20 Years and Still No Parole
The following is a post from Percy at antimisandry.com.
I put this up in the Activism section in support of Denise
Noe's call for some MRA activism. (Denise is a member here, very occasionally
and a columnist on MND, from where the quote comes.)She brings the case of
William Hetherington who has been in jail now for 20 years. His crime? He was
accused by his wife of spousal rape. He refused to plead guilty. The parole
Board refuses to parole him unless he admits guilt. He insists he is
innocent.There is a terrible injustice here. Denise gives adresses to make
complaints to and Bill's address. This man needs our support.
1) Mary Winkler, who shot her sleeping husband in the back, convicted only
of voluntary manslaughter and released after about a year in custody.
Melissa Drexler, the infamous prom mom, who gave birth in a restroom stall,
strangled her newborn, pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter, and was paroled
after three years in prison.
3) Gertrude Baniszewski committed what might be
the worst torture-slaying ever perpetrated against a single victim. In 1965, she
starved, beat, scalded, and burned 16-year-old Sylvia Likens. I wrote an article
about the barbarism Baniszewski visited on her teen victim and that story can be
Baniszewski was convicted of first-degree murder and paroled after twenty years
In the above cases, the victims were killed and killed not by
accident but on purpose. In the third case, the victim was murdered with
extraordinary and protracted cruelty.By contrast, the supposed victim of Mr.
Hetherington was left very much alive. Yet he has been subjected to the horrors
of prison life for over two decades. It is a blight on American justice that he
is still behind bars.
I again urge my readers to write to the Michigan
Parole Board at the following address.
Michigan Parole Board
PO Box 30003Lansing, MI
mention Mr. Hetherington's name and his inmate number of 186155. Mr.
Hetherington likes copies of letters sent to the parole board to be mailed to
him. His address follows:
William J. Hetherington
City Correctional Facilities
PO Box 5000
Carson City, MI 48811-5000.
Denise gives you some ammunition and the adresses.All you need to do is
spend ten minutes composing a letter to the Board and to Bill, and pay for a
couple of stamps.
I can not stress strongly enough the need for action over this injustice. Twenty years behind bars for spousal rape while murders are walking away serving a mere handful of years for their crimes is ridiculous. Below is the letter I'll be sending to the parole board and I urge others to do so as well.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to you in regard to William J. Hetherington #186155. It recently came to my attention that Mr. Hetherington has been incarcerated for 20 years having been convicted of spousal rape. It’s also been brought to my attention that Mr. Hetherington has been up for parole on more than one occasion during the two decades he’s been imprisoned and has been denied parole each time because he refuses to admit guilt for the crime he’s convicted of. Now, I’m not going to traverse the muddy waters of spousal rape. I’ll not go into the near impossibility of proving rape or consent without the benefit of witnesses. I won't submit examples of how the merits of this case and subsequent conviction are questionable, at best. Nor will I delve into the possibility that a man’s opting to remain incarcerated for two decades as a matter of principal before he’ll admit to committing what he’s been accused of could perhaps be a reflection of his innocence.
What I will address is that Mr. Hetherington has been incarcerated for longer than many murderers. Mary Winkler served a mere year in jail for shooting her husband in the back. A mother, (Denise Solero), received nothing more than 5 years probation for colluding with her boyfriend in the murder of her young daughter. Day in and day out we hear of parents who receive what amounts to little more than a slap on the hand for unthinkable abuses of their children. I could give accounts of case upon case of convicted murderers being paroled after having served less than ten years of their sentences. Yet, here we have Mr. Hetherington, whose wife, to my knowledge, remained very much healthy and alive following their encounter, who’s been sitting behind bars for 20 years. If you can possibly justify to me a reason to have kept Mr. Hetherington behind bars for 20 years, I would love to hear it. Regardless of whether or not he'll admit guilt, after 20 years behind bars, Mr. Hetherington has MORE THAN paid for any crime he may have committed.
I would like to say please parole Mr. Hetherington before a severe injustice has occurred, but I’m afraid it’s too late for that. Instead, I’ll say, please parole Mr Hetherington before this severe injustice is furthered.
Now, in case any of you are experiences a crisis of conscience at the thought of sticking up for a convicted rapist, let me give you a few details of the case.
William and Linda Hetherington married in 1971; the marriage was an unhappy one and between 1978 and 1985 William sought divorce, then the couple reconciled, and finally divorce was sought again. During this period, Linda brought, then withdrew, charges of spousal rape more than once, with one such incident described in the media as "the first of several times that Linda would accuse her husband of raping her, at times when bringing charges was to her advantage".
In May 1985 following Linda's travelling without notice to another state, divorce was filed. It was expected that Hetherington would win custody due to Linda's history of abandonment of the children and family, for a period of more than two months. In August, Linda claimed he had raped her a month earlier and he was imprisoned briefly. Although released shortly afterwards, the timing caused custody to be given to Linda, with the judge commenting that custody would have gone to William had he not been incarcerated at the time of the hearing, but that he could apply later for custody instead.
A month later, after William was released, he applied for custody. A hearing was set for October 7, but before this could take place, Linda again accused him of rape, claiming he had taped and tied her up, threatened that she was about to "meet her maker", abducted her by car, cut her clothing off, and raped her. According to William she invited sexual intercourse at her mother's home where she was staying, then began demanding money she believed he had. After some confusion, according to "several witnesses", Linda's mother insisted charges were pressed.
The evidence in the case has been criticized. A pelvic examination of Linda 3 hours after the alleged incident showed no evidence of forcible injury, described as "very unusual" in a rape case by the doctor. Although police officers stated that possible adhesive tape traces were visible on her face, doctors examining her found that no traces of that kind existed, and the scissors alleged to be used to cut the tape showed no adhesive traces either. Other evidence - the tape, gloves and underwear - was said by Linda to have been flushed down the toilet by her assailant. A neighbor, Reinhardt, added further evidence that contradicted the story - that William's car had been at the location Linda alleged she was abducted and therefore she had known he was there (she claimed she had not known), and that during the alleged rape she had left the house to get something from the car, then returned to the house to talk further. Sperm was found in Linda's clothing; however William had previously had a vasectomy, a form of sterilization which makes a man incapable of emitting sperm.
The court-appointed psychiatrist was supportive of William's case. Lacking prior record, sentencing guidelines at the time were 6 to 10 years (average time served by a convicted rapist in Michigan is 5 years), and this was reinforced by a "highly favorable" report that concluded William's personality seemed to "substantiate his explanation of what has occurred", and that "this is not a man who would force himself sexually or hostilely on another individual.... He does not appear to be an individual who is dangerous for society." 
There was also strong suspicion that the prosecution was motivated by other factors. Weiss, who was running for the Michigan Supreme Court at the time, was claimed to be "grandstanding for the feminist vote":
"In the midst of running for the Michigan Supreme Court, Weiss made a dramatic statement in which he asserted that 'murder may have been less harmful' than William's acts. He also painted a picture of a grislier crime than the one in question: 'He raped her four times at a minimum, on a single day ... every opening of her body, every cavity, had been invaded violently.' (The charges involved one act of forced oral sex and one act of vaginal penetration, with no allegations of anal intercourse.) Urging the court to 'Let the women of this world know this is not tolerated,' he asked for a sentence of 30 to 60 years." 
Likewise the judge, Thomas Yeotis, discredited the psychiatrists view on the grounds that "you make a nice appearance, and yet, there's something about you that disturbs me." The psychiatrist was one whose opinion the judge is said to have "relied on" for 20 years before, and continued to do so after.
If you need further convincing,
The rape charge was prosecuted simultaneously with the custody case, and the divorce court had frozen all Hetherington's assets so he had no money to hire a lawyer or make bond. Nevertheless, the criminal court ruled that he was not indigent and refused to provide him with a lawyer.
For 12 years, the court refused to provide Hetherington with a transcript of the trial. Without funds, he was unable to buy one, so he was effectively denied his right of appeal, and no appeal has ever been heard on the substance of this case.
At the sentencing, prosecutor Robert Weiss called Hetherington's alleged offense equivalent to "first degree murder" and falsely accused him of beating Linda. Weiss was running for a judgeship, and observers sized up his prejudicial statements as grandstanding for support from the feminists.
Linda walked away with custody of their three daughters, the marital home, and all marital assets.
Ten years after Hetherington's conviction, a volunteer attorney, Jeff Feldman, using the Freedom of Information Act, obtained copies of five photographs taken of Linda by police at the alleged crime scene immediately after the alleged offense. The photographs were in a locker in a police garage, and the prosecution had never disclosed them to the defense.
The photographs were then examined by a forensic photographer in Miami, John Valor, using all modern techniques. Valor's four-page notarized report detailed his impressive expertise, including service as the lead forensic photographer in the trial of serial-killer Ted Bundy.
Valor's sworn statement dated January 8, 1998 stated that the pictures of Linda showed absolutely no scratches, tape marks or abnormalities of any kind, and that marks would have been clearly visible if there had been any. If a government witness gives false testimony, a convicted prisoner should be entitled to a new trial, but Hetherington didn't get it.
Years later, a completely unsolicited letter was sent to the parole board by Melissa Anne Suchy, who had been employed by Linda as a babysitter. Suchy's letter is hearsay, but it has the ring of authenticity.
Suchy wrote that Linda told her she made up the story about rape because she was then pregnant with the baby of her boyfriend, and he pushed her to press rape charges, saying that she would have to "get rid of Hetherington or he wouldn't take care of the baby."
Over the years, several pro bono lawyers and concerned citizens have tried to secure a pardon or a parole for Hetherington, but Michigan appears determined to make him serve 30 years because he won't admit guilt and because the bureaucracy won't admit it made a mistake.
Almost everyone who reads the record of what happened to William Hetherington concludes that he was unjustly accused, unjustly convicted, unjustly sentenced, unjustly denied his due process and appeal rights, unjustly denied a new trial based on physical evidence of inaccurate testimony by government witnesses, and unjustly denied parole.
A good man's life has been sacrificed, and three children have been denied their father, by the malicious feminists who have lobbied for laws that punish spousal rape just like stranger rape and deny a man the right to cross-examine his accuser. They have created a judicial system where the woman must always be believed even though she has no evidence, and the man is always guilty.
I don't think any of us in good conscience can sit idly by, doing and saying nothing about this disgusting betrayal of justice. Please join me in voicing your disapproval. Even if nothing comes of it, at least Mr. Hetherington knows that he is not alone and not forgotten.
A bit more history.....following this post, I proceeded to contact every news and radio station in and around Carson City, Michigan. I actually found a news station that was interested in doing a story about Mr. Hetherington. I gave the news station the names and contact information of several people to interview. The only problem was that, in order to cover the story, they wanted someone who lived in the area, who was currently involved in fighting in Hetherington's behalf, for an interview. As all those involved in the case at that time were out of state, they didn't end up running the story.
William Hetherington was finally granted parole on October 27, 2009.
This is hardly a happy ending, however.
24 years in jail.
24 years, not because this was a sentence befitting the crime he was convicted of (wrongly or otherwise), 24 years because he wouldn't admit that he was guilty.
The 8th amendment of the Constitution prohibits the use of cruel and unusual punishment. Cruel and unusual includes torture or degradation or punishment too severe for the crime. Not only was Mr. Hetherington, in my opinion, denied due process applicable to his defense, denied the ability to mount an appeal....but he was also made to endure cruel and unusual punishment for the crime he was convicted of.
Mr. Hetherington may be out of jail now, fighting to cobble together some semblance of a life from the fragments he is left with (after 24 years, I imagine there is very little left), but we shouldn't forget his story. We shouldn't forget the grave injustice and the blatant lassitude and disregard for a man's life.
Those in power over Mr. Hetherington wanted to make an example out of him, and they were willing to ignore justice, truth and the very law in order to do so.