02-25-2006, 10:11 AM #1Former member
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
Canada - Samantha Toole, 6, raped & murdered, St John, NB, 2 Oct 1993
Gary Dimmock, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, February 25, 2006
George Pitt always said the only thing he was guilty of was having bad friends, and that the only thing prosecutors put on trial was his lifestyle.
Now, 12 years after the New Brunswick man, an admitted alcoholic, was condemned to life in prison for the rape and murder of his six-year-old stepdaughter, authorities have finally tested seemingly key evidence from the crime scene and have found none of it matches his DNA, the Citizen has learned.
The New Brunswick justice department agreed last summer to begin testing the evidence after a Citizen investigation in 2004 revealed that while Saint John police collected crime scene exhibits -- including the girl's nightie, vaginal and oral swabs and four hairs found on her body -- they never actually sent it to the crime lab.
None of the freshly tested exhibits reveal his DNA profile.
Jerome Kennedy, a lawyer with the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted, known for freeing Guy Paul Morin, Donald Marshall Jr. and David Milgaard, says the results are good news for Mr. Pitt, who has always maintained his innocence.
"If I were doing a trial here, I'd say to the jury: 'What do you expect to find here, and what does the absence of evidence tell you?' It tells you that you don't have the right guy because common sense in these circumstances (rape, murder, and dumping of the body) would tell you that you would expect to find (a DNA match)," said Mr. Kennedy.
Although Mr. Pitt's DNA didn't match the tested exhibits, it also didn't identify anyone else's, making it hard to identify another possible suspect.
"Trying to prove George Pitt's innocence is almost impossible unless we find the real killer," said Mr. Kennedy, who took up Mr. Pitt's case after reading the Citizen report.
That article also revealed that according to an internal Correctional Service Canada report, police kept investigating the circumstantial case months after Mr. Pitt's 1994 conviction. Moreover, the Saint John police chief actually named someone else as a suspect.
Mr. Pitt, now 40, was convicted in 1994 for the rape and killing of young Samantha Dawn Toole, found dead behind her home at the edge of the Saint John River on Oct. 2, 1993.
The six-year-old girl was raped, beaten, choked, then dumped at the river's edge and left to drown.
Her time of death was never determined, so it's not known if police could have found the missing girl before she was killed.
It is clear that police didn't take the missing-child report seriously. In fact, according to 911 transcripts that were not released at trial, the two police officers first dispatched to the Toole home laughed about it, and went about other business.
The girl's mother, Gloria Toole, had to call police four times over two and a half hours before police finally responded and issued a citywide missing child alert.
She gave her address and explained that she had left the child with a babysitter the night before, and that when she woke up, her daughter was missing. Ms. Toole had skipped line-dancing class at church for a night of drinking, and then slept in until noon.
02-26-2006, 12:45 AM #2Registered User
- Join Date
- May 2004
This case begins by being so bizzare.....the police were called and when they came to the house they just laughed and blew the mother off???? She had to call them 4 different times before they took her seriously??? The DNA was never sent to be tested??? They can't say that the person in prison for the crime is innocent...even though the DNA isn't his...until they have the person who actually committed the murder??? Is this all correct?
02-26-2006, 07:20 AM #3Former member
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
Yes to everything Bobbisangel... at least that is the way the article has been written.
It appears that the circumstantial evidence was enough... um... that is it was enough to convict him even though the police continued to investigate and named a suspected AFTER he was convicted!
His lawyer is known for helping other wrongly convicted people... hopefully they can get to the bottom of this case.
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