INNOCENT WOMAN TO RETURN HOME AFTER 17 YEARS IN PRISON BASED ON A NOTORIOUS LIAR’S FABRICATED STORY
|September 18, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||Contact: Deirdre O’Connor Cell: (310) 780-4522|
TORRANCE, CA. – Innocence Matters filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus for Susan Mellen on September 18. This is one of the last steps before Ms. Mellen’s release.
Ms. Mellen was wrongfully connected to a gruesome murder 17 years ago solely on the word of a notorious pathological liar, June Patti, who fabricated a confession and attributed it to Ms. Mellen. Until 2014, many assumed there was some truth to Patti’s claims. Ms. Mellen was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life without parole on June 5, 1998.
Innocence Matters began investigating Ms. Mellen’s case in November 2013. Three months later, Innocence Matters brought its evidence of innocence to the Los Angeles District Attorney Habeas Litigation Unit (HABLIT) and has been collaborating with Loren Naiman, Deputy District Attorney, and Albert “Joe” Vita and David Jones, Investigators from the HABLIT on a joint investigation since February 2014. Executive Director Deirdre O’Connor said, “The DA’s effort on this case has been extraordinary and all three men are to be commended for their impeccable work.” Innocence Matters also credits HABLIT Head Deputies Steven Katz and Shawn Randolph, and Deputy-in-Charge Judith Pettigrew, for making the early decision to devote necessary resources to this investigation. As a result of this collaborative effort, Ms. Mellen will soon be reunited with her family.
During her seventeen-year incarceration, Ms. Mellen has lost the opportunity to watch her three children grow up and start their own careers and families. As painful as that loss was, Ms. Mellen found the strength to withstand her ordeal, knowing that one day she would be exonerated. She is optimistic and eagerly awaits her freedom and her return to a normal life with her family.
Innocence Matters is particularly interested in improving the quality of indigent defense services and implementing systemic changes that will better protect the innocent and encourage the legal community to more quickly acknowledge and correct errors. It is dedicated to preventing wrongful convictions through education, prevention and reform. To further those efforts, on September 25 Innocence Matters will honor a young woman who bravely secured confirmation of Ms. Mellen’s innocence from one of the murderers with the Courageous Truth Award.