Monday, April 16, 2012
The wrongfully accused brother of a slain 12-year-old Escondido girl will ask a judge today to make a formal pronouncement that he is factually innocent of killing her.
Michael Crowe was 14 when he was arrested and charged for the stabbing death of his younger sister, Stephanie, at the family home in Escondido on Jan. 20, 1998. Michael Crowe's friends, Joshua Treadway and Aaron Houser, then both 15, were also charged in the killing.
Crowe filed court documents last month saying he wanted a hearing in front of a San Diego Superior Court judge, complete with testimony, to get a formal judicial pronouncement of his innocence. The hearing -- expected to take two days -- will get under way today in the courtroom of Judge Kenneth So.
Attorney Milton Silverman said Crowe wanted the judicial finding to clear his name and record.
Michael Crowe confessed to killing his sister, but that confession was later ruled to have been coerced in harsh interrogations by Escondido police detectives and an Oceanside police officer, who was assisting them.
Later, DNA evidence connected Richard Tuite, a mentally ill transient known to frequent the area, to the scene. He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to prison, but that conviction was overturned based on a trial error. The decision is currently under review.
Last October, the Crowe family settled a federal civil rights lawsuit against the cities of Escondido and Oceanside stemming from Michael Crowe's arrest for $7.25 million.