Monday, May 7, 2012

Idaho Cop Commits Perjury, Sends a Man to Prison for a Crime He did not Commit

"Now, according to the Idaho Supreme Court, another line likely belongs on Rice’s résumé: perjury in a murder trial.

In 2006, Jonathan Ellington of Hayden, Idaho, stood accused of using his car to menace two young women and run over their mother, Vonette Larsen, while Larsen’s gun-wielding husband tried to stop him. The tragic case grew out of a wild road-rage incident and, in the end, underscores the power of expert witnesses in the courtroom.

Ellington, then 45, was a long-haul trucker and had been in trouble before, but not like this. He had been charged with driving under the influence twice and had received tickets for not wearing a seat belt, not having proof of insurance and speeding.

Ellington’s trial started on Aug. 23, 2006. The prosecutor called police officers, the medical examiner and Vonette Larsen’s family. Ellington’s lawyer called people who had encountered Ellington before the incident, as well as a firearms expert and an accident reconstructionist.

And then the prosecutor called Fred Rice. Over the objections of Ellington’s attorney, Rice took the stand to rebut the testimony of the defense’s accident investigator, who argued that Ellington didn’t intentionally strike Vonette Larsen. Rice countered that claim."

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