Edmond Police Stand By Murder Investigation Despite False Confession
By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9
EDMOND, Oklahoma -- The Edmond Police Department is standing by its investigation after a suspect's confession was thrown out in a high profile murder case of an Edmond homeless man.
Travis Jim, who is a homeless man with a history of alcoholism and blackouts, led police to the body of Dwite Morgan, who was a well known homeless man and was also known as "Bicycle Bob." The discover later led to Jim's arrest and indictment.
"In this particular case, Mr. Jim supplied no detail about the crime itself other than the area, and he was familiar with the deceased, so of course he would know the area," said Bob Ravitz, Public Defender- Oklahoma County.
This week, prosecutors dropped charges against Jim after learning his confession was false. Three other suspects were arrested over the weekend. Ravitz, whose office represented Jim, said investigations should go beyond a confession.
"There are ways to suggest things to people that aren't that smart and get them to confess things that could make a case that could go to a jury," Ravitz said.
Dr. Shawn Roberson wrote an article on false confessions last spring in a local law journal.
"That would include principles they call maximization and minimization making it appear that the outcome wouldn't be that severe if the individual confesses or making it appear that it would be more severe if they don't," Roberson said.
Roberson said false confessions are pretty rare.
"It's estimated to be somewhere around 1 percent, but given the sheer volume of criminal cases over the course of the year, that's still quite a few cases," Roberson said.
But in this case, Edmond police are standing by their investigation.
"The Edmond police really exonerated Travis Jim in this case by continuing to take every lead that we got and very seriously follow up on it," said Glynda Chu, spokesperson, Edmond Police Department.
Ravitz said Jim was in custody for nine hours before he confessed to murder.
"It's great that the Edmond Police Department kept working on it, but what would have happened if they hadn't? Would a jury have said he did it because he confessed? I think the likelihood is yes," Ravitz said.
The new suspects police arrested are Connor Mason, Nikolas Kerr, and Heather Parker. They are currently being held in the Oklahoma County jail without bond.