Jury returns an acquittal in Bossier Parish False Confession Case

Press Release following the Acquittal of Michael Hutchings

On Tuesday September 1, 2009, a Bossier Parish jury returned a unanimous verdict of Not Guilty to acquit Michael Horn Hutchings on one count of Aggravated Rape of 13 year old and one count of Molestation of a Juvenile. Hutchings had been on trial for the past week in connection with the charges. His lawyer, Shreveport Attorney Elton B. Richey, Jr. contended that Hutchings’ 8 year old daughter had been lead into making a statement that investigators at the Bossier City Police Department and the Shreveport Based Gingerbread House, perceived to be a report of sexual abuse by Hutchings. In the course of the investigation Hutchings,  who suffers from mild mental retardation, gave a false confession to a Bossier City Detective and was charged with Aggravated Rape based on the false confession.

The molestation charge  was brought by  Mr. Hutchings older son from a former marriage. Upon learning of his father’s arrest in April of 2007, the boy claimed that he suddenly remembered his father had touched him in an inappropriate manner some seven years before. Hutchings’ lawyers contended that the boy was angry at his father over a spoiled 13th birthday party and was pressured by Hutching’s ex-wife to make the allegation.

Hutchings’ son and daughter both testified. His daughter told jurors her father had not touched her in any sexual manner. His son maintained that Hutchings had touched him some seven years before around age six.  A physical examination of the daughter showed no evidence of sexual trauma or abuse. Hutchings took the stand in his own defense and explained to jurors how the Detectives intimidated him during two and a half hour unrecorded interrogation into giving a tape recorded false confession.

Richey presented expert testimony of  Dr. Solomon Fulero, a nationally known expert in Interrogation tactics and false confessions,  child psychologist Dr. Bruce MCcormick, prominent local Forensic Psychologist, Dr. Mark Vigan,  and Dr. John VanSavage, a Pediatric Urologist. VanSavage testified that the lack of physical evidence of sexual molestation was inconsistent with the detailed and graphic confession Bossier Detectives secured form Mr. Hutchings.

Richey presented evidence that the Bossier City Detective who obtained the false confession from his our mentally retarded client had previously obtained two false confessions to murder in an unrelated case. The Jury deliberated for about four hours before returning the Not Guilty verdict.

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