Story of Timothy Brantley
| My name is Timothy Brantley and I am currently serving a sentence
of "Life w/out parole" due to being wrongly convicted of a first degree
murder with a special circumstance of burglary. I know my case may not
seem to be of a high priority to some as I am not on 'Death Row' but it
is a high priority to myself and my family because I did not commit the
crime. I am not just saying that I did not commit the crime-please understand
that. I can prove I am innocent! I never thought I would be convicted in
the first place but due to highly ineffective counsel from an alcoholic
attorney (who later quit the public defenders because he said his case
load was too heavy for him to do a competent job), due to a judge that
would not allow crucial evidence and testimony come in to the trial and
due to a district attorney who threatened my attorneys private investigator
with his past and with possible prosecution if he testified, I was convicted!!
I have seen many stories on different television shows of wrongly convicted people and I can tell you that my case has more twists and turns then most of them I've seen. I can also tell you that had I been represented and the case been -fully investigated properly, I would have never been convicted and the truth would have came out.
The following is a 'synopsis' of my case including some but not all of the unbelievable facts and things that occurred in my case. Also included are things in which I know to be true but due to lack of investigation and no cross examination during trial by my attorney, they were never proven. But they can be!!
On January 10th of 1996, a body was discovered in an empty apartment in Redding, California. I had lived next door to the apartment for approximately 8 days before moving back to my home town of Weed, California - which is about 80 miles away. When the body was found on the tenth it was stated by several people that it was in a state of 'rigormortis' and an autopsy performed two days later set the time of death at "no earlier" then the 7th of January. (Both of these things are very important since the time of death was later changed since I could prove that I was not near Redding anytime near the 7th of January.
At first, the female victims husband was a strong suspect due to a very nasty divorce, threats he had made to kill his ex-wife, his past history of violence to his wife, a knife that was missing from his home and the fact that he is an alcoholic and stated to police that " he may have blacked out and done it but he couldn't be sure. (None of this evidence was ever allowed to be presented during my trial as to the ex-husbands culpability.) The Judge would not allow it in!
During the investigation the son to the victim admitted to investigators that he had tried several times to get his friends to kill his mother. He even admitted that he and his friends had talked of this just a week prior to the murder and had even set a price of one hundred dollars to do it. (This was allowed to be presented in court, but due to the sons so called mental capacity, no charges were ever filed on him.)
On the day the body was discovered, one of the young men who the victims son had tried to I get to kill his mother went on the run. This young mans mother went to try and find her son and did find him at a nearby gas station. She told him that he needed to come home or else the police might think that he had killed the woman. To this he replied " I did or maybe I did ". He then ran across a field and the next time his mother saw him, he had been arrested for another murder that him and three other young men had committed in the next county. He was later convicted in that killing and sentenced to 15 to Life.
It was further found out that this young man had told several people that he had indeed killed the woman in Redding. These people included his then girlfriend, her parents and his very own brother. Furthermore, he stated to his brother during a fight that he would stab him just like he had stabbed the woman in Redding and at that time, no one not even the media knew that the woman was stabbed. In fact, he may have even stated this before the body was even discovered. My attorney never delved into it far enough to determine that! This same young man was missing for several hours early in the morning of January 7th and gave a story of running out of gas. Yet the car had nearly a half of a tank of gas. (Most of this was brought out in court but when the young man took the stand, he denied doing it and never gave a reason why he said he did it. My attorney, for some reason never even put his mother on the stand to testify to what her son had told her at the gas station. I felt this was crucial but it wasn't done. We did put the young mans crime partners in the other murder on the stand and one of them testified that he had been told by the young man that he was on the run for killing a woman in Redding, but it must not have helped!)
A month into the murder investigation, my name was brought into the case because of a single fingerprint of mine that was found on the inside of the door to the empty apartment. The investigators drove 80 miles to Weed to speak with me and I voluntarily went in to the Weed Police Department.
Now, I am no angel and have been in trouble - even been in prison for theft and drug charges but I am not a violent person and have never been arrested for a violent crime per say! I had just been released from parole. And had in fact called my parole officer on the 4th of January to ask if I could go to Weed from Redding where I was then living. My parole officer gave me permission to go to Weed and said that I only had a week left on parole and since I had done a good clean parole he would cut me off parole. (He 'Later denied ever doing this to cover himself and to make it seem as if I had left Redding in a hurry.) Actually, I believe he said that he could not recall talking to me and giving me permission to leave. I later learned that he had recently gone through an alcohol rehab but this was never brought out in court. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. It's hard for me to explain all that happened..
So, I was contacted by investigators and went into the Weed police department. Right off the questioning became very accusatory and they kept asking why I had come back down to Redding near the 7th of January, after I had left on the 4th of January! They also asked why I had been in the apartment where the woman had been found dead. This is where I messed up because instead of telling them why I had been in the apartment I denied ever being in the place because I knew why I had been in the place and I also knew I had been in the place way before the woman was killed. I knew this because on the news it was said that she was killed two or three days before the body was discovered. Due to this, I figured my being in the apartment had nothing to do with anything so why even admit it? I later would wish I would have just told them then and there why I had been in the place because it was for a good reason. But I didn't and the so called "Talk" at the police station turned into a two and a half hour interrogation where I repeatedly asked for an attorney and was never given one and where I repeatedly asked if I could leave but kept getting told "just a few more questions." At the beginning of the interrogation, I was told that I was still on parole and that they had contacted my parole officer and were told that he had never given me permission to leave Redding. This is why I had to keep asking whether or not I could go because if I were truly on parole then I could not freely leave. All during this interrogation. I was very sick with the Flu and after hours I finally got up and left-fully expecting to be arrested on a parole violation yet they didn't! I later found out that indeed my parole officer had cut me loose off of parole - which I found to be sort of strange since at that point he was saying that he had no idea that I had gone to Weed and didn't even know where I was.
This whole interrogation was video taped unknown to me and in it I never admitted to anything but reference was made about a possibly reason why I had gone into the place as being hypothetical. Before trial a hearing was held about the video tape and after much argument on what would and wouldn't be allowed to be shown the video tape was "supposedly edited." In actuality parts were still left in that were supposed to come out and also there were several minutes of the original tape that were missing altogether. This was also important to my defense because the missing part was of a part concerning my going back to Redding. We were told that the missing part of the tape must have been when the tapes were changed but that there was a back-up audio tape and even another audio tape that was in the investigators pocket. The next day we were told that 'oops neither one of the audio tapes were working'!
After the investigators found out that I could prove through phone calls that I had never been back to Redding after I left on the 4th of January and before the body had been found on the 10th of January, the two detectives went down to the coroners office to speak with the coroner. They told him that there was a problem concerning the time of death and that the person arrested for the crime had left the area on the 4th of January. They asked if the coroner could change the time of death. (Yes, you just read that right!!)
I was eventually arrested and charged with murder and a special circumstance of burglary. (An empty apartment not being lived in.) The fact that I had denied ever being in the apartment lead the investigators to hone-in on me and forget about the other suspects. Another factor in the case is that there was a small amount of blood found on the waist part of the victim’s sweatpants and underwear. This was probably the one thing that the jury couldn't get over. I never wanted to even deny that there could somehow possibly be my blood in the apartment or even on the woman's pants but my attorney still tried to keep that evidence out. The fact was that I had been working on my friend’s car on the 2nd of January and had cut my finger. This was testified to in court and before court. The police never denied that I had cut my finger on my friend’s car and in fact they believed it to be true.
After my arrest and when I was given an attorney, I tried to clear up why I had been in the apartment and even about my blood possibly being in the place etc. I told the investigator for my attorney why I had been in the apartment and had him go down to the apartment and retrieve the "smoke detector" from the ceiling of the woman's apartment. Before he left to do that I told him that my finger prints would be on the smoke detector because I had been asked by the woman on the same day that I cut my finger on my friends car - if I could help her change the battery in her smoke detector. I did this as I was headed to where I was staying to clean up my finger. Instead, I first went to the woman's apartment to help her. That is when my fingerprint got on the inside of her door. And before I could change the battery on her smoke detector, I had to get a small piece of toilet paper for my finger and the blood. While getting ready to change the battery, I had to hand her the piece of toilet paper and Though I could never say for sure, the only way I could figure that she had gotten my blood on the waist of her pants is from her tucking the piece of toilet paper in her waistband. This actually made sense if my attorney would have listened to me concerning the evidence. There was blood belonging to me which was described as a minute amount on her waistband of her sweatpants and the waistband of her underwear- yet there was no blood found on the leotards she was wearing in between them both. It was my thought that on the day that I helped her on the smoke detector battery that she was not wearing the leotards as it was a very nice day. Several days later it was colder and I believe that she then wore the same clothes she had worn the day I helped her only that she also put on the leotards. She was in the apartment supposedly to clear it, so she could get her deposit back. (It should be noted that the woman had called her apartment manager and told them that she was having problems with her smoke detector and also that my fingerprints were found on the smoke detector and the battery in it was new.) During the trial I took the stand and explained all of this and more. During the District Attorneys closing argument he said, "I cannot fully explain why Mr. Brantley’s fingerprints were on the smoke detector, all I can say is that in the middle of him killing this woman- the smoke detector must of gone off for some unknown reason and he stopped and changed the battery!" (This is not a word for word quote but it is truly essentially what he said.)
I sat in jail nearly two years before going to trial. All the while my attorney kept coming to me for the District Attorney to see if I would take a deal. I kept saying that there was no way I would ever take a deal on something I did not do. I believed that eventually the truth would come out and I would be freed. After the District Attorney knew I would not take any type of deal and it was nearing the trail date, two years later the coroner made an amended report which stated that he could not be sure about the time of death since he was later given information by the police investigators that it had actually been much colder then originally thought to be. Instead of 61° they told him it had been 47°. (In court we proved through photos that had been taken that the thermostat had been truly set at 61° and the heat was working. But the coroner after hearing this still would not change his assessment of the time of death back to his original of January 7th. (It should be noted that the coroners entire testimony was riddled with inaccuracies and changing testimony. (He retired after that case!!)
It should also be noted that my Attorneys investigator had extremely crucial testimony concerning the changed time of death but was never able to testify about it in court due to the District Attorneys assertions and accusations about him. The investigator went down to speak with the coroner about the case and was at that time pulled aside by an assistant coroner who told him that he had been privy to a conversation between the two homicide detectives and the coroner and that he left part way through the conversation because he did not like what he was hearing and did not want to be a part of it. He said that what he heard was the two detectives saying that there was a problem concerning the time of death and was there anyway. he could change his report to say that the time of death was much earlier since the person arrested for the crime was not in Redding during the time of death previously given. That is why two years later the coroner changed his report or I should say made an amendment to his previous report- which never would have been done had the two investigators given him the false new temperature. (This to me is Conspiracy.) And none of this was ever testified to in court because my Attorney investigator who was told all of this could not take the stand on any other matter other then his retrieval of the smoke detector. In court when the assistant coroner took the stand, he said he was then very vague about the conversation, One of the investigators said that he had never even been to the coroners office although the coroner said he had and as I said, my one witness to this and much other crucial testimony could not testify - which I will explain now.
The prosecution knew that my attorneys investigator had a lot of damaging testimony to their case and to keep him from testifying they said that if he were to testify to anything other then the smoke detector retrieval that they would not only try to discredit him because of his past but would also likely put him up on charges that he purposely deceiving witnesses he spoke with saying that he worked for the police. The investigator denied doing this but never the less, My trial had to be stopped and I was given a different attorney to advise me on what to do about the problem with my other attorney’s investigator and his testimony. I could have and should have asked for a mistrial which I did not do because my new attorney said it would do no good to ask since I wouldn't be given a mistrial. This messed me up later because since I did not ask for a mistrial, I couldn't put that issue on my appeal.
My Attorneys investigators testimony was crucial not only because of that testimony he could have given but also because of other testimony he had to give concerning a family of five and a lady who all told him that they had seen the murdered woman alive on the 6th and 7th of January. This of course would have cleared me and each and every one of these witnesses changed their testimony on the stand two years later during the trial. One lady even said that only minutes before she was to testify as she was riding up on the elevator with the two homicide detectives that she had suddenly recalled that instead of seeing the woman alive on the 6th or 7th - she now was positive that it had been the 2nd that she had seen the woman alive last!! (My attorney never even tried to read back any of these witnesses sworn statements that they had given two years earlier just days after the body was discovered.
Also in my case there was evidence that may have contained "DNA" which would have helped to exonerate me but it was never presented or even checked due to the fact that it could only point in a different direction then myself.
This evidence was several cigarette butts and a blonde hair found in the apartment. I was asked many times what kind of cigarettes I smoked but once it was determined that I have never smoked the police investigators never mentioned them again. The blonde hair was also never checked for DNA and the young man who said he had killed the woman has blonde hair and said he had never been in the apartment. (It should be noted that he also shaved his head a day before he ran off. Also it should be noted that the young man took a lie detector concerning the Redding murder and not only did he fail the test but right before he even took the test, he told the lie detector technician ' I might as well just admit to it (the woman's murder) so they will go easier on me. The fact is that once I was arrested on the case the police stopped investigating all else that wouldn't point towards me and simply threw out evidence such as the cigarette butts and hair.
There are many more points to this case that would point or even prove my innocence but I have given you here the most pertinent ones that I can think of. I was convicted in May of 1998 and sent here to High Desert State Prison in June of 1998 where I am as of right. I was given an Appellate Attorney through the Central California Appellate Program. He filed what I consider to have been a mediocre (at best) appeal that in the long run was denied at all levels. In January of this year (01) I was informed by my appellate attorney that my appeal had been finalized and that he would soon be sending me all of my transcripts and paperwork. Since that time I have not heard one thing from him and have not received any of my paperwork or transcripts. I have even had to write to his superiors about the situation and still have not heard a thing. Meanwhile my one year time limit has been running and I am now down to less then six months to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus in either the State or Federal court system. The problem being that not only am I baffled as to how to write a Writ, I do not even know how to use the law books which at this place are not even up to date. Not to mention that I don't as of yet even have any of my trial paper-work!
Please can you help me? I need someone or a group of people to investigate my claims. I have all the paper work right here in my cell that can back up nearly all of what I have written here and the paperwork that my Appellate Attorney still has can clearly substantiate other claims here-in.
Timothy Brantley, K88441
Judicial Terror in Shasta County
Three Strikes Legal - Index