find out now that this guy is one thousand percent innocent, it's crazy. It is just unbelievable that the system would stoop so low to bring this man down, but then they brought me down the same way, there is nothing surprising."
The story is still coming together. It seems clear that the girl did make an initial accusation of rape against Kimble and the accusation involved a knife and torn panties.
But no torn panties were produced at the trial, and the medical reports stated that the girl had not engaged in sexual activity.
Coleman responded by saying, "So the rebellious child decided she wanted him out of her life because she decided to, he's the man of the house and he said, 'No, you stay home' or, 'No, you can't go nowhere' - so she got with her friends and they collaborated this bogus situation about Kimble and the state bought the whole situation."
I stated, "Even though the young lady bringing the case, after she had been talked to by the doctor said that there had been basically no act."
"She said there had been no sexual contact, over and over and over, but the state said, 'yes there has' - but documents prove that nothing happened," Coleman answered.
William Coleman is a survivor. He reported racism as an Oregon prison guard and discovered huge levels of corruption.
I clarified with William, "You were charged with 15 counts of smuggling cigarettes and this is the gentleman who went in... talk to me about a couple of the things he revealed during your court case."
He replied, "Well in that court case, inmate Kimble, he let the world know, he let the jury know, that the state police and other state officials were pushing briberies out, trying to get the inmates to buy, not buy but give them TV's and give them things for pleasure, to lie on me. He let the court know that, he let the court know that they were trying to get him to lie on me about other drugs that were brought into the institution. He let the jury know, and the court know that their goal was to destroy me with lies and slander, and that's just what he did."
I asked Coleman to confirm his amazing success fighting the case against him, "And the outcome of that trial was a unanimous not guilty verdict on all counts for you."
He replied, "Yes, and thanks to Kimble's testimony, I do believe it helped, he helped show the corruption on a high level, from state police, from state officials, the IA (internal affairs); all of them that collaborated their ideas together to try and destroy me- only because I blew the whistle on hate crimes and corruption in the prison system. And that was their retaliation, to destroy me, and discredit me, and they did that."
It was the DNA evidence, combined with testimony from the 13-year-old girl's family who testified on behalf of Kimble, that convinced Coleman.
"When I first started reading about Kimble's innocence, it blew me away, because of the injustice that is in this system today. From my experience, and just to see that inmate Kimble is in the same situation, so I just think that it is time to let Kimble out of this prison system."
Coleman believes Kimble is likely the reason he didn't get tossed in prison for many years, on trumped up charges.
"Kimble was my only witness that spoke the truth about the corruption that went on inside the prison system."
In the end, the entire case does not contain testimony from the victim. We know that she told relatives and her doctor that she was not raped, but still police moved the case forward.
"True, this young lady never admitted that she was sexually assaulted by inmate Kimble," he said.
The problems and inconsistencies Coleman observed in the Oregon State Prison, he believes, are widespread and varied. Kimble's case is a priority now. Interestingly, even though Kimble was ultimately not convicted of raping the girl, only charges of Sex Abuse, he was sent to prison for 19 years. 19 years. His attorney at the time, James Rice, who today is an attorney with the city of Portland, Oregon, says sentences of that length are typically reserved for cases involving egregious circumstances.
Coleman agrees, saying it is time for the government to take the high road and clean up the state prison system of corruption.
"I think the governor is going to have to step in and get Kimble out of this prison system, because the fact is that he is one thousand percent innocent. And they all know that. The thing is, who has the integrity to get this man out of prison"
"Besides you?", I asked
"Yeah besides myself, I am going to do what I need to do to see this man get his justice."
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