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Glenn Tinney

Other Ohio Murder Exonerations
On August 11, 1988, 33-year-old Ted White was severely beaten in his shop, Akron Mattress and Waterbed Store in Mansfield, Ohio. White died three days later without regaining consciousness. There were no witnesses and no fingerprints or other physical evidence that linked anyone to the crime.

More than three years later, in the spring of 1992, police came to suspect that Matt Mason, who had been convicted of an unrelated murder in the area, was responsible for the murder of White.

A detective decided to interview Glenn Tinney, who was serving a prison term for robbery and who police believed was acquainted with Mason. At that time, Tinney was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and was not taking his medication. At first, Tinney denied knowing anything about the crime, but ultimately Tinney told the detective, Joe Masi, that he and Mason had killed White. In a separate interview two days later, Tinney told Masi that he committed the crime by himself. At one point, Tinney said, “If you want to pin the murder on me, that’s just fine.”

Tinney offered to provide information about the crime in exchange for $250 which he claimed that police owed him so he could buy a radio. He also said he wanted to move to a place where he could drink coffee and smoke cigarettes because smoking was banned in prison. Tinney was provided with money, coffee and cigarettes. According to Masi, Tinney said that he wanted to “rob and torture” White for firing Tinney. He said that he and Mason drove to the store and that he had a handgun hidden in his pants. Tinney told Masi that Mason gave him $1,000 and some drugs after the murder.

In a separate interview, Tinney said that his “master, Satan, told (him) to kill” White. Tinney said he killed White with a pipe wrench and that he took White’s briefcase, some money, drugs, jewelry and a handgun, and that he killed White for calling him a “patsy” and a “pawn” and firing him. Although there were considerable inconsistencies between the statements—and there was no evidence that Tinney ever worked for White—Tinney was brought to Richland County Court of Common Pleas in late April 1992. On May 6, Tinney accepted a plea bargain to avoid being charged with capital murder. He pled guilty to murder and aggravated robbery and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

Tinney was later interviewed by a newspaper reporter and gave a much different account, saying he was in a homosexual relationship with White, that he was running drugs for him and that he was not fired. He said that he stole $30,000 and three kilograms of cocaine as well as some marijuana and heroin from the waterbed store. The reporter showed him a photograph and asked Tinney to identify White. Tinney said he recognized the people in the photograph, even though the photograph was of members of the reporter’s family, not White’s.

In July 1992, two months after Tinney pled guilty, his lawyer filed a motion to withdraw the guilty plea and to have Tinney examined for competence. The motion was denied.

In 2004, acting without an attorney, Tinney filed a motion seeking to withdraw his guilty plea. The motion was denied and his appeal was dismissed in March 2005.

In October 2009, the Ohio Innocence Project—prompted by Mansfield police officers who believed that Mason had acted alone in the murder and that Tinney had falsely confessed— took on the case, and filed a petition for post-conviction relief seeking to withdraw Tinney’s guilty plea.

In March 2011, Richland County Common Pleas Judge James DeWeese granted the motion based on affidavits and other documents in the record, and vacated Tinney’s guilty plea. In January 2012, the Ohio Court of Appeals remanded the case for an evidentiary hearing.

In January 2013, following several days of hearings, Judge DeWeese granted the petition for a new trial. “The comparison of Glenn Tinney’s confessions demonstrates they are not consistent with the known facts about the killing of Ted White or with each other,” the judge ruled. “Mr. Tinney confessed to killing a man he could not identify, for conflicting motives which don’t match the facts, at the wrong time of day, with a weapon that does match the victim’s injuries, by striking him in the wrong part of his head and stealing items the victim either still possess after the attack or probably never possessed.” During the hearing, three police officers who had worked on the case for many years all testified that they believed the evidence showed that Tinney was innocent.

On February 8, 2013, Tinney was released on bond. With no chance of retrying the case (virtually all of the witnesses in the case had died), the prosecution appealed. In July 2014, the Ohio Court of Appeals upheld the decision permitting Tinney to withdraw his guilty plea, and on January 28, 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court declined to review that decision.

In April 2014, Tinney filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Mansfield police and Richland County. U.S. District Judge Patricia Gaughan dismissed the case in February 2016. The dismissal was upheld on appeal.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 3/5/2015
Last Updated: 9/24/2016
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:Robbery
Reported Crime Date:1988
Sentence:15 to life
Age at the date of reported crime:26
Contributing Factors:False Confession, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No