John Floyd is currently incarcerated at hard labor at Angola, is sentenced to die there, and has continuously been in custody since January 1981. On September 14, 2016, Chief Judge Sarah Vance of the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana issued a detailed sixty-seven page ruling holding that John Floyd’s case must be considered by the federal courts despite its age because it is likely no reasonable jury would convict him in light of all the evidence now known. The ruling, available here, thoroughly analyzes all the facts of this case and recognizes the miscarriage of justice inflicted upon Mr. Floyd. Based on this ruling, the Magistrate Judge recommended that John Floyd must be retried or released due to the State hiding evidence at his trial. The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office is arguing that the Court should not accept the Magistrate Judge’s Recommendation and is fighting to keep Mr. Floyd in prison.
A summary of John Floyd’s case is below:
John Floyd was tried for the murders of William Hines and Rodney Robinson at a bench trial in January 1982.
Mr. Hines and Mr. Robinson were murdered in identical circumstances during the week of Thanksgiving 1980 within a mile of each other (one was murdered at the Fairmont Hotel and one on Governor Nicholls St. in the French Quarter). Both victims were gay men who apparently had consensual sex with their killer before being stabbed to death in the neck and torso. Police found two used whiskey glasses at both crime scenes, as well as enough physical and witness evidence to eventually exclude Mr. Floyd from Mr. Robinson’s murder.
Two months later, in January 1981, Detective John Dillmann met Mr. Floyd in a bar where he was drinking. The detective bought Mr. Floyd drinks and later in the night arrested him and interrogated him about both crimes; obtaining a confession to both.
The confessions are very similar and the confession to the Hines murder contains a reference to the Robinson murder.
The case against Mr. Floyd relied heavily on these two confessions. Investigating officers mishandled evidence at the Hines crime scene, failed to disclose exculpatory results and evidence, and made probative testing unavailable to the defense by hiding testable evidence. Because of this misconduct, evidence from the Hines crime scene could not undermine the confession. Crime scene evidence led the judge to find Mr. Floyd not guilty of the Robinson crime in spite of his confession. Nevertheless, despite the similarity of the crimes and confessions, he was convicted of the Hines murder at the same trial as he was acquitted of the Robinson murder.
Detective Dillmann was later the lead detective in the investigation of the Curtis Kyles case (Kyles v. Whitley is a 1995 United States Supreme Court case that issued a stinging rebuke to the practices of the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office and New Orleans Police Department).
In another case, the Louisiana Supreme Court found that Detective Dillmann had led a team of police interrogators who beat a suspect into confessing less than two years before he arrested Mr. Floyd.
Years later, Detective Dillmann took case files from the New Orleans Police Department while he was writing a book about the case. Having never returned the files, they were later destroyed in his home by Hurricane Katrina.
IPNO has found significant new evidence of Floyd’s innocence, including a fingerprint comparison performed by police that was never turned over to the Assistant District Attorneys working on the case or to Floyd’s lawyer. The comparison revealed that, not only were none of John Floyd’s prints found at the scene, but that the prints of someone other than the victims was present on the whiskey bottle and glasses found at both crime scenes. IPNO also obtained DNA testing on hairs found at the Robinson crime scene that establishes that an unknown black man was in bed with the victim immediately before his death (Mr. Floyd is white).
This evidence, combined with the eyewitness and physical evidence that created reasonable doubt at trial, means it is now absolutely certain Mr. Floyd did not commit the Robinson murder and that his confession was completely false. The State’s case against Mr. Floyd for the Hines murder was solely based on his confession, as all physical evidence was mishandled at the scene and has since been destroyed.
Recent psychological testing shows John has an IQ of 59 and is highly suggestible and highly compliant, making him particularly susceptible to the pressure applied by the police when they interrogated him. It has been conclusively proven that he falsely confessed to one crime during the interrogation in which he confessed to the Hines murder.
Floyd’s application to have his conviction thrown out was rejected by the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court without explanation; the judge only gave 15 minutes consideration to the hours of testimony and hundreds of pages of evidence presented. In a 4-3 decision the Louisiana Supreme Court declined to review Mr. Floyd’s case. IPNO now seeks relief for Mr. Floyd from the federal courts.
Please tell your friends about John and keep his story alive.
He would love to receive letters and cards of support. You can send them to:
John Floyd - #98651
Louisiana State Penitentiary
Angola, LA 70712
John’s birthday is June 29.
More information and application instructions here.
Job description and application instructions here.