Norfolk Four Conviction Overturned
In the five weeks since he was granted a conditional pardon and released from prison, Derek Tice began to start his life over. After twelve years in prison, the Navy veteran landed a construction job and got his first cell phone and e-mail address. On Monday, the member of the group known as the Norfolk Four received a phone call that will change his life forever.
U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams vacated Tice’s conviction for the 1997 rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko, on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. In doing so, Judge Williams granted the habeas corpus petition filed by Tice’s attorneys, including MAIP Board Member Des Hogan.
Tice was released from prison in August along with Danial Williams and Joseph Dick after VA Gov. Timothy Kaine granted the men a conditional pardon . While the pardon released the men from prison, it did not establish their innocence for the crimes.
The men confessed to the crimes during high-pressure interrogations. In the brief, Tice’s attorneys argued that his trial attorney should have tried to keep jurors from hearing his confession on the grounds that police continued to question him after he had invoked his right to remain silent. The federal judge agreed with that statement.
“Had counsel pursued such a motion, there is a reasonable probability that Tice would not have been convicted,” Williams wrote.
A fifth man, Omar Ballard, has confessed to the crimes and is currently incarcerated for killing Moore-Bosko. All of the DNA and forensic evidence from the crime scene match him, his confession is the only one that accurately describes the crime scene and he has continually said that he acted alone in the crime.
Tice told the Associated Press that he was “flabbergasted” by the news and that “hopefully this is one more step to get my life back, and get back to where I was before all this happened.” He added that he will continue to fight to help Dick, Williams and Eric Wilson, completely clear their names of the crime.
To read the Judge’s ruling that exonerated Derek Tice, click here.