S8E8: A Tale of Two Systems: The Story of Kenzi Snider
On March 18, 2001, Jamie Penich—an American exchange student in South Korea—was brutally murdered in her motel room after a night of partying with friends from the program. Kenzi Snider, a 19-year-old student from Marshall University in West Virginia, was one of the friends Penich was with. One year later, in February 2002, FBI agents contacted Kenzi out of the blue. She was back in school in West Virginia. She met with three agents on three consecutive days for several hours, and the sessions were grueling. When it was done, she had confessed. She murdered her friend, she said, in the context of a drunken sexual encounter, but later said she had been coerced into making the confession and accused investigators of framing her to protect two American soldiers who she claimed killed Penich. Kenzi was promptly arrested, incarcerated in a local jail for ten months, and extradited to Korea to stand trial. There, she then spent another six months in jail. Then a panel of judges found her not guilty. The prosecutor appealed the verdict but months later an appeals court confirmed: not guilty. In 2006, five years after the crime, in response to yet another appeal, the Supreme Court of Korea once again affirmed: NOT GUILTY. Kenzi Snider has been fully acquitted in court. Yet her confession haunts her—and leads some people still to question her actual innocence. In this episode, Jason Flom is joined by Kenzi Snider and renowned psychologist Saul Kassin best known for his groundbreaking work on false confessions.
Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava For Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1 and PRX.