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Resource ID: #14321
Subject: Wrongful Convictions
Source: Herald-Dispatch (Huntington, W.Va.)
Affiliation: 
Date: April 13-14, 1997

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Description

James and Penny Fletcher, a Huntington couple, were imprisoned for nine months on the Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on murder charges. The couple faced deaths by hanging if convicted. The reporter made several unsettling discoveries. The evidence presented against the Fletchers in a preliminary hearing was thin and entirely circumstantial, yet a magistrate ruled that there was enough evidence to go to trial. The Fletchers, wealthy business owners, were offered a chance to buy their freedom for $100,000, but the deal was pulled off the table when a South African man went public with the allegation that he paid the St. Vincent government $25,000 to avoid being charged with his wife's death. The Fletchers were locked up in damp, vastly overcrowded jails and were kept alive with meager prison rations of rice and bread. A pattern of human right violations by police and government officials in St. Vincent was discovered.

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