CSI on Trial: False Confessions
The interrogation of a prime suspect becomes the most important piece of evidence in most criminal investigations. In the investigation of the murder of Wayne and Sharmon Stock police zeroed in on a suspect, a nephew named Matt Livers, and got a confession. It happened even though none of the evidence linked him to the crimes.
What led an innocent man to confess to murder? Matt Livers was developmentally disabled; someone in the bottom one or two percent of adults in terms of intellectual functioning. Detectives knew this but proceeded with an aggressive interrogation style that ultimately broke down Livers’ defenses. In the process he implicated another man, Nick Sampson, who also had no connection to the Stock’s murder.
Read the summary of the interrogations written by Cass County Sheriff’s investigator Earl Schenk. The report includes no mention of conflicts between Livers version of the killings and the evidence already gathered by the crime scene investigators.
In this report, Investigator Schenk reports talking to the suspect the next day, but fails to include that Livers had recanted his confession and again denied his involvement.