May God Have Mercy (John C. Tucker): A True Story of Crime and Punishment

1754 WordsMay 3, 20048 Pages
A true story of how a man was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death, May God Have Mercy exposes the imperfections in the criminal justice system and how it led to the death of an innocent man. Roger Coleman's case became the main story on nightly newscasts and prominent television shows such as Larry King Live, Nightline, Good Morning America, and the Today Show. Many crucial, yet harmful decisions were made that ultimately resulted in an innocent man's execution at the death house in Greensville, Virginia. The police, the prosecutor, and the Judge can all be held responsible for Coleman's death. However, the reason Roger Coleman was not acquitted of the murder of Wanda McCoy in the first place and thus in a position to be executed was…show more content…
Like any other criminal case, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. They are required to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the defendant committed the crime. Mickey McGlothlin presented an organized and persuasive opening statement that gave the jury the impression that Roger Coleman was guilty based on the significant amount of evidence against him. The defense's opening statement should have attacked the evidence that the state provided, and also attacked McGlothlin's credibility. The defense's opening statement should have consisted of a description of the friendly relationship that existed between Roger Coleman and the McCoys. It also should have also included Coleman's alibi--Philip VanDyke--and the fact that VanDyke's time card reinforces the time that he said he was with Coleman and the time that he clocked into his job. Arey and Jordan also had an opportunity to smear McGlothlin's credibility by referring to evidence that he failed to mention in his opening argument--the pry mark on the door, the broken fingernails on the victim but no scratches on Coleman, and that the substance found on the victim was soil, not coal dust, which had been on Coleman's clothes. The defense counsel didn't refer to any of those facts. No scientific evidence was brought up, and it failed to respond to McGlothin's statement that there was evidence that Coleman had in fact admitted to committing the crime. The opening statement was a complete

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