Whopper of the Week: Eddie Joe Lloyd
A patient in a mental hospital confesses falsely to murder.
"Eighteen years ago, Eddie Joe Lloyd confessed in horrific detail to the rape and murder of 16-year-old Michelle Jackson, solving a case that had terrified this city after a wave of fatal child abductions in the area. Mr. Lloyd's account, in a six-page statement and an audiotape, was chillingly accurate. It described Michelle's Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and half-moon earrings, the red-handled knife used to threaten her, the long johns that strangled her, the dirty green bottle left in her rectum.… The lurid confession was released with great fanfare, and the jury deliberated less than half an hour."
—Jodi Wilgoren, "Confession Had His Signature; DNA Did Not," New York Times, Aug. 26
"Mr. Lloyd … was in a mental hospital at the time of his arrest. … [T]he long johns used in the strangulation survived. DNA tests showed that the semen stains on them—as well as on the green bottle and a piece of paper attached to the bottle—could not have come from Mr. Lloyd. The police later found slides with more samples and retested them. Not him."
"At a hearing yesterday in Wayne County Circuit Court, Judge Leonard Townsend accepted the joint request by prosecutors and defense lawyers that the conviction be overturned. …"
—Jodi Wilgoren, "Man Freed After DNA Clears Him Of Murder,"New York Times, Aug. 27.
(Click here for additional information on the Lloyd case from the Innocence Project, which handled his appeal. The Innocence Project contends that Lloyd's confession was coerced. The police detective in the case has refused comment, but a spokeswoman for the police department said she did not believe police wrongdoing occurred.)
Got a whopper? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.
Aug. 22, 2002: Larry Klayman
Aug. 2, 2002: Al Gore
July 26, 2002: Princeton admissions dean Stephen LeMenager
July 19, 2002: James Traficant
July 12, 2002: Maryland Lt. Gov. candidate Michael S. Steele
July 5, 2002: Hesham Mohamed Hadayet
June 28, 2002: WorldCom
June 21, 2002: Terry Lynn Barton
June 14, 2002: Tom Ridge
June 7, 2002: Former FBI Deputy Director Weldon Kennedy
May 31, 2002: Ari Fleischer
May 23, 2002: Condoleezza Rice
May 17, 2002: Robert Mueller
May 9, 2002: Karl Rove
May 3, 2002: Gen. Richard Myers
April 25, 2002: Donald Rumsfeld
April 18, 2002: George W. Bush
April 11, 2002: The Rev. Robert J. Banks, archdiocese of Boston
April 5, 2002: George W. Bush
March 29, 2002: Major League Baseball
March 21, 2002: Billy Graham
March 14, 2002: INS commissioner James W. Ziglar
March 8, 2002: Robert Zoellick and the U.S. steel industry
Feb. 28, 2002: Al Sharpton
Feb. 22, 2002: Olympic skating judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne
Feb. 14, 2002: Kenneth Lay
Feb. 8, 2002: Enron spokeswoman Peggy Mahoney
Jan. 31, 2002: Monsanto
Jan. 24, 2002: Linda Chavez
Jan. 17, 2002: George W. Bush
Jan. 10, 2002: Simon & Schuster
Jan. 4, 2002: The Associated Press
(Click here to access the Whopper Archive for 2001.)
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.