Monday, February 20, 2006

Another Recovered Memory Conviction

In my last post on recovered memory as trial evidence, I mentioned that the George Franklin conviction was the only one involving recovered memory of which I was aware. Reviewing some notes, I see this isn't so: In July 1992 Steven Slutzker of Pennsylvania was convicted of murdering his mistress's husband nearly 20 years earlier, largely because the woman's son had suddenly recalled seeing him at the scene of the crime.

Garfield, Pennsylvania, November 1990: John Mudd, Jr., 23, was playing Trivial Pursuit with friends when someone swore at his girlfriend. Infuriated, Mudd grabbed a chair and was about to hit his buddy with it when he suddenly experienced a strange flashback.

John envisioned his parents' home in Wilkinsburg, Pennslyvania, as it was when he was 5 years old. He and his parents were watching TV just as the power failed, so John Mudd Sr. went to the basement to check the circuit box. The Mudd family hear 7 gunshots. A moment later, John Jr. glimpsed his mom's friend - the man he had once seen trying to kiss him mom - emerge from the basement. The man was Steven Slutzker.

John Mudd hadn't remembered seeing Slutzker in his house that night until the surfaced 18 years later, but did know that Slutzer was arrested on suspicion of murdering his father shorlty after the fact. All charges against him had been dropped.

A new investigation into the Mudd murder was launched, based on John Mudd's recovered memories. In April 1991, Slutzker and Arlene Mudd were charged with murder and conspiracy; Mrs. Mudd's charges were eventually dismissed, but Slutzker was convicted and sentence to life in prison. Judge Jeffrey Manning agreed with the jury forewoman when he stated his opinion that Mudd' stestimony was consistence with the testimony of others, and with the physical evidence.

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