Bay Guardian Story Leads to Freeing of Innocent Man

J.J. Tennison to be released 13 years after his conviction

For Immediate Release

Contact: Corbett Miller
(415) 255-3100
August 27, 2003

More than two years after Bay Guardian reporter A.C. Thompson broke the story about the wrongful conviction of John J. Tennison for the murder of Roderick “Cooley” Shannon, U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken has thrown out the case and ordered authorities to release Tennison within 60 days.

Thompson’s story spurred attorneys Elliot Peters and Ethan Balogh of San Francisco law firm Keker & Van Nest to pick up Tennison’s case for free and eventually secure his release, 13 years after his conviction.

In the case involving former police chief Earl Sanders, police detective Napoleon Hendrix, and deputy district attorney George Butterworth, Judge Wilken ruled that the cops and prosecutor withheld evidence including a confession from another man, coached and paid witnesses, and covered up the results of a polygraph test from the two eyewitnesses.

The Tennison case raises serious questions into the legitimacy of the numerous murder investigations involving Sanders, Hendrix and Butterworth; and how many innocent people are in prison.

The Bay Guardian’s A.C. Thompson is available for interviews by calling (415) 255-3100.

Bay Guardian’s Stories on the Case:

The Hardest Time: After a Decade in Lockup, J.J. Tennison Still Maintains His Innocence

New Evidence Suggests Earl Sanders Hid Crucial Evidence in a High-Profile Murder Case

Eyewitness Blues

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