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.
Summary of Crime Scene Reconstruction Report
Larry McCann conducted a blind two-stage analysis, first considering only the forensic and crime scene evidence, and then also considering the confessions and profiles of Williams, Tice, Dick, Ballard, and Wilson. In the first stage, McCann concluded that only one person raped, stabbed, and strangled Michelle Bosko. In the second stage, McCann concluded that dozens of key “facts” in the confessions of Williams, Tice, Dick, and Wilson were inconsistent with the evidence, and that those men were not involved.
Ultimately, McCann concluded that “[s]tatements made by Ballard to police investigators are consistent with the physical evidence found at the crime scene and found during the victim’s autopsy.” By contrast, McCann concluded:
Williams, Tice, Dick, and Wilson are in this case only because they included themselves by confession. There is no physical evidence linking them to the scene, their statements were directly contradictory to the physical evidence found at the scene, their statements are contrary to the victim’s injuries and condition found at autopsy, and their statements are often implausible and changing.
Read the full Larry McCann Crime Scene Reconstruction Report (PDF).
The expert, retired Virginia State Police officer Larry McCann, has 29 years of law enforcement experience, including 26 years with the Virginia State Police and a year as a fellow at the FBI National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. McCann has been involved in the investigation of over 2,000 homicides. He is now an expert consultant with the Academy Group, Inc., a forensic behavioral science consulting firm.
- McCann’s Affidavit
Back to People Page.