over 15 years ago Michael David Elliot wa convicted of Murder, ArmedRobbery, Arson and lesser chargs Now strong eidence has emerged to prvehis innocence, yetthe corts have denied Elliot's appeal and he seeks executive clemency.
FACTS OF THE CRIME:
On 8-8-1993 four people we shot and killed at the home of reputed drug dealer in Gladwin County, Michigan. A weapon belonging to one of the decedents was taken from the home. The home was found burned wth the victims insides. This happened after on of the victims threatened Charles Treece and his family. Elliot was at home during the crimes, and had no knowledge of the crimes before or after they ccurred until after his arrest and trail .
THE EVIDENCE AGAINST ELLIOT
Elliot was convicted based upon circumstantial evidence an the testimony of witnesses who previously lied to police, had motive to commit the crimes themselves, and/or had great incentive to lie in their testimony against Elliot.
Tammy LaCross is the daughter of one of the victims(Vicky Currie) and knew all four victims personally. Prior to the murders there was physical violence and sexual abuse between the victims and LaCross. LaCross discussed drug money in the amount of 5 million dollars on several occasions with Charles Treece, Paul Treece, Edward Hendrix, and Jermaine Jones. LaCross made friends with Hendrix while staying with the Treece brothers. LaCross who "didn't really ever talk to Elliot, hardly knew him, and didn't consider him a friend", nevertheless wrote him a letter while in jail stating "she or they were going to beat this rap". LaCross fabricated an alibi when first confronted by police and later refused to tell them her whereabouts on the date of the crimes unless Paul Treece was there. After her arrest LaCross blamed Elliot for the crimes and was given 3 to 15 year deal (avoiding Life without parole) in exchange for her testimony against Elliot. LaCross told the jury that after she told them the victims were not home and how to get in, Elliot (along with Charles Treece) walked toward the home with guns in hand, that she heard shots while waiting in the car with Paul Treece, and that Elliot later told her that he shot the victims.
Paul Treece knew the victims personally. Prior to the murders, one of the victims (Mike Tufnell) got violent with Paul and his family. Tufnell told him that he (Tufnell) would burn and chop him up and his buddies would eat them. Tufnell also threatened Treece's mom and sister. Paul admitted to being present while there were discussions centered around going to steal from Tufnell. Pul fabricated an alibi when first confronted by police. After his arrest Paul also blamed Elliot for the crimes and was given the same plea bargain as LaCross for his testimony against Elliot. The version of Events Paul told the jury was similar yet not exact to the testimony of LaCross.
Edward Hendrix (a convicted felon) fabricated an alibi when first confronted by police. Hendrix was a member of the FOLKS gang. Hendrix was involved in discussions relating to the drug money belonging to one of the victims. Hendrix received 4,000.00 for his testimony against Elliot. Hendrix told the jury that after the crimes occured, Elliot showed him a .38 caliber gun, saying "we smoked them who's "Hendrix testified that in slang language it meant kill, murder, hurt, beat up. Hendrix also testified that he was given a little marijuana from Charles Treece, which Hendrix turned over to police.
Enrique Delacruz (a convited felon) was granted immunity for his testimony against Elliot. He told the jury that Elliot (alongwith Charles Treece) came to his house after the crimes occured and that he purchased a pistol (used in the murders and belonging to Tufnell) from Treece. After finding out the police wanted to talk to him, Delacruz got scared and gave th weapon to his attorney to turn over to police.
Elliot relied on an alibi defense and testified that he did not know what happen, who did what, that he did not commit the crimes and that he was at home sleeping during the late-night/early morning hours on the date the crimes occurred. Elliot did not know any of the victims in this case. Elliot also testified that LaCross sold him the .38 caliber weapon (used in the murders) after the offense date and that he did not know where the items of physical evidence which were found in his basement came from or who put them there. Elliot testified that he showed Hendrix the gun he just bought, and told him (Hendrix) "We've been smoking some marijuana on the way down here (in response to the inquiry of why everyone was happy). Elliot's version of events has never changed even though he was offered plea bargains.
Elliot's alibi was supported by testimony from his aunt Kathy Church and sister Maria Elliot (who was about 16 years old at the time). Elliot was seen at 10 p.m., apporoximately midnight, and again about 3:15 a.m. or so, and finally at about 8 a.m. or so.
Charles Treece did not testify or present a defense, but simply left the prosecution to their proofs.
NEW EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE
In 2005 Elliot received an affidavit from Charles Treece stating that he (Treece) and Tammy LaCross actually committed the crimes. The affidavit further states that Elliot is innocent and that he made this known to the prosecutor prior to Elliot's trail. The affidavit also presents proof that explains all of the circumstantial evidence in this case (including the items related to the crimes being placed in Elliot's basement by Treece). Elliot received an additional affidavit from Charles Treece in May of 2008 which provides in greater detail the truth of what happened in this case. Treece's second affidavit explains that he left Elliot's residence after he went to sleep (around 3:30 a.m) and re-joined Tammy and Paul, committed the crimes and returned around 7:00 a.m. in the morning. The statements contained in Treece' affidavits have remained consistent with the physical evidence and Treece's version of events has never changed. Treece has not been offered or given any incentive for his statements and has in so confessing, in fact given up any chance at challenging his convictions. Treece stated that the affidavits were offered to clear his conscience.
The revelation of the truth through the affidavits may finally give closure to the families of the victims.
In December of 2008 Elliot received an affidavit from Talena "Tina" O'Dell stating that she was incarcerated with Tammy LaCross and that Tammy made many statements that Michael Elliot had no involvement in this crime and that she and Charles Treece were the only ones that entered the house during this crime. O'Dell does not know Mr.Elliot or Charles Treece and has not been offered any incentiv for her statements.
Elliot's first round of appeals ended in 2000 after his original issues related to trail error were denied by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District. After receiving the Treece affidavit in 2005, Elliot appealed his case based on this new evidence to the trail court, Michigan Court of Appeals, Michigan Supreme Court, and U.S. District Court. Elliot was denied by each court, with the U.S. District Court denying relief on 9-29-2009
CORRECTION OF INJUSTICE THROUGH EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY
The Governor of MIchigan has executive authority to grant clemency in the form of either a pardon or commutation. Governor Jennifer Granholm has in fact recently granted a commutation to Kylleen Hargrave-Thomas of Bloomfield Hills, setting her free after 11 years on a conviction for first-degree murder and arson.
The exculpatory evidence in Mr.Elliot's case is direct and stands uncontradicted by any credible witness or physical evidence in the case. Mr.Elliot has been incarcerated for over 16 years for a crime that he did not commit and has not had a single violent misconduct in prison. Elliot currently has an application for clemency pending before Governor Granholm and seeks support. Please contact the Governor's office and let her know you support clemency for Mr.Elliot and that the less fortunate also deserve the mercy and justice of the state.
Documentation verifying all other facts will be provided upon request. This packet is just a summary. If you have any questions or concers, please write to Mr. Elliot at the following address.
Michael David Elliot # 236879
Ionial Maximum Correctional Facility]
1576 W. Bluewater Highway
Ionia, Michigan 48846