Today's New York Times Examines the Earl Washington case

Check out today's New York Times and the article which can be found on the web at

This concerns the Earl Washington case. Earl Washington was on death row and within hours of being executed, when DNA tests proved conclusively that he could not possibly be the person who committed the crime.
Earl Washington Jr.
Earl Washington Jr.

As a result, Governor Douglas Wilder of Virginia commuted his sentence from death to life imprisonment!

This has long been recounted on my website at

As the New York Times article today notes, "The lawyers who later took up his cause emphasized that their task was greatly burdened by the fact that Virginia has one of the most restrictive appeal procedures in the nation, allowing only 21 days after sentencing to present new evidence. In contrast, the most liberal states set no time limit."

Because of this strange rule that new evidence can only be introduced within 21 days after sentence has been passed, the proof that Washington was completely innocent, which came only when a DNA test was done years later, could not be used under Virginia rule to overturn the death sentence.

I have a special reason for interest in this case, because my daughter, Shamema Honzagool Sloan, aged 8, was kidnapped by Charles and Shelby Roberts on October 9, 1990 with the assistance and connivance of Bill Petty, Lynchburg Commonwealth Attorney, and Michael Gamble, a private lawyer.

Later, in order to cover-up their own criminal activities, Petty and Gamble had me arrested and tried on the false charge of trying to kidnap my own daughter back. Gamble became the judge and Petty was the prosecutor.

Gamble also twice removed my paid lawyer from my defense and substituted the weakest possible lawyer in Lynchburg, David B. Bice, as my defense counsel, all this over my strenuous objections.

All of the evidence submitted against me was bogus or inadmissible. Hearsay statements were introduced supposedly made by my daughter, but my daughter was not allowed to testify and my defense counsel was not allowed to see or interview her.

Letters written by Richard Bozulich and an airplane ticket in the name of Richard Bozulich were introduced into evidence along with a claim that Richard Bozulich was a fake personality and that I was him. In reality, Richard Bozulich is a real person and not a figment of the imagination, but he lives in Japan and I could not call him as my witness especially since I did not know that they would make this ridiculous allegation until the day of the trial.

A police informant who was a professional criminal who had been my cellmate in jail was allowed to testify along with tape recordings he had made of me after indictment, in violation of my Miranda rights.

A 17 page opinion by Judge Janow and a 6 page opinion by Judge Gamble were admitted into evidence and read in the jury room, even though judgments in a civil case are clearly inadmissible in a criminal trial, because the standard of proof is different.

Finally, the jury was never shown the statute under which I was charged, which clearly showed that my alleged actions, even if proven, did not constitute a felony under Virginia law. The most I could possibly have been convicted of was a misdemeanor.

Why did they go to such extreme actions to get me convicted of the "attempted abduction" of my own daughter? Because Petty and Gamble were the actual criminals. In order to save themselves from going to prison for kidnapping my daughter, they had me charged with the crime which they had committed.

Needless to say, they both ignored a letter from the Virginia Supreme Court saying that they should disqualify themselves from this case.

Therefore, every time another innocent man is executed by order of the Virginia Supreme Court, I am deeply interested in this matter.

Sam Sloan

UPDATE: Earl Washington has been pardoned by the Governor of Virginia.

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