Discover the truth behind Arthur Whitfield, Kristin Lobato, and Chris Tapp’s crimes. Move around and hover over pieces to uncover the truth. Each section has a clickable image, a document in most cases that will blur, this document will open a summary of the case revealing the innocence or guilt of each person.
In less than one hour on the night of August 14, 1981, two women in Norfolk, Virginia, were raped. Both victims eventually identified Arthur Whitfield as the assailant. In 1982, he was convicted of one of the crimes and pled guilty to the second in order to receive a lighter sentence and have some of the charges dropped. DNA testing in 2004 proved that he was innocent of both crimes. The first victim was accosted as she got out of her car. The assailant threatened her with a knife, stole her money, and ordered her to undress. The perpetrator raped her and left her there. She then drove to a friend's house and reported the rape. At trial, she testified that she had several opportunities to view the perpetrator by the light of a streetlight and a spotlight on a nearby house. At the police station, she picked out seven photographs. One of the pictures was Whitfield's. She subsequently identified him from a live lineup. The second victim was attacked not long after the first. She had exited her car and was accosted, threatened with a knife, and raped. At trial, the defense argued that Whitfield had been misidentified. Both victims described their attacker as having no facial hair, but Whitfield wore a beard at the time. Whitfield's family testified that he was with them the entire evening. The jury convicted and Whitfield was sentenced to 45 years. He pled guilty to the second crime and received 18 years, to run consecutively to the first sentence, a total of 63 years. In October 2003, Whitfield filed pro-se under the Virginia statute that governs postconviction DNA testing (passed in 2001). It appeared that the evidence had been destroyed. In December 2003, however, the state crime laboratory found pieces of evidence taped inside a notebook of the serologist who had originally tested the evidence. Mary Jane Burton had, against laboratory protocol, saved samples from some of the cases she had worked on. In 2001, evidence located in a similar manner had exonerated Marvin Anderson. In 2003, the evidence Burton saved in Julius Ruffin's case was tested and exonerated him. The profile obtained from testing indicated that another inmate, Aaron Doxie III, who was already serving life for another sexual assault, was the true perpetrator. Whitfield had served over 22 years in prison for crimes he did not commit.
Lobato was just 18 years old when she was charged with the brutal 2001 murder of Duran Bailey, a homeless man in Las Vegas. Lobato, who was tried twice for the crime, has always maintained her innocence. Bailey's body had been found at around 10 p. m. on July 8, 2001 next to a dumpster in the parking lot of a bank building. He had been brutalized, his eyes were swollen shut, his skull cracked, several of his teeth had been knocked out of his mouth, his carotid artery was cut and his penis had been removed. In late May 2001, two months before Bailey was killed, Lobato was visiting friends in Las Vegas when she was attacked in a motel parking lot by a man who attempted to rape her. Carrying a small knife given to her by her father for her protection, Lobato slashed at the man's groin area and escaped his grasp. When she drove off, she saw the man on the ground, mobile and apparently crying. In the coming days and weeks, Lobato described this attack to numerous people, making clear that it occurred before July 2001 and stating that she believed she may have cut the man in the groin area before running off to safety. Based on that attenuated story alone, detectives immediately drove the three hours to Panaca from Las Vegas. Under the mistaken belief that police were informing her that the man who tried to rape her had died, she expressed remorse, and made other comments that the detective took as a confession for Baileys murder, even though the event Lobato described was glaringly at odds with the basic facts of his killing. The police did not investigate clear alternate perpetrators with the motive and means to so violently kill Bailey and Lobato was imprisoned. Later the forensic entomologists independently concluded that Bailey’s body had no blowfly eggs on it thus he had to have died close in time to when his body was discovered around 10 p.m. on July 8th, during which time, as conceded even by the prosecution, Lobato was three hours away with her family in Panaca. Based on this compelling scientific evidence which could have been presented at Lobato’s trial and which would have likely changed the jury’s outcome, Judge Miley granted Lobato’s habeas corpus petition and vacated her convictions.
On the morning of June 13, 1996, Angie Dodge was raped and stabbed to death in her apartment in Idaho Falls, Idaho. She was 18 years old, and her body was found after she didnt show up for work. The citys police department investigated the killing, but the summer and fall came and went without an arrest. That changed in early 1997, after a man from Idaho Falls named Benjamin Hobbs was arrested on January 5 in Ely, Nevada, and charged with sexual assault. After learning of the arrest, Idaho Falls police interviewed Hobbs and then began interviewing his friends, trying to build a case against him. One friend was 20-year-old Christopher Tapp. He and Dodge were part of a sprawling group of young people, so-called River Rats, who hung out by the trails along the Snake River not far from Dodges apartment. DNA tests had come back and excluded Hobbs and Tapp as the source of the semen found on Dodges body and clothes. Carol Dodge, Angies mother, had initially pushed for Tapp to receive the death penalty. In 2013, after viewing the videotapes of Tapps confessions, she contacted Steven Drizin, one of the nations leading experts in false confessions and a professor at Northwestern Universitys Pritzker School of Law. Drizin had already been in communication with Tapps legal team since 2012, and he agreed to investigate the case pro bono. The report he published in 2014 concluded that Tapps confession was coerced, produced through deceit and pressure, and then enhanced by the officers supplying Tapp with sufficient details to lend credibility to his statements.