Dan Gristwood was convicted in 1996 of attempted murder for beating his wife with a hammer. He signed a confession, that he did not write, after 16 hours of interrogation by the NY State Police.
In 2003, the real attacker, Mastho Davis, came forward and confessed. Gristwood was released in 2005, and ultimately awarded $7.5M for his nine years of wrongful incarceration.
Sadly, on January 3, 2015, four months after receiving payment, Dan Gristwood died from lung cancer. See the ABC News story here.
The syracuse.com story about the case here is definitely worth a read, and reads like a script for the prototypical coerced confession.
In light of all the recent public – and police – furor about police conduct, and how they relate to the community, and how they should be respected, I can do naught but shake my head. When the police do stuff like this, how can they claim any high ground in this discussion? Dan Gristwood, after his release, said he thought the problem was a “few bad apples.” That may very well be so, but guess what? Those “few” bad apples make the whole barrel stink. And this problem belongs to the police – not the public.