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1 man's past convictions made him an 'easy target'

When someone in Media is convicted of a crime, serves his or her sentence and is integrated back into society, he or she should be able to live life knowing that that conviction is behind him or her. Unfortunately, individuals with criminal recrods are frequently having to deal with situations that arise solely because they have criminal records. They become suspects in unsolved crimes, they have to register as sex offenders, they are at risk of not being hired when a background check reveals their criminal records; these are the kinds of things individuals with criminal records have to deal with on a regular basis.

Though this story is not out of Pennsylvania, the suspicion that one man was placed under because of his past convictions is a prime example of something that could happen to someone here with a criminal record.

A man who had been convicted of rape fell under suspicion for the murder of two young women who disappeared in 1971 because of what appeared to be a jailhouse confession. The man had been set up by two other inmates who had produced a falsified confession, which led to an investigation on the man's family farm in 2004. Even though the offender's lawyer said it was obvious that the voice on the recording was not his client's, the state still indicted him.

Though he was never convicted and he was already in jail on the rape conviction, the man was made a target because of his prior convictions. All of that suspicion has been lifted, however, since the women and their car was found, crashed, 43 years after they disappeared.

Source: Argus Leader, “Cold case closed: Missing girls died in car accident,” John Hult, April 15, 2014

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