I want to thank everyone who has supported us in our efforts to achieve progress in my bid to right many wrongs littering the documents outlining my case. This has been a group effort, from those who researched documents and procedures to those who made calls to ask questions, each played a valuable part needed to get us to this point. The decision we got from the Arkansas Supreme Court, while disappointing in that an opportunity was denied to change an unjust outcome, still leads us forward, one step closer, towards a just and compassionate conclusion. [read more of my legal fight]
For those who are unaware of the process, as I was for so long, one must seek to allow the state to address issues being brought up on appeal. You allow the circuit court and state courts to weigh the merits of your claims and then, based on the response, decide where to go from there. We didn’t expect more than what we have gotten, but what we have gotten is far more than what had been done before.
My family tried to get the assistance of several attorneys over the first few years of my incarceration, and they either saw nothing (or refused to see anything) to appeal or wanted them to pay a sum that would take their life savings or home to cover. When you consider that the original judge in my case checked out the original case file and never returned it, we have been fighting for years just to find enough to fight with and prove our merits by recreating my file. While I respect the Justices and their role in our system, we have to respectfully disagree with their opinion and views.
As a victim of a lifetime of sexual abuse by my Boy Scout leader, Jack Walls, it saddens me that in today’s world a system can ignore the impact of that abuse and blame the victim for not being able to process it. It grieves me that in the world of #metoo, where class action lawsuits fill the media for sexual abuse by Scout leaders and Priests, that I am blamed for not doing what countless other victims can’t – speaking before courage allows them to.
We knew that the writ was a stretch, yet what other options were available considering the efforts to undermine any correction of the errors and issues? We believed that the grounds that were brought up more than proved fundamental errors and, if not in a court that still possess many of the same agents, a different outcome could have been had. We still believe that we are seeking justice under compelling circumstances, and that my abuse abnormally impacted normal reasoning, Walls coerced the guilty plea from within the case on all sides, Larry Cook knew of the abuse and manipulation to kill within the Hogan case, my minister knew of my mother catching Walls raping me in our home weeks before my family’s deaths, and we now have third-party confession material to show Jack’s masterminding the crimes. We disagree that a lack of either competency hearing or plea hearing can be justified by saying they could be adverse to my defense.
Our question remains that if the abuse and the actions of my abuser to hide that abuse were suppressed, how can any court say that such would not have changed the outcome of the case? Yes, it was a trial error, and one of many that occurred and cry out for acknowledgement. We did not merely allege that the prosecutor withheld evidence, but we showed clearly in the Hogan case that Larry Cook was willing to ignore the facts to justify not charging a child rapist and solicitor of murder.
As for disclosing to my attorney about Rev. Marble’s unauthorized visits, after my attorney, Edgar Thompson, conducted meetings at our church and with my abuser, who was I suppose to share this with? Even worse, Thompson told me to keep such information “under my hat” as it wasn’t important. If this same attorney ignored Jack’s presence along with a statement shared about his wanting me to kill, then why would my sharing inform the defense more?
It seems that a victim’s silence speaks louder than the collective failures of a group of trained professionals of the law.
True, the investigation didn’t begin until a victim of a prominent family came forward, and it didn’t continue until Larry Cook and his office were forced off the case due to a conflict of interest and a failure to properly conduct the investigation.
As for the mental evaluation that was ordered and conducted, a review of that would reveal just how lacking and unconditional it truly was and its refusal to address abuse that was shared. If Larry Cook and his office refused to file rape charges in my behalf, ignoring the evidence offered by other victims, it is clear that he had bias against considering Jack’s part in the crimes.
The coerced guilty plea, we need only look at how many places and in what areas Jack shows up to prove his actions to pressure me into pleading guilty quickly. Pray that we find favor with the Federal Court system in future appeals, and rest assured that we will not stop until we have our chance to present the evidence in a way that shows the truth. I did my best to address the main points brought up, and in the whole found the responses did not reject our reasoning so much as they did the manner by which we brought them.