Forensic Files – Season 12, Ep 16: Freedom Fighter


>>Narrator: FIRST, HE THREATENED MURDER. THEN THERE WAS A MURDER.>>WHOEVER HAD DONE IT, HAD BEEN ALMOST A MANIAC.>>CALLED ME CHARLES MANSON IN BIG, THREE-INCH LETTERS, FRONT PAGE.>>Narrator: HE WAS CONVICTED AND PUT AWAY FOR LIFE, BUT HE ALWAYS CLAIMED HIS INNOCENCE AND WAS DETERMINED TO PROVE IT.>>HE LITERALLY SOLVED HIS OWN MURDER CASE FROM PRISON.>>HE CONVINCED THEM THAT, “WAIT A MINUTE. WE HAVE AN INNOCENT MAN HERE.”>>Narrator: ON THE NIGHT OF MAY 23, 1991, A FIRE BROKE OUT IN A RURAL FARMHOUSE IN UPSTATE NEW YORK. [ SIREN WAILING ] BY THE TIME FIREMEN GOT THERE, IT WAS ENTIRELY ENGULFED IN FLAMES.>>THEY REALIZED THAT THE OCCUPANT, SABINA KULAKOWSKI, WAS MISSING, DAYLIGHT WAS COMING, AND THEN THE FIREMEN AND OTHERS WERE, BASICALLY, LOOKING FOR HER.>>Narrator: EMERGENCY WORKERS FOUND SABINA KULAKOWSKI’S BODY ABOUT 100 YARDS FROM THE HOUSE ON AN OVERGROWN FOOTPATH.>>SHE WAS NAKED. SHE HAD BEEN BRUTALLY MURDERED, STABBED, BEATEN, BURNED, BITTEN.>>Narrator: SABINA WAS 49 YEARS OLD.>>BECAME PRETTY OBVIOUS RIGHT AWAY THAT WHOEVER HAD DONE IT IS SOMEBODY THAT, WELL, QUITE HONESTLY, HAD TO HAVE BEEN ALMOST A MANIAC.>>Narrator: THE EVIDENCE SHOWED THAT SHE WAS IN THE HOUSE WHEN THE FIRE STARTED.>>AT SOME POINT, SABINA WAS ALIVE IN OR ABOUT THE STRUCTURE WHEN IT WAS BURNING, BECAUSE SHE DID HAVE SOME SOOT IN HER LUNGS.>>Narrator: BETWEEN THE FARMHOUSE AND SABINA’S BODY, POLICE FOUND A RED T-SHIRT STAINED WITH SABINA’S BLOOD. FIRE INVESTIGATORS FOUND TRACES OF ACCELERANT INSIDE THE HOUSE AND QUICKLY RULED THE BLAZE AN ARSON. INVESTIGATORS THOUGHT THE CRIME WAS ONE OF PASSION.>>RAGE. PURE RAGE, PERHAPS MOTIVATED BY A DESIRE TO GET REVENGE.>>Narrator: SABINA KULAKOWSKI LIVED IN THE FARMHOUSE ALONE. HER BOYFRIEND, RON BENCH, LIVED THERE WITH HER UNTIL THEY BROKE UP A FEW MONTHS BEFORE THE FIRE.>>BY ALL ACCOUNTS, IT WAS AN AMICABLE BREAKUP, AND THEY REMAINED FRIENDS. THEY CONTINUED TO ASSOCIATE WITH ONE ANOTHER, BUT THEY HAD ENDED THEIR BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND RELATIONSHIP.>>Narrator: RON BENCH HAD AN ALIBI FOR THE NIGHT OF THE FIRE — HE WAS IN AUBURN, NEW YORK, AN HOUR’S DRIVE AWAY, AND FRIENDS CORROBORATED HIS ALIBI. AND POLICE HAD ANOTHER SUSPECT. SABINA WAS A SOCIAL WORKER FOR THE STATE OF NEW YORK. HER SUPERIORS WERE DEALING WITH A DISGRUNTLED MAN WHO THREATENED TO KILL EVERYONE IN THE OFFICE UNLESS HE WAS GIVEN CUSTODY OF HIS DAUGHTER.>>HE WAS ANGRY WITH THE CHILD-PROTECTIVE AGENCY BECAUSE THEY HAD PLACED HIS DAUGHTER IN FOSTER CARE, AND HE DID NOT LIKE THAT.>>Narrator: ROY BROWN SPENT SIX MONTHS IN JAIL FOR MAKING THOSE THREATS AND WAS RELEASED JUST SIX DAYS BEFORE SABINA’S MURDER.>>HIS ALIBI WAS THAT HE WAS WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND THE ENTIRE NIGHT. AND HE GAVE A NAME. HE GAVE A LOCATION WHERE THEY WERE. AND THEY CHECKED ON IT AND FOUND OUT THAT HIS GIRLFRIEND ACTUALLY WAS IN JAIL THAT NIGHT. SO HE OBVIOUSLY WAS LYING TO THEM ABOUT HIS WHEREABOUTS.>>Narrator: BROWN DENIED ANY INVOLVEMENT, BUT HE WAS ARRESTED FOR ARSON AND MURDER.>>CALLED ME UP THE DAY BEFORE AND SAID, “WE’RE GONNA COME OVER AND ARREST YOU.” I SAID, “COME ON.” [ LAUGHS ] “ARE YOU GUYS SERIOUS?” AND, YEAH, THEY CAME OVER AND ARRESTED ME, ALL RIGHT. “10:00 IN THE MORNING? SURE, COME PICK ME UP FOR A MURDER CHARGE.” THEN I HAD TO SIT ON THE PORCH ‘CAUSE THEY WERE 15 MINUTES LATE.>>Narrator: ROY BROWN WAS THE PRIME SUSPECT IN THE MURDER OF SABINA KULAKOWSKI. HE EARNED THAT DISTINCTION BY THREATENING TO KILL EVERYONE IN SABINA’S OFFICE, DUE TO A CHILD-CUSTODY DISPUTE.>>ROY WAS NOT A GOOD GUY. ROY HAD ANGER-MANAGEMENT ISSUES. HE DID HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD. NOTHING OF ANY GREAT CONSEQUENCE, BUT ENOUGH SO THAT, YOU KNOW, IT’S NOT THE KIND OF GUY THAT YOU’D WANT TO REALLY HANG OUT WITH, NECESSARILY. HE WAS INVOLVING HIMSELF IN SOME BAD ACTIVITIES, AS FAR AS, YOU KNOW, DRINKING AND WHATEVER ELSE. AND HE HAD NO REAL ALIBI FOR WHERE HE WAS AT THAT POINT.>>Narrator: BROWN INSISTED HE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ARSON OR SABINA’S MURDER. BUT THE CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE WAS COMPELLING. BROWN WAS OFFERED A PLEA BARGAIN, BUT REFUSED.>>I TOLD THEM TO GO SCREW THEMSELVES. YOU KNOW, I TOLD THE ONE LAWYER, “YOU KNOW, I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG.” HE SAID, “IT DOESN’T MATTER. THEY’RE GONNA SEND YOU TO PRISON, ANYWAY.”>>Narrator: SO ROY BROWN WENT ON TRIAL. PROSECUTORS FOUND TWO WITNESSES WHO SAID BROWN WAS PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE.>>ROY BROWN’S WIFE AND A GIRLFRIEND — BOTH OF THEM STATED UNDER OATH THAT HE WAS A BITER. THEY SAID, WHEN HE WAS ANGRY, HE WOULD BITE THEM AND HE USED BITING AS A FORM OF TRYING TO CONTROL THEM.>>Narrator: COINCIDENTALLY, SABINA KULAKOWSKI WAS BITTEN BEFORE SHE WAS KILLED, AND PROSECUTORS ASKED A FORENSIC ODONTOLOGIST TO COMPARE THE BITE MARKS TO BROWN’S TEETH.>>AND ROY BROWN’S BITE PATTERN MATCHED SOME OF THE BITE MARKS ON SABINA’S BODY.>>Narrator: BUT THE FORENSIC ODONTOLOGIST HIRED BY THE DEFENSE CLAIMED THE OPPOSITE. HE SAID THE BITE WOUNDS ON SABINA’S BODY WERE CREATED BY SOMEONE WITH SIX FRONT, UPPER TEETH, AND BROWN DIDN’T HAVE THEM.>>AND HE WAS VERY CLEAR AND VERY ADAMANT IN REGARD TO EXCLUDING ROY AS THE PERSON WHO LEFT THOSE BITE MARKS.>>Narrator: THE JURY SIDED WITH THE PROSECUTION AND CONVICTED ROY BROWN OF SABINA’S MURDER. HE WAS SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON.>>THERE WAS NO REAL EVIDENCE THAT ROY BROWN KNEW SABINA KULAKOWSKI, MUCH LESS WHERE SHE LIVED.>>Narrator: WHEN BROWN GOT TO HIS PRISON CELL, HE REFUSED TO SLEEP ON THE BED BECAUSE HE SAID IT BELONGED TO A KILLER, NOT HIM.>>I TOLD THEM THAT WHEN I WENT IN THERE THE FIRST NIGHT. “I’LL SLEEP ON THE FLOOR. THAT BED DON’T BELONG TO ME. THAT’S MY DESK.” I TURNED IT INTO AN OFFICE DESK. AND THEIR MATTRESS, I TOOK AN OLD BELT AND AN OLD PIECE OF STRING AND I MADE A CHAIR OUT OF IT AND SAT IT DOWN. “THAT’S MY LAW SCHOOL.”>>Narrator: BROWN FILED SEVERAL APPEALS, AND ALL WERE DENIED, YET, HE CONTINUED TO WORK TO CLEAR HIS NAME.>>YOU CAN’T GET INTO THE LAW LIBRARY UNLESS YOU BRIBE SOMEBODY OR PAY SOMEBODY, ‘CAUSE THE FIRST THING THEY’RE GONNA DO IS BEAT THE HELL OUT OF YOU FOR BEING THERE, JUST TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU KNOW WHO’S IN CHARGE.>>Narrator: BROWN ALSO TOLD HIS LAWYER, “I’M LEARNING A LOT FROM TV SHOWS LIKE ‘FORENSIC FILES.'”>>I’VE STUDIED LAW BOOKS, APPEALS IN OTHER CASES, FORENSIC SCIENCE, ANYTHING I COULD TRY TO UTILIZE TO PROVE MY INNOCENCE.>>Narrator: BROWN PETITIONED THE COURT FOR DNA TESTING OF THE SALIVA FOUND ON SABINA’S T-SHIRT, BUT THIS REQUEST, TOO, WAS DENIED.>>I DON’T KNOW WHO SAID THE WHEELS OF JUSTICE TURN SLOWLY, BUT THEY ARE FLAT. AND I’M FIXING TO JACK ‘EM UP, CHANGE THE TIRES, AND THROW A NEW SPARE IN THE TRUNK.>>IT HAD TO BE DISCOURAGING. I WOULD THINK THAT IT WOULD — COULD END UP AND SAY, “I’VE HAD ENOUGH.”>>Narrator: THEN SOMETHING FORTUITOUS HAPPENED. AFTER SPENDING 12 YEARS IN PRISON, A FIRE BROKE OUT IN BROWN’S PARENTS’ HOME, DESTROYING ALL 570 PAGES OF HIS CASE FILE. AND THAT FIRE CHANGED THE COURSE OF THE INVESTIGATION.>>Narrator: 12 YEARS AFTER HIS MURDER CONVICTION, ROY BROWN LEARNED THAT A FIRE IN HIS PARENTS’ HOME DESTROYED HIS COPIES OF HIS CASE FILE — ALL 570 PAGES. UNDETERRED, BROWN WANTED TO REPLACE IT, USING WHAT LITTLE MONEY HE HAD.>>SO HE WENT AND PAID HIS 15 CENTS A PAGE THAT HE’S ENTITLED TO UNDER LAW, AND THROUGH THE STATE’S FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW, OBTAINED THESE STATEMENTS.>>Narrator: BROWN REQUESTED DUPLICATE COPIES OF EVERYONE WHO GAVE STATEMENTS TO POLICE DURING THE MURDER INVESTIGATION.>>YEAH, THERE WAS LIKE $28.50 I HAD TO SEND THEM FROM JAIL. I ONLY MADE LIKE $4 EVERY TWO WEEKS — $4.20.>>Narrator: THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE SENT BROWN A LIST OF EVERYONE THE POLICE INTERVIEWED, AND THAT’S WHEN BROWN REALIZED THERE WERE FOUR AFFIDAVITS IN THE FILE HE HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE.>>ROY GOT THE LIST, LOOKED AT IT, AND SAID, “WAIT A MINUTE. WHAT ARE ALL THESE STATEMENTS? WHO ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE, WHO STATEMENTS I’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE?”>>Narrator: THERE WERE SEVERAL STATEMENTS FROM BARRY BENCH AND HIS WIFE, TAMMY HEISNER, WHO WERE PART OWNERS OF THE FARMHOUSE THAT BURNED DOWN WHEN SABINA KULAKOWSKI LIVED THERE. TAMMY TOLD POLICE THAT BARRY BEHAVED SUSPICIOUSLY WHEN THEY GOT TO THE FIRE SCENE.>>WHY ARE WE STOPPING HERE?>>LOOK AROUND AND SEE IF YOU SEE ANY EVIDENCE.>>LIKE WHAT?>>LIKE, I DON’T KNOW, JUST LOOK!>>Narrator: SHE CLAIMED HE WANTED TO SEARCH AN AREA 100 YARDS FROM THE FARMHOUSE.>>WE HAD PARKED DOWN THE STREET FROM THE FARM. AND HE HAD MENTIONED TO ME THAT MAYBE WE SHOULD GO DOWN BY THE CAR AND START BACK UP ON OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE ROAD, LOOKING FOR EVIDENCE OR SOMETHING, YOU KNOW, JUST TO SEE IF THERE WAS ANYTHING AMISS OR WHATEVER.>>Narrator: TO ROY BROWN, THIS WAS A CRITICAL PIECE OF INFORMATION. SABINA KULAKOWSKI’S BODY WAS DISCOVERED IN THAT SAME AREA AROUND DAYBREAK.>>THEY’RE STILL BATTLING THE BLAZE, YOU KNOW? AND HE’S NOT EVEN UP THERE HELPING. YOU KNOW? HE’S WALKING DOWN THE ROAD, LOOKING WAY OVER HERE. IF HE WAS SO CONCERNED, WHY WOULDN’T HE BE LOOKING UP THERE?>>Narrator: AND BARRY CLAIMED HE HAD AN ALIBI FOR THE TIME THE FIRE STARTED. HE SAID HE WAS DRINKING IN A LOCAL BAR UNTIL 1:30 IN THE MORNING. BUT A BAR PATRON CLAIMED BENCH LEFT THE BAR AROUND MIDNIGHT.>>HE WAS UNACCOUNTED FOR, FOR ABOUT AN HOUR AND A HALF.>>MY REPORTING ON BARRY BENCH SHOWED THAT HE HAD, AS I UNDERSTOOD, QUITE A TEMPER.>>Narrator: BARRY BENCH HAD A PRIOR ARREST AND MISDEMEANOR CONVICTION FOR PHYSICALLY ASSAULTING A YOUNG GIRL, WHO LATER GOT A RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST HIM.>>ONE NEIGHBOR THAT I INTERVIEWED SAID THAT SHE ACTUALLY WORKED WITH HIM AND WAS AFRAID OF HIM. HE HAD A PROBLEM WITH WOMEN, ACCORDING TO THIS WOMAN.>>Narrator: SO TAKING MATTERS INTO HIS OWN HANDS, BROWN WROTE A LETTER TO BARRY BENCH, ACCUSING HIM OF MURDER.>>”ATTENTION, BARRY BENCH. I WILL EASILY GET A COURT ORDER TO OBTAIN SAMPLES FROM YOU FOR DNA TESTING. AFTER SUCH A [BLEEP] UP THING YOU DID TO KILL THAT LADY, SABINA KULAKOWSKI, AND MY FALSE IMPRISONMENT FOR OVER A DOZEN YEARS, I STILL PRAY FOR YOU. I PRAY NOT ONLY THAT YOU CONFESS TO KILLING SABINA KULAKOWSKI, I PRAY YOU CONFESS TO ALL YOUR SINS. AND MARK MY WORDS, THEY WILL EVENTUALLY FIND OUT YOUR GUILT. HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS, BUT DON’T COUNT ON A HAPPY NEW YEAR.”>>Narrator: BROWN HOPED THAT BENCH MIGHT REPLY AND LICK THE ENVELOPE FLAP, IN EFFECT, SENDING HIS DNA SAMPLE. INSTEAD, BENCH WALKED IN FRONT OF AN ONCOMING AMTRAK TRAIN AND KILLED HIMSELF.>>WELL, ACTUALLY, I WAS KIND OF TICKED OFF BECAUSE I FIGURED, “[BLEEP] GOT AWAY. HOW AM I GONNA GO TO COURT AND GET A TEST ON THIS GUY NOW THAT HE’S DEAD?”>>Narrator: BROWN NEEDED TO FIND ANOTHER WAY TO GET BENCH’S DNA. HE WAS SO DESPERATE, HE CONSIDERED STEALING IT.>>I WAS TRYING TO HAVE MY FAMILY GO TO THE FUNERAL AND CLIP HIS FINGERNAILS AND CUT HIS HAIR WHILE HE WAS IN THE BOX. [ CHUCKLES ] FIGURE OUT A WAY TO GET SOME DNA FROM HIM. WHEN YOU WERE WHERE I WAS AT, MEASURES BECOME DESPERATE, AND CONSEQUENCES FOR GETTING CAUGHT DON’T MEAN ANYTHING WHEN YOU’RE SERVING LIFE FOR SOMETHING YOU DIDN’T DO.>>Narrator: FOR 12 YEARS, ROY BROWN SAT IN PRISON FOR SABINA KULAKOWSKI’S MURDER. AFTER FAILING TO GET A NEW TRIAL, BROWN CONTACTED THE INNOCENCE PROJECT IN NEW YORK, ASKING THEM FOR HELP.>>THE INNOCENCE PROJECT WAS FOUNDED A LITTLE OVER 15 YEARS AGO TO HELP CONVICTED PRISONERS USE WHAT WAS THEN A NEW TECHNOLOGY — DNA TESTING — TO PROVE THAT THEY WERE WRONGFULLY CONVICTED AND INNOCENT OF THE CRIMES FOR WHICH THEY WERE IN PRISON.>>Narrator: THE INNOCENCE PROJECT ACCEPTED BROWN’S CASE. WHILE DOING SOME RESEARCH, THE INNOCENCE PROJECT LEARNED THAT BEFORE BROWN’S TRIAL, PROSECUTORS CONSULTED DR. LOWELL LEVINE, A WELL-KNOWN FORENSIC ODONTOLOGIST, BUT CHOSE NOT TO CALL HIM AS A WITNESS.>>WE WERE, FOR THE FIRST TIME, GIVEN DOCUMENTS SHOWING THAT THE STATE’S OWN EXPERT, DR. LOWELL LEVINE, HAD REACHED SOME VERY SIGNIFICANT CONCLUSIONS THAT CAST ENORMOUS DOUBT ON ROY’S GUILT BEFORE HIS CASE EVER WENT TO TRIAL.>>WELL, I NEVER FINISHED MY ANALYSIS. IN MY NOTES, IN FACT, I HAVE ONE NOTE ON ONE OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS THAT IF WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR, IF WHAT I THOUGHT WAS AN UPPER WAS, IN FACT, AN UPPER, I WOULD EXCLUDE MR. BROWN.>>Narrator: SO THE INNOCENCE PROJECT PETITIONED THE COURT FOR PERMISSION TO TEST THE VICTIM’S RED T-SHIRT FOUND AT THE CRIME SCENE, THINKING IT MIGHT CONTAIN SALIVA.>>IT’S NOT IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND DNA AFTER A 15-YEAR CASE, BUT IT MAKES IT A LITTLE BIT MORE DIFFICULT.>>Narrator: ANALYST TIM GOBLE EXAMINED THE SHIRT WITH AN ALTERNATE LIGHT SOURCE. BIOLOGICAL MATERIAL FLUORESCES WHEN HIT WITH THIS LIGHT.>>THERE WERE A NUMBER OF FLUORESCENT STAINS ON THE T-SHIRT. AND SOME OF THEM WERE NEAR THE MARKINGS THAT WERE MADE BY THE PREVIOUS EXAMINER.>>Narrator: NOT SURPRISINGLY, THE STAINS WERE NEAR THE BITE HOLES — AN INDICATION THEY WERE LEFT BY THE PERSON WHO BIT THE VICTIM, PRESUMABLY HER KILLER. GOBLE REMOVED THE FABRIC AND PERFORMED STR DNA TESTING, WHICH IS EVEN MORE EXACTING THAN PCR TESTING. THE RESULT — THE DNA PROFILE FROM THE SALIVA ON THE T-SHIRT DID NOT MATCH ROY BROWN. BUT WHOSE WAS IT? BARRY BENCH’S DAUGHTER, KATHERINE ECKSTADT, OFFERED TO HELP OUT.>>HIS DAUGHTER WAS A VERY COURAGEOUS YOUNG WOMAN, WHO SAID, “I WANT THE TRUTH. I WANT TO KNOW IF MY FATHER COMMITTED THIS MURDER AND IF ROY BROWN IS INNOCENT.” SHE ACTUALLY CONTACTED US AFTER OUR PAPERS WERE FILED IN COURT ORIGINALLY AND SAID, “IF YOU EVER NEED ME, I’LL GIVE YOU A DNA SAMPLE.”>>Narrator: THE DNA ANALYSIS CONFIRMED WHAT ROY BROWN ALREADY KNEW — THAT THE SALIVA STAINS ON SABINA KULAKOWSKI’S T-SHIRT HAD COME FROM BARRY BENCH.>>THE PATERNITY TESTING SHOWED THAT THE JOHN DOE DNA ON THE SHIRT CAME FROM THE FATHER OF THIS YOUNG WOMAN, KATHERINE ECKSTADT, WHO WAS BARRY BENCH’S DAUGHTER.>>Narrator: UNBELIEVABLY, WHEN THIS EVIDENCE WAS PRESENTED TO THE COURT, THE JUDGE REFUSED TO GRANT A NEW TRIAL. HE SAID HE HAD NO PROOF THAT BARRY BENCH WAS KATHERINE’S BIOLOGICAL FATHER.>>YOU WOULD THINK YOU’D BE HOME THE NEXT DAY. YOU WOULDN’T THINK PEOPLE WOULD DRAG THIS OUT.>>THIS IS WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE I’M DEALING WITH.>>Narrator: WITH PRESSURE MOUNTING, THE STATE OF NEW YORK EVENTUALLY EXHUMED BARRY BENCH’S BODY AND TOOK A DNA SAMPLE. IT CONCLUSIVELY MATCHED THE SALIVA ON SABINA KULAKOWSKI’S T-SHIRT, AND ROY BROWN WAS FINALLY RELEASED FROM PRISON 15 YEARS TO THE DAY HE WAS CONVICTED. [ SOFT GUITAR MUSIC PLAYS ]>>AND I WAS THINKING TO MYSELF, “I GOT VICTORY. I PROVED MY INNOCENCE. WITHOUT ANY DOUBT, I SHOWED I DIDN’T DO IT, AND I SHOWED SOMEBODY ELSE DID DO IT.” OKAY? THEY CAN’T TAKE THAT FROM ME. YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING? THEY CAN’T OPEN THEIR MOUTH ANYMORE ABOUT ANYTHING.>>I MADE IT VERY CLEAR TO ROY BROWN THAT I REGRETTED VERY MUCH THE SITUATION THAT HE FOUND HIMSELF IN.>>Narrator: BUT THE QUESTION REMAINS — WHY DID BARRY BENCH MURDER SABINA KULAKOWSKI? BARRY BENCH AND SABINA WERE ACQUAINTANCES. SABINA LIVED WITH BARRY’S BROTHER, RON, UNTIL THEY BROKE UP A MONTH BEFORE THE FIRE. ACCORDING TO FRIENDS, BARRY BENCH WAS IN FINANCIAL TROUBLE AND MAY HAVE WANTED TO SELL THE FARMHOUSE WHERE SABINA WAS STAYING. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED THAT NIGHT, BUT THE FORENSIC EVIDENCE SHOWS BARRY WENT TO THE FARMHOUSE TO SPEAK WITH SABINA.>>WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?>>Narrator: THERE WAS AN ARGUMENT AND THINGS TURNED VIOLENT.>>NO! NO!>>Narrator: THE THEORY IS THAT BARRY SET FIRE TO THE FARMHOUSE AND WAS ABOUT TO LEAVE WHEN HE REALIZED THAT SABINA WASN’T DEAD. THERE WAS ANOTHER FIGHT OUTSIDE. BY THIS TIME, HE COULDN’T TAKE HER BODY BACK INTO THE FARMHOUSE. THE FIRE WAS TOO ADVANCED, SO HE DRAGGED HER BODY TO THE FOOTPATH 100 YARDS AWAY AND LEFT HER THERE.>>WHY ARE WE STOPPING HERE?>>Narrator: THIS EXPLAINS WHY BARRY SEARCHED THAT AREA LATER, AFTER FIREFIGHTERS ARRIVED. HE WANTED TO MAKE SURE SHE WAS DEAD.>>I HAVE NEVER HAD A CASE WHERE THE CLIENT SOLVED HIS OWN CRIME FROM BEHIND HIS PRISON CELL, USING NOTHING BUT A PEN AND PAPER. HE REALLY DID ALL THE HARD WORK.>>DNA EVIDENCE, MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, CONVICTS PEOPLE. BUT IT CAN ALSO EXONERATE THEM. AND NOW I THINK WHAT THE CASE OF ROY BROWN SERVES AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE FACT THAT PROSECUTORS AND POLICE NOW MUST BE — MUST BE MORE THOROUGH. THEY CAN’T JUST, YOU KNOW, BE FOCUSED ON ONE INDIVIDUAL, AND THAT’S IT.>>THEY LOCKED ME UP, AND THEY MADE ME TURN A CELL INTO AN OFFICE, A BED INTO A DESK, AND A MATTRESS INTO A CHAIR. AND LAW BOOKS — I USED THEM INSTEAD OF WEAPONS. I USED THAT PEN AND THAT TYPEWRITER. I BEAT THE [BLEEP] WITH THEIR OWN STICKS. SEE? 5th-GRADE EDUCATION GOES A LONG WAY WHEN YOU’RE PLAYING WITH A BUNCH OF CORRUPT [BLEEP] THEY CAN’T EVEN FRAME ANYBODY RIGHT. THAT’S HOW STUPID THEM COLLEGE GENIUSES ARE. ♪ WHEN I SHOULD GO ♪

100 thoughts on “Forensic Files – Season 12, Ep 16: Freedom Fighter

  • Poor Roy, also Bench's daughter deserves some recognition for volunteering her dna without them even contacting her.

  • Yes, Roy is not a nice or good person, but he still wasn't the criminal or responsible for the crime, and was a scapegoat. while he was imprisoned the real killer lived free

  • Creepy does not mean you’re a criminal. Good job for not giving up! That bed really didn’t belong to you….

  • Their closed minds threw an innocent person in prison and caused a killer to walk free all those years. A person with a low education solved the case in prison. And all these people with their college and extra training and experience got it wrong. Totally incompetent justice system.

  • at least this prosecutor eventually apologized, although he should be removed from his job for this mistake. There are a lot others in this system who are arrogant and ignorance and refuse to admit and correct their mistakes, like that judge and those who refuse his appeal and reject his request to test DNA and a new trial in this case. Those are the ones who should get death penalty for their crime.

  • Our justice system and our social services systems are broken.

    Never just assume what the prosecution says is true. Never just assume what "expert witnesses" say is true.

    If you're ever a juror make sure you decide based on the FACTS.
    Not "Well, he probably did it..and the prosecutor and his witnesses have no motives to lie"
    Because they do have motives to lie. And expert witnesses are paid to give the testimony wanted by whoever is paying them.

    They'll send the same evidence out to 5 "expert witnesses" and even if 4 say it doesn't match, they'll use the ONE that'll testify that it does..and not reveal the fact that 4 others said it didn't match. They don't have to disclose that at trial, so they don't disclose it.

    If a prosecutor wants a bite mark to match all he has to do is send it out to 5 different "forensic odontologists" and they all know if they don't return the answer the prosecutor wants they're not gonna be used in trial, and thus aren't going to get paid nearly as much.

  • Even with DNA showing the person imprisoned WAS DEFINITELY NOT THE PERSON WHO BIT HER, and that IT BELONGED to the FATHER of the woman who's proclaimed father was a suspect, the judge didn't overturn the guys conviction because "we have no proof he was her biological father, even though he claimed to be"

    That shows you just how far the "justice system" will go to keep those wrongfully convicted from being set free.

    Because if you set him free it opens you up to liability and you can be sued.

    There's even laws in place in most states that substantially limit how much you can sue them for for wrongfully imprisoning you like that.

    They're set so low that they don't even come out to minimum wage over the period the person was imprisoned for, even if you only counted 8 hours per day of their imprisonment.

    That judge should be held liable for that decision. Judges should be made to be liable for the consequences of their negligent actions. Others have to suffer the consequences of them, so the judge should have to as well.

  • Whenever a prosecutor convicts an innocent man, they and the judge should have to serve 25% of the prison time the person they wrongfully convicted served.

    Only then would we even POSSIBLY see an honest justice system STARTING TO take shape.

  • Would anyone here agree to go through what this guy went through for 2.6mil?
    Possibly not being proven innocent?

    These grievous miscarriages of justice NEED PUNISHMENT FOR THE PROSECUTORS.

    As long as prosecutors go unpunished for doing things like this, they're going to keep happening.

    They see it as "collateral damage..just the cost of doing business"

    That money doesn't come out of their pockets, but it should.

    The prosecutors and judges in cases like this should be on the hook for paying the state restitution.

  • What I don't understand is, if ruling out Roy Brown as the source of the saliva wasn't enough to convince the judge Roy was innocent, how could matching the DNA to Barry Bench be anymore convincing to the judge that Roy Brown was innocent? If they realized Roy Brown wasn't the source, the judge should had exonerated Roy then. If the only reason why the judge did not exonerate Roy was because Roy could potentially had had an accomplice who was the source of the saliva, why did the judge exonerate Roy Brown after the DNA matched Barry Bench? Exonerating Roy Brown was the right thing to do, but that judge didn't make up his mind on whether or not the mismatched DNA was insufficient evidence of Roy Brown's innocence.

  • "Then I had to sit on the porch and they was 15 minutes late." (angry face) I lost it at this point! Haha 4:40 It was like that was the most messed up thing that happened to him out of all of it

  • 21:27 THAT IS A GREAT MAN RIGHT THERE AND I HOPE THAT HISTORY JUDGES HIM AS SUCH!!! OL' ROY WAS TELLING THA TRUTH THA ENTIRE TIME!! LOVE THIS PARTICULAR PART THO 💪💪

  • This case is the poster-child of the "just-us" institution doing everthing possible to keep itself from embarrassment at the expense of everyone except itself.

    I hope he got $100k for every year that he spent in prison & restitution from every juror.

  • 20:49 Definitely need to add so-called "Judges" to that list too — some of them M-F'ers have ZERO ability to exercise judgement.

  • Pobre hombre,preso por un crimen que no cometio,ojala el asesino pague en la otra vida,por haber callado su culpa!!!

  • I wonder if the court at least compensated Roy with some monetary reparations. Or at least give him a music record deal.

  • Great idea threatening to kill all of the social workers unless he was given custody of his daughter, I'm sure that really helped his case!!
    Sounds like he deserved to be wrongly imprisoned for a while….dickhead by all accounts. He got caught with $500 heroin whilst driving…..Sounds like he's been busy with 2.6 mil comp he was awarded, since his release LOL

  • Wow what a POS. Letting that innocent man go to prison. How could he live with himself for so long? But that should teach that guy to go running his mouth making death threats. Good story …

  • They knew from the results found by their own expert that they had the wrong man. Can't trust the justice system or police. Damn shame. Imagine how many people have been wrongfully convicted

  • Well, Christmas is tomorrow, my gift to you is mark my words, your guilt. Have a Merry X-Mas, but don't count on a happy new year.
    May you reach and find GOD before God reaches and finds you

    Best. Roast. Ever.

    ~side note~

    Also pissed that the actual killer committed suicide to avoid being judged by law…he avoided being tried by people…but isnt going to avoid being tried by God (or by any other higher being that exists out there).

  • This is the proof that Justice System has flaws of its own and the damage done by it too can never be changed ever becoz one can never ever go back through Time.

  • Later on, illegal drugs were found in Brown's home. Case was dismissed on several grounds. He might have been set up. Maybe, maybe not.

  • Funny thing, Roy didn't have his top front teeth, so how in the hell could he leave bite marks with front teeth impressions. And let's not forget the evidence planting scandals that tarnished the NY state police in the 80s and 90s.

  • I would not be surprised if the cops f*** with this guy in the street because he made them look like what. 😲😲😤😠👎 they are dirty corrupt🐷🐖🐽 worthless and they don't give a. 💩💩💩 s*** about the community in the people they..🤔🤔🤔are supposed to protect….

  • where are all the morons who scream EXECUTE?! you should be consistent. just kill everyone and say oops later.

  • amazing. Roy Brown! Thank you for never giving up! You are amazing and can do anything in life. Looking forward to see what you're next step is.

  • The most ironic thing was that Barry Bench did exactly what Roy Brown had originally threatened; kill one of the social workers and then kill himself before being sent to jail.

  • Wisdom god is grate some forensic investigations are proper but this one was dumb the guy deserve [email protected] honour en the money is too small 15 years very little how many brothers out there going through this,[email protected] why Abu jamal need to be fund raised for radio station [email protected] will address the grievances of some prisoners who did nothing I guess they plenty

  • Despite tooth marks not matching the suspects he was still convicted. And they refused to test the sliva!!! What an ignorant bunch of investigators and judge.

  • This is a good example of when the police and the prossecuters gets "tunnelvision" thank god that he didn't land on death row. And a judge that refuse to giwe him a new trial. that's disgutsing! I hope people that is for deathsenteses watch this too. How many innocent people do you think they put to "sleep" every year? Most of them are non cocations and how much longer would they keep it up? Everytime this happends a guilty and propably dangerous person walks free.

  • Roy is a scumbag, but he’s a smart scumbag. If only he had been motivated to do well in school, he could have been a lawyer with a lawyer’s salary.

  • Just goes to show that just because a person has a criminal past, does not necessarily mean they will become a murderer. Very inspirational episode!

  • I dont get it how in the hell his pettitions was not granted, he was convicted bcoz he beatup his partners. the prosecuto and the investigator screwed him, i hope he filed a lawsuit for 12 yrs hes in prison.

  • One of my favorites!! Feel bad he had to solve it and those with the experience to solve crimes failed him.. horrible

  • I HOPE TO GOD HE SUED THE SHIT OUT OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE JUDGE, PROSECUTORS AND ANYONE AND EVERYONE THAT HELPED LOCK HIM UP. 15YRS OF HIS LIFE AND HE WAS INNOCENT. HE SHOULD BE SET FOR LIFE. THEY HID EVIDENCE AND WITNESS TESTIMONY JUST TO GET A PROSECUTION.

  • bite marks is fake science, skin is too soft and changes, as bad or worse than witnesses and polygraphs…a quick way to convict a person and for DAs to climb the stairs of power

  • I cannot call this guy innocent in the truest sense, but he sure as heck did not do what he was convicted for. I hope he lives a peaceful, great and meaningful life from here on in.

  • Death penalty can reduce crime rates but people don't like death penalty because there are too many stupid judges and jury. An innocent man like Brown was convicted because of their stupidity. If Bench, a violent criminal, was lock up, violent crime rate would reduce significantly.

  • I’m so glad he started cursing those people who locked him up in the end. I probably woulda punched them.

  • RIP to Roy Brown, died July 12, 2019. This is my favorite FF episode and Roy Brown will forever be my hero. He beat the corrupt officials at their own game.

  • @18:28 this a-hole has the nerve to say he regrets the situation Mr. Brown "found himself in". God I just want to smack the guy and say, "no, it's the situation he found himself in, it's the situation YOU PUT HIM IN."

  • I am from Syracuse, Ny. That is only 25 minute drive from cayuga county. Where this crime happened. It sucks that he spend 15 years in prison for something he didn't do. A week ago in our local newspaper. Roy brown passed away. I don't know what from. He was 58 when he died. He died in florida

  • Start a Go FUND HIM page or him. He seems in a good frame of mind considering. I would be more angry for sure!!!

  • I'm glad he got the settlement money from the state but wasn't he convicted based on the evidence presented to them at the time so I at the time it wasn't wrongful. Unless the case wasn't handled properly back then

  • The entire prosecution team and every detective involved in this case should be financially responsible for full reimbursement of every day that man sat in prison and they should be in jail themselves for fraud and perjury

  • Roy Brown should have kept his mouth instead of shouting he will kill everyone in the office ! Roy was in jail for 12 years when his parents house caught fire and his case file was burnt and that did him good ! It took a further three years for the court case to be over totalling 15 years in prison !

  • If Barry Bench (teehee, a silly name) stepped in front of a train, would there be enough of him left to require a body bag or casket?

  • Idiotic cops care about convictions, not about putting the guilty one behind bars. Idiotic cops in this case should spend 15 years in jail like this poor chap did. That DA is the biggest idiot of all. FRY HIM !

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