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Milo C. Kerr

In November 1934, 39-year-old locksmith from Long Beach, California, Milo C. Kerr was sentenced to spend five years to life in San Quentin State Prison for the robbery of $500 from the Hollywood Grand Central Market. Kerr maintained his innocence as he began serving his sentence.

Kerr’s attempt to appeal his conviction was denied in June 1935. The following year, when Kerr had been in prison for about eighteen months, he met a new inmate named Roy Witzel (also spelled Wetzel). The two men began talking about how they wound up in prison, and Kerr was astounded to learn that Roy Witzel was one of the three perpetrators of the Hollywood robbery for which Kerr was serving time in prison. Witzel and one of his two accomplices, Shelby Murdock, admitted guilt and confirmed that Kerr had not been involved in the crime – rather Kerr was a victim of eyewitness misidentification.

Based on Grand Jury testimony of Shelby Murdock confirming Kerr’s innocence, as well as the confession of Witzel, Kerr was paroled in November 1937. At the request of the State Advisory Pardon Board and all the justices of the California State Supreme Court, Milo C. Kerr then received a full pardon on April 1, 1938 from California Governor Frank Merriam. In 1949, Milo Kerr died at the age of 54.

- Meghan Barrett Cousino

County:Los Angeles
Most Serious Crime:Robbery
Reported Crime Date:1933
Sentence:5 years to life
Age at the date of crime:39
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID