S9E10: 3 For the Crime of One: The Wrongful Convictions of John Kogut, Dennis Halstead, and John Restivo
On December 5th, 1984, the naked body of Theresa Fusco was pulled out of a wooded area in Lynbrook, NY - the 3rd in a string of recent disappearances, putting pressure on police to find the monster among them. The medical examiner determined that the presence of semen implied that a rape had occurred and the cause of death was ligature strangulation. Dennis Halstead had been linked to one of the victims, and in a police interview about Halstead, John Restivo inadvertently mentioned an occasional employee John Kogut. When police interrogated Kogut for 12 hours, during which interrogators lied to him about his failing a polygraph, Kogut signed a confession that was hand-written by one of the detectives and contained all of the information authorities knew at the time, looping in the 3 men as the perpetrators.
With the false confession, a coerced and flipped alibi witness, evidence tampering, and the victim’s hair said to have been found in Restivo’s van, the trio were convicted and sentenced to 33 and a half years in prison. Despite years of obstruction, DNA testing would later exclude all three men and repeatedly implicate a still unknown assailant. John Restivo and Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Nina Morrison joined Jason at the Atlanta Innocence Network Conference to tell this amazing and terrifying tale.
Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.