In an earlier post, METH-MYTH FUELED FALSE CONFESSION (3/23/2006), I wrote about the false confession case of Charles "Chuckie" Hickman whom Iniana state police and FBI agents coerced into falsely confessing to participating in the murder of a little girl named Katie Collman. The false confession was exposed when DNA from cigarette butts and other evidence found near Katie's body linked Anthony Stockelman to the crime. Stockleman eventually pled guilty in exchange for a life sentence. End of story. Right?
Wrong. News last week surfaced that inmates at the Indiana correctional facility had their own punishment waiting for Mr. Stockelman; he was literally branded by his fellow inmates for life. They gave him a homemade tatoo on his forehead with the word "Katie's Revenge." (see picture below) I write this not to debate the whether Mr. Stockleman got his just deserts for killing and assaulting a child. The point here is that there are large numbers of false confessions obtained in cases of child rapes and murders. These cases bring incredible pressure on law enforcement and in their desperation officers may, in turn, cross the line when they interrogate suspects Given the consequences of mistakes in these kinds of cases, law enforcement officers need to be especially careful not to arrest, charge and convict the wrong people based on false confessions. Fortunately, Chuckie Hickman's false confession was exposed before he met a similar fate to Anthony Stockleman.