NORFOLK FOUR GRANTED FULL PARDONS BY GOV. McAULIFFE
On Tuesday, March 21, 2017, Joseph Dick, Derek Tice, Danial Williams, and Eric Wilson, four innocent Navy veterans known as the ‘Norfolk Four,’ received long-awaited full pardons based on their actual innocence from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. The Norfolk Four were wrongfully convicted of rape and murder in 1997; their case involved troubling issues of police misconduct, false confessions, and unconstitutionally suppressed evidence.
“I speak for all four of us in expressing our deepest thanks to Governor McAuliffe, who has given us our lives back with these full pardons. We have been haunted by these wrongful convictions for twenty years, which have created profound pain, hardships, and stress for each of us and our families. We now look forward to rebuilding our reputations and our lives,” said Eric Wilson.
See Norfolk Four Press Release here.
See Statement from Governor’s Office here.
On December 14, 2016, the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office announced in state court that they will no longer pursue prosecutions of Joseph Dick and Danial Williams, two of the four innocent Navy Veterans known as the “Norfolk Four.” The Commonwealth’s decision not to pursue the prosecutions is further evidence that Mr. Dick, Mr. Williams, Derek Tice and Eric Wilson are innocent and should now receive full pardons to clear their names once and for all. Only a pardon from Governor McAuliffe can ensure that all four men are able to fully reclaim their lives.
To find out more about this important case update, please click here.
On October 31, 2016, Judge John Gibney of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia vacated the convictions of two members of the Norfolk Four, Joseph Dick and Danial Williams, after finding them innocent of the rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko in a September 26, 2016 Opinion, which stated: “By any measure, the evidence shows the defendants’ innocence – by a preponderance of the evidence, by clear and convincing evidence, by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, or even by conclusive evidence.” The September 26th Opinion can be accessed here; the October 31st Order can be accessed here; and the October 31st statement from the attorneys for Mr. Dick and Mr. Williams can be accessed here.
On September 14, 2009, Judge Richard L. Williams of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted Derek Tice’s federal habeas petition and overturned Mr. Tice’s conviction. In the opinion, Judge Williams finds that the state trial court’s grant of Mr. Tice’s habeas petition based on the violation of his constitutional rights was correct, and that the Virginia Supreme Court’s reversal of that decision was an “objectively unreasonable” application of federal law. Click here to read the opinion in its entirety.
On August 6, 2009, three of the Norfolk Four received conditional pardons from Governor Tim Kaine. Derek Tice, Danial Williams, and Joseph Dick, Jr. have been released from prison and rejoined their families after more than 11 harsh years in prison. Please click here for the Norfolk Four press release.
DEREK ELLIOT TICE
Like the other men of the Norfolk Four, Derek has no prior criminal record and was a most unlikely suspect for this crime. Derek was born in San Diego, California when his father was stationed there by the Navy, but his family eventually settled in Clayton, North Carolina when Derek was fifteen. Derek, who served as a Boy Scout for several years and played in the high school band, is a caring, shy, respectful, generous, and compassionate person. Everyone who knows Derek says that he would help anyone in need and “give you the shirt off his back.”
Derek’s Character and Background
His caring nature likely stems from the fact that his older brother, Robert, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of two, before Derek was born. Derek’s parents, Larry and Rachel Tice, had to devote a great deal of attention to Derek’s brother. Derek learned from the example of his parents’ dedication and care, and he too would care for and protect his older brother, who often suffered ridicule from other children. When Derek was in high school, his grandfather became seriously ill, which deeply saddened Derek. His grandfather’s illness was one of the reasons Derek decided that he wanted to become a nurse.
To realize that goal, Derek volunteered for nearly two years as an emergency medical technician in his hometown after he graduated from high school. His supervisors and peers at the Clayton Rescue Squad vividly recall Derek’s deeply caring and compassionate nature, especially when he tended to patients. Following his father’s footsteps, Derek served in the military, first in the United States Army and then in the Navy. Among the many qualities that Derek’s parents instilled in him were obedience and a deep respect for others, including those in authority, which Derek always maintained.
Derek’s False Confession
These exemplary qualities worked to Derek’s disadvantage in the interrogation room. Detective Ford, a police investigator with a history of coercing false confessions, preyed upon Derek’s sensitivity and obedience. Ford’s repeated assurances that Derek would die by lethal injection if Derek did not “confess,” convinced Derek that he had two options: death or confession. At around 1:45 am, after nearly twenty straight hours in the custody of Ford and Detective Wray, Derek submitted to Ford’s demands and signed a false statement confessing to a crime he did not commit. Although Derek’s statement was demonstrably false – it was wholly inconsistent with the crime scene and the statements of Danial, Joe, and Wilson – and Derek’s DNA evidence did not match that found at the crime scene, the police, happy to have another suspect in custody, never stopped to wonder whether Derek might in fact be innocent.
- Derek Tice’s Full Biography
- LIST OF AFFIDAVITS FROM Derek’s FRIENDS AND FAMILY
- Comparison of Derek’s Statements With The Physical Evidence
- DEREK E. TICE’S PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
- Judgment Granting Writ of Habeas Corpus
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