Frank O’Connell
29 years served

Pasadena, CA

On March 29, 2012, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Suzette Clover announced that she had vacated the conviction of Frank O’Connell in a stunning and unequivocal decision.

Frank was convicted of a 1984 Pasadena, CA shooting murder of Jay French wherein the only evidence against Frank was the positive identification by a single eyewitness who admitted during his trial testimony that he only saw a fleeting profile view of the assailant before he hid for his own safety. This witness has recanted his positive identification of Frank, lamenting to CM that he was more focused on the gun in the assailant’s hand and not facial features, and that he allowed police to pressure him into what he knew was a false identification. During trial prosecutors had downplayed the extremely bitter custody battle Jay French was having with his ex-wife and instead implied the that motive for the murder was a torrid love affair between Frank O’Connell and Mr. French’s ex-wife. However, this theory had no basis in fact whatsoever.

During the course of CM’s investigation led by Executive Director, Kate Germond, we discovered that the person we believe to have orchestrated the crime had confessed doing so to five different people independently as well as admitting an innocent man was in jail for the crime.  Additionally, CM had access for the first time to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s investigative file and found a handwritten note by the detective detailing information about a prior attempt on Mr. French’s life: sometime prior to Mr. French’s murder, his ex-wife and her male friend tried to run him over with their car when he was riding his motorcycle.

The concealment of this earlier attempt on Mr. French’s life is an obvious Brady Violation by the Sheriff’s investigators as well as the key to Frank O’Connell’s freedom and exoneration.