Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Shadow of a Doubt: The Clarence Elkins Story


Finally, on December 15, 2006, more than seven years after his conviction, Clarence Elkins was free to leave the Mansfield Correctional Institution and go home to his family. Melinda and Mark Godsey met him at the door, and Brooke was there was well, with the Elkins' two sons. For the first time in eight years, Clarence would join his family for Christmas. He told Brooke he loved her and expressed deep gratitude to his wife for standing by him and working relentlessly, against all odds, to free him. He also thanked all the students who had worked on the project.

Clarence and Melinda
Clarence and Melinda

Yet Melinda was not finished. She had made a promise to her dead mother. While she'd wanted to free Clarence, she also intended to get the real perpetrator behind bars. She wanted to see Earl Mann convicted.

In July 2007, Mann appeared in court to face the charges that Clarence Elkins had faced nine years earlier. In fact, Clarence attended the hearing with Melinda, although they had separated as man and wife. Mann pleaded not guilty and was taken back to prison, but the DNA analysis, which now included a better test on the pubic hair, was solid evidence against him. In addition, in interviews with detectives he'd admitted being inside Judith Johnson's home and had failed multiple polygraphs. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Mann was indicted and is scheduled for trial in August 2008.

Elkins says he's working on forgiving and moving on; he might write a memoir, and there's talk of a movie about his ordeal.


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