Denni Frase
My Statement

On June 4, 1993, my boyfriend, Patrick Dolan died. I found him unresponsive in his bed at approximately 4:00 PM. I initiated breaths and CPR, phoned 911. The paramedics said there was nothing more they could do, and called for the coroner. 

Licking county (Ohio) coroner, Dr. Robert Raker arrived approximately 5:00 PM. He asked about Pat's drinking and drug use. I told him we had been out drinking the night before. 

On November 5, 1993, Newark Detective Scott Snow came to my home and asked if 1 would come to the police department that day, so I did. Detective Snow and Deputy Chief of Detectives Al Zellner tape recorded the interview. (I have the transcript). They did not inform me of Pat's cause of death. 

On December 17, 1993, Det. Snow phoned and asked if I would come to the police department and they would bring me up to date as to where they were in the investigation of Pat's death. I went to the police department and was accused of murdering Pat. Chief Zellner called me a "cold blooded murderess". The tape recording of this interview, unfortunately, has never surfaced.

Det. Snow wrote an "interview summary" of this interview...not dated nor signed by anyone. Det. Snow omitted an important question mark. He reported that when he said that I had more involvement in Pat's death than I had previously indicated, that I said, "I did."; when actually I questioned, "I did?"

Then, according to his report, I was "catatonic" for 28 minutes, only blinking twice. Per Det. Snow, I was catatonic two more times. They did not summon medical help and continued questioning me. I was told that Pat died of an oral ingestion of morphine, morphine poisoning. Since the morphine was a pharmaceutical grade morphine, and I was a nurse, I was the suspect. I was allowed to leave after agreeing to a polygraph. 

When I left, I hired an attorney, J. Tullis Rogers, of Columbus, Ohio. He cancelled the polygraph. 
On September 28, 1994, I was indicted and arrested for Aggravated Murder. My bond was set at $500,000 cash only. Needless to say, I was unable to make bail. 

My trial was scheduled for March 20, 1995. On March 1, 1995, Assistant prosecutor, Ken Oswalt, discovered that Chief Zellner was engaged to marry Ruth Dolan, former wife of Pat; something I knew 3 months before. Mr. Oswalt offered a plea of involuntary manslaughter as a felony three. He withdrew the offer two days later. 

On March 20, 1995, jury selection began. Mr. Oswalt disqualified potential jurors with any type of knowledge of morphine. The plea of involuntary manslaughter as a felony three (causing the death of another in the course of a misdemeanor; corrupting another with drugs) was offered. My attorney turned it down. I would have pled no contest to negligent homicide, a 1st degree misdemeanor, but my attorney said that since I wasn't driving a car, he would not take it to the prosecutor, as it wasn't applicable. Also on the first day of my trial, Judge Spahr signed a motion suppressing the fact that Chief Zellner was engaged to Ruth Dolan.

My trial took 5 days. Judge Spahr allowed one week and one week only. The jury went out on Friday evening and Judge Spahr told the jury that they needed to have a verdict that evening or they would have to come in over the weekend. Coming in on Monday was not an option. After approximately 3 hours of deliberations, the jury found me not guilty of aggravated murder, but guilty of murder. At 11 PM I was sentenced to 15 years to life. 

Serious Concerns: 
1. I.V. morphine (which I had in my car as part of my job as a home health nurse) has an unpleasant odor and bitter taste. Franklin county (Columbus) Chief of Toxicology, James Ferguson, said that I put this I.V. morphine in Gatorade. (Pat's stomach contents smelled "fruity"). My attorney never brought up the taste and smell of morphine. 

2. Pat's life insurance policy had a drug clause prohibiting payment for accidental drug overdose. Because of the word HOMICIDE, payment was made to Pat's oldest child, a minor at that time in the custody of Ruth Dolan, engaged to Al Zellner. The insurance info was never brought to the jury's attention.

3. Franklin county Chief of Toxicology, James Ferguson is not a doctor. His degree is not in pharmacology, toxicology, or even chemistry. My attorney did not argue Mr. Ferguson's expertise. Mr. Ferguson testified that this was the only case where he found I.V. morphine was used orally.

4. My attorney didn't file a motion to dismiss the indictment. Nor did he file for Grand Jury transcripts. These transcripts would have shown that the 12-17-93 interview summary was used as evidence. That summary was incorrect, "I did." vs "I did?".

Also presented to the Grand Jury was a statement of J.C. Schamleffell, a Newark fireman. This statement was dated July 1994, 13 months after Pat's death and is contradictory to the squad report dated 6-4-93. Mr. Schamleffell stated in his July 1994 statement, that I was telling jokes and laughing at Pat's house while the paramedics were there.

5. Mr. Oswalt failed to disclose the lab report that stated the Gatorade in question as well as the coffee cup recovered at the "scene" tested NEGATIVE for the presence of morphine. 

6. Det. Snow was allowed to testify as to my catatonic state. He is not a medical professional. Now, if I were indeed “catatonic” especially for 28 minutes, then 15, then 10, why did Chief Zellner and Det. Snow continue to question me while I was in a state of diminished capacity? Since I wasn't catatonic, then what else is Det. Snow mistaken about? He can't have it both ways; catatonic equals diminished capacity. Not catatonic equals Det. Snow is not credible.

7. Judge Spahr denied motion for funds for psych evaluation and for expert witness. The psych evaluation would have shown that I don't have catatonia in my psyche. The expert witness would have been able to prove Mr. Ferguson wrong. Mr. Ferguson testified (t. 565) that a 15 milligram (mg) dose of morphine would equal a 35 microgram percent (µg%) blood level. According to the toxicology report, Pat's blood level was 720 µ%. 
But if you do the math: 

15 mg morphine = 35 µg% blood level
30 mg morphine = 70 µg% blood level
45 mg morphine = 105 µg% blood level
60 mg morphine = 140 µg% blood level
75 mg morphine = 175 µg% blood level
90 mg morphine = 210 µg% blood level
105 mg morphine = 245 µg% blood level
120 mg morphine = 280 µg% blood level
135 mg morphine = 315 µg% blood level
150 mg morphine = 350 µg% blood level
165 mg morphine = 385 µg% blood level
180 mg morphine = 420 µg% blood level
195 mg morphine = 455 µg% blood level
210 mg morphine = 490 µg% blood level
225 mg morphine = 525 µg% blood level
240 mg morphine = 560 µg% blood level
255 mg morphine = 595 µg% blood level
270 mg morphine = 630 µg% blood level
285 mg morphine = 665 µg% blood level
300 mg morphine = 700 µg% blood level
310 mg morphine = 720 µg% blood level
315 mg morphine = 735 µg% blood level

310 mg of morphine is not a lethal adult dose, let alone 10 to 14 times the adult lethal dose, as testified to by Mr. Tate of the Franklin County coroner's office. 

8. Per Tabors Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, pg 2103 (Edition 15, F A Davis) probable lethal range of morphine is 5 milligrams of morphine per kilogram of body weight (5mg/kg) to 50 milligrams of morphine per kilogram of body weight(50mg/kg). According to Pat's medical records, he weighed 155 pounds or 70 kg. (155 x 2.2) 
Therefore, a lethal dose for Pat would be 350-3500mg.

9. MS Contin, a morphine sulfate, is dispensed as a 300 mg. extended release tab, so 300 mg. could hardly be a lethal dose. Since a 720 µg% blood level equals a dose of 310 mg, Pat's death should never have been called morphine poisoning. Given that alcohol and marijuana were also found in Pat's tox screen, this dose is more in range with an accidental overdose. 

I have been incarcerated for 10 years for a crime that I did not commit; a crime that never happened. I did not kill Pat Dolan and I pray that you can help me.

Back to Frase

©2005 IIAO Inc.