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S9E5: Nick Yarris: Waylaid by a Lie - Part 1

On December 16th, 1981, Linda Mae Craig was found beaten, raped, and stabbed to death in a church parking lot about a mile and a half away from where her car was discovered. A few days later, Nick Yarris, a troubled young man linked with petty crimes and substance abuse, was pulled over for a traffic violation in a stolen car and got into an altercation with the arresting officer that included an accidental discharge of the officer’s service pistol. This incident spiraled into a laundry list of charges. Yarris had seen the news about Linda Mae Craig, and in a desperate attempt to save himself, he tried to trade false information about her attacker to garner leniency. When authorities got wind of his trickery, they turned the charges on Nick. The prosecution manipulated several eyewitness testimonies, hid or destroyed the case history, and employed misleading serology in order to obtain his wrongful conviction. However, between his first day in prison to exoneration by the biological evidence that put him there, Nick Yarris lived (and continues to live) out one of the greatest and most unbelievable stories ever told. In part 1 of Nick Yarris’ story, he tells us about surviving sexual assault, repeated run-ins with the law, getting waylaid by his own lie, his trial and conviction, “Gladiator Sundays,” and accidentally (yet successfully) escaping from death row, only to turn himself in when he reached Florida - a state where he is still not welcome as a free man. Comparing Nick Yarris’ story to a rollercoaster ride would only serve as a compliment to roller coasters. For example, in 2008, Nick Yarris sued Delaware County and won $4 million. Then, it was stolen from him, and we didn’t even cover that in this episode.


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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