Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Quest for Freedom: The True Story of Roy Brown

Wrongful Conviction

When police took Brown back to the station, they told him his bite pattern was a match to the bite marks found on Sabina Kulakowski's body. Despite this, Brown proclaimed his innocence, maintaining he had had nothing to do with her murder. Unfortunately, his alibi was not very strong: he claimed to have been at home, alone and asleep, at the time of the murder. As a result, Brown was arrested and charged with Sabina's murder.

Bite mark evidence
Bite mark evidence

Having little money, Brown could not afford an attorney, so the court appointed two lawyers to defend him. When the case went to trial, the defense called an odontologist to the stand, who disputed the bite-mark evidence. It was his testimony that Brown's teeth were not a match, that there was only one discernible bite mark on the victim's body and that it did not appear to have come from Brown, who had been missing two upper teeth at the time of her murder.

Despite the defense's arguments, a jury found Brown guilty of Sabina's murder, and on January 23, 1992, he was sentenced to 25 years-to-life behind bars.

When Roy Brown arrived at prison, he was depressed and angry; however, he quickly decided that if he were ever going to be free again, he would need to get beyond his feelings and think clearly. Brown had few people to help him on the outside; the only people who believed in his innocence were his attorneys.

Brown began his crusade for freedom in 1995 by filing a motion that a DNA swabbing be done on the nightshirt that Sabina had been wearing on the night of the murder. Unfortunately, he soon learned that all of the DNA evidence in the case had been consumed during the initial tests.

Undeterred by the lack of physical evidence supporting his innocence, Brown spent the next seven years reading textbooks in the prison library. He studied every aspect of his case, and by 2002, with the advances that science had made in the study and collection of DNA, he had found renewed hope. However, that same year he had received some very disturbing news. His stepfather's farmhouse had burned down, along with all of Brown's collected court documents. To Brown, this was one of the worst obstacles yet.

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