On April 18, 1984, 89-year-old Loretta Keith was bludgeoned to death with a hydraulic jack during the course of a robbery in her home in Vigo County, Indiana. At first there were no leads, but then Clifford Allison, a friend of David L. Scott’s, secretly recorded Scott confessing to and describing the crime. He gave the recording to the police, who arrested Scott on September 27, 1984.
Scott was mentally challenged and only 16 years old at the time of the crime. He claimed that he had been lying when he was recorded and was only trying to impress his friend. Scott was convicted by a jury in Vigo County Superior Court on March 22, 1985, based largely on this evidence. He was sentenced to 80 years in prison, which was reduced on appeal to 50 years. Four months after he was convicted, Scott’s attorney found a witness, Thomas Abram, who admitted that he had been the driver for the crime and said that another man, Kevin Mark Weeks, had committed the robbery and murder. Scott petitioned for a new trial and was granted a hearing, but denied a new trial by the Vigo County Superior Court, and the denial was affirmed by the Indiana Supreme Court.
Scott then served his sentence until January 2008. Persistent efforts by his sister, Carol Smith, eventually led investigators to conduct DNA tests of blood on a nylon stocking found at the scene – an investigative technology that was not yet available at the time of his trial in 1985. These tests, which were conducted in 2007, showed that it was Weeks, not Scott, who committed the crime. Weeks was quickly arrested, and prosecutors filed a joint motion with Scott’s attorney to dismiss the charges against Scott. He was released by Vigo County Superior Court on January 27, 2008, three months before he would have been eligible for release from prison, after serving half of his sentence.
- Michael S. Perry