by Linda Barnes
July 15th, 2000
|I was convicted of rape and
child endangering in April, 1984. My oldest 2 sons, then 7 and 9,
were the ones who testified against me in court. When my oldest child
turned 18, he contacted me and said he was sorry, that he was coerced to
lie, and he would be willing to help. I was able to get John Bay
of the Ohio Public Defender's Office to take the case. He got affidavits
from both of my sons about our innocence and drew up a motion for a new
trial, but it took him over 5 years to do that.
The court promptly turned down our motion to file a motion because it took too long after the newly discovered evidence was obtained. We appealed that decision, but it was turned down. At that point, Mr. Bay could have appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, but he chose not to, and I couldn't get together an appeal on my own by the deadline. He has dropped my case and wished me luck.
From what my sons told me, and their affidavits, it appears that the foster family and children's services case workers did the coercing, and for what reason I cannot guess. Perhaps they thought we really weren't fit to parent our children. We did live in poverty, substandard housing, we were on welfare, didn't have running water. We had lots of problems, but we didn't abuse our kids in any way.
In 1983 we were evicted from our place of residence, and unable to come up with rent and deposit to get another. Jack's uncle had a house under renovation and said we could rent it if we were willing to help fix the place up. It had no electrical wiring, the bathroom had been torn out, a lot of wallboard was missing, there was no plumbing hooked up, but it was a roof over our heads and winter was coming, so we took it.
Children's Services became involved through the county homemaker, who was supposed to assist us with budgeting, but never did. One day, she came to our house in late November and got into an argument with my husband, and he ordered her to leave. We didn't have any heat in the house and it was getting cold. She was saying that we should get some heat, and it sounded like she was insulting us, or so my husband thought. That was when she had our children removed from the house. They took them ostensibly because there was no heat in the house, but mainly, I think, because of the argument with my husband.
We were told to get a heat source installed and then we could have our children back. We took almost our entire welfare check and bought a heating stove, called the welfare office to see when we could pick up our children, and were told that there was a problem, that we would have to go to the office and talk to them.
My husband was suspected of sexual abuse of my daughter, but later I got included! Of course, we denied anything of the sort, but we weren't allowed to take our children back home. We couldn't pay the rent after we bought the stove, so we were told to move out of the house.
We were told that we had to see a psychiatrist, and saw him on January 4, 1984. We were arrested the same day. Somehow, my brother Ron Humfleet, and brother-in-law Earl Barnes were also accused. I couldn't understand why my brother was arrested, we had only seen him a few times during the whole year of 83, and only at my father's home in the company of other people. We did stay with Earl on and off, but he was never alone with any of our children.
I never understood how either of them came to be involved until my son Tony gave me the story when he was grown. It seems that they kept asking the boys questions and their stories got wilder, because they felt that's what the questioners wanted. My son Tony told me at one time that he has felt the guilt for our imprisonment every day since the trial. That's why he finally came forward, because he felt that he would never have any peace in his heart until the wrong was made right. My son Shawn wrote and told me almost the same thing.
I feel that we need to have the truth come out every bit as much for my children's peace of mind as for our freedom.
I don't have a board date until 2019, so I have a friend helping me file for clemency, but whether or not that will do any good is anyone's guess. I have 3 co-defendants currently serving life sentences with me, and none of us has had any luck so far.
Needless to say, but I am really not guilty
of the crime, and my sons told me that no sexual abuse went on by anyone
at all, so really, there was no crime committed. I am serving 3 life
sentences, my husband 9, my brother 3, and my brother-in-law 9. This
is utterly too ridiculous. There was no other evidence that proved
a case of rape. Someone somewhere should be able to help.
views and opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily
those of the IIAO, however, wrongful conviction and
imprisonment are quite obvious.