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S9E12: The Insult and Injury of Julie Rea

On October 13th, 1997, Julie Rea’s nightmare would begin, when an intruder broke into her home, killed her son Joel, and the authorities would begin a bumbling, tunnel vision investigation to pin the murder on her. With their blinders on, the incompetent investigators would inadvertently destroy or fail to capture vital evidence of the intruder’s presence at the crime scene. They would ignore developing leads that implicated the 3rd party to this horrific crime of which Julie still cannot speak. The prosecution’s blood spatter “expert” who played an integral role in Julie’s conviction at her first trial would become, according to jurors, “a powerful witness for the defense” under more competent cross examination at her retrial.

The state would later willfully ignore the intruder’s confession and crassly attempt to conceal the new evidence from the retrial jury. Their gross misconduct only added insult to this grave injury. Julie was acquitted in 2006 and formally exonerated in 2010 with the help of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law under the leadership of Karen Daniel to whom this episode is dedicated. Karen’s colleague and one of Julie’s attorneys, Ron Safer, joins Julie and Jason to both pay tribute to Karen and tell Julie’s terrifying story.

You can read more about the life and career of Karen Daniel here: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-karen-daniel-obit-20191227-h3jbt3ch3ff7naqdin6kletytu-story.html

You can read the NY Times article mentioned in this episode here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/magazine/she-was-exonerated-of-the-murder-of-her-son-her-life-is-still-shattered.html


Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.

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