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Donald Wilson

Other Indiana Exonerations with Perjury or False Accusation
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In September 1995, after 42-year-old Donald Wilson quarreled with his wife, Linda, she took their daughters, ages six and eight, and moved out of their home in Princeton, Indiana.

On September 17, 1995, David Wayne Connor, a friend of Linda’s, agreed to drive Linda and the girls to Donald’s home. Believing Donald was not home, Linda went inside to get food, she later told police.

Linda said that when she was in the kitchen, Donald came up from the basement with a shotgun in hand and threatened to blow her head off. She said that he forced her at gunpoint to go from room to room to determine if anyone else was with her. At some point, she managed to run outside onto a deck where she said Wilson put the gun barrel to her head.

Linda said she yelled for help and ran back inside the house, where she hid in a closet. Connor drove to a nearby police station to tell them what was happening.

Princeton police officer Darryl Sollman arrived at the house. He confronted Donald, who had been unable to find Linda, in the front yard and took the shotgun from him. Linda Wilson came out of the house, and Donald was arrested on a charge of criminal recklessness and a separate charge of pointing a firearm at another person.

Donald went to trial on October 18, 1995 in Gibson County Circuit Court. Connor, Linda Wilson, and the two girls all testified that Wilson pointed the shotgun at Linda’s head. Sollman testified that Wilson admitted to him that he had pointed the gun at Linda’s head but said the gun was not loaded.

On October 19, 1995, the jury convicted Wilson of both charges. He was sentenced to 26 months in prison.

Two months later, in December 1995, Connor recanted his testimony. He provided a sworn statement saying that he and Linda had lied about Donald pointing the shotgun at Linda’s head. Calling Linda a “dangerous and compulsive” liar, Connor said he and Linda had “coached” her daughters to testify that they saw their father point the gun at their mother’s head. Connor also expressed “surprise” that Officer Sollman had testified falsely that Donald admitted pointing the gun.

White also presented sworn statements from Danny and Imelda Decker. They said that in November, Linda and Connor told them that Sollman had lied at the trial, but that Sollman said he would help “fry his ass,” referring to Donald.

Defense attorney Terry White, who had been appointed to handle Donald’s appeal, filed a motion for a new trial based on the affidavits. The prosecution opposed the motion, arguing that Connor’s recantation was not credible because he had since fallen out with Linda and she had taken out an order of protection against him.

Trial judge Earl Penrod denied the motion.

Donald then appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court. While that appeal was pending, he was released from prison on parole on September 28, 1996.

In March 1997, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the convictions and ordered a new trial. “Connor’s affidavit is quite credible because it exposes him, without reservation, to a criminal conviction for perjury, a more serious felony than the felonies with which Wilson stands convicted,” the appeals court said.

On September 2, 1997, the prosecution dismissed the charges.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 9/29/2017
State:Indiana
County:Gibson
Most Serious Crime:Other
Additional Convictions:Illegal Use of a Weapon
Reported Crime Date:1995
Convicted:1995
Exonerated:1997
Sentence:2 years and 2 months
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:42
Contributing Factors:False Confession, Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No