Wednesday, March 21, 2012
An April 16 hearing was set today for the wrongfully accused brother of a slain 12-year-old Escondido girl to get a formal judicial pronouncement that he is factually innocent of killing her.
Michael Crowe was 14 years old when he was arrested and charged in the Jan. 20, 1998 stabbing death of his younger sister, Stephanie, at the family home in Escondido. Michael Crowe's friends, Joshua Treadway and Aaron Houser, then both 15, were also charged in the killing.
Court papers filed this week said Crowe wanted the hearing before 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 -- was assigned to Judge Kenneth So.
Michael Crowe, Treadway and Houser confessed to the killing, but those confessions were later ruled to have been coerced in harsh interrogations by Escondido police detectives and an Oceanside police officer, who was assisting.
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.