An innocent man

Greg Wilhoit, sent to Oklahoma's death row on nothing but erroneous bite mark evidence, continues to be wrongfully accused despite his exoneration.

The record needs to be set straight.

Greg was acquitted by a judge on retrial because the bite mark evidence had been discredited and the trial judge found no additional evidence of guilt, even if the jury were to believe every item of the prosecution's evidence.

Nevertheless, in a recent Gazette article (News, "Project innocence" Oct. 7, 2009), Larry Stuart, the district attorney who prosecuted Greg, was quoted as:

(1) claiming there was eyewitness and DNA evidence against Greg; (2) indicating there was reason to believe in Greg's guilt.

The remarks attributed to the prosecutor are monumentally backwards from the truth.

Eyewitness: A neighbor of the deceased (Greg's estranged wife, Kathy) was visiting with her (with Greg nowhere around) until after 12:30 a.m. on a Friday. Kathy was next seen Saturday afternoon when police found her body. Greg had not been observed at or near Kathy's apartment in the meantime. The uncontradicted testimony was that Greg was at his own separate residence on the night of the homicide.

DNA: The homicide occurred downstairs in Kathy's apartment and the entire struggle was downstairs. Greg's DNA was found upstairs in Kathy's bedroom, where Greg had spent the night occasionally during the separation. The state's DNA expert testified the upstairs DNA could have been there for months prior to the homicide. The physical evidence downstairs didn't match Greg in a single regard. The phone, which had been ripped from the wall and was next to the body, had an identifiable fingerprint which did not belong to either Greg or Kathy. There were hairs in the vicinity of the body. But the OSBI found none with characteristics similar to those of Greg's hair.

Innocence: Practically all of the board members of a national forensic odontology group examined the bite mark evidence and unanimously found the mark did not match Greg's teeth. There were over 20 notable differences, any one of which was enough to exclude him, between Greg's teeth and the bite mark.

The physical evidence of the bite mark, which under the prosecution's theory (and the medical examiner's testimony) was inflicted contemporaneously with the homicide, was by itself exonerating. The additional physical evidence also points to a perpetrator other than Greg.

Greg is and was innocent. It's time for Larry Stuart to say so.

"Mark Barrett, Norman

Barrett is an attorney for Greg Wilhoit.