30 years ago, John Floyd was convicted of murdering William Hines in the French Quarter of New Orleans. In February 2010, Judge Benedict Willard denied Mr. Floyd a new trial despite significant new evidence, including DNA evidence, of his innocence. Much of this evidence has been withheld by the State of Louisiana for over 28 years.

The Facts:

  • Mr. Floyd was tried for the murders of William Hines and Rodney Robinson at a bench trial in 1982
  • The two victims were murdered within the same week in 1980, within a mile of each other in identical circumstances
  • Both victims were gay men who had sex with their killer immediately before being murdered
  • Both victims were stabbed in the neck and torso
  • Police found half-filled whiskey glasses at both crime scenes
  • The state’s case against Mr. Floyd relied on very similar confessions which Floyd made in 1981
  • The confessions were obtained by Detective John Dillmann, who had been previously chastised by the Louisiana Supreme Court in 1980 for betting a suspect into confessing on a different case and was again chastised in Supreme Court in 1995 for improper law enforcement and prosecution practices

At the William Hines Crime scene, police found negroid pubic hairs in the victim’s bed. (Mr. Floyd and Mr. Hines are both white). Two half filled whiskey Glasses were also found.

At the Rodney Robinson Crime scene, police again found two whiskey glasses, semen on a napkin next to the victim’s bed and semen found in anal swabs of the victim, a hat containing negroid head hair (not Rodney Robinsons and Mr. Floyd is white) found in the corridor between the victim’s hotel room and the service elevator. A security guard witness claims to have seen a black man running from the service elevator and into the street immediately after Mr. Robinson was stabbed (not wearing a hat and looking behind him as he ran). Mr. Robinson also had Type O blood.

Blood typing from the Robinson crime scene excluded John Floyd as the man who had sex with the victim immediately before he was killed. This evidence led to the acquittal of Floyd in the murder of Rodney Robinson.

Unfortunately, due to the signed confession by Mr. Floyd to the murder of William Hines, the fact that the physical evidence at both nearly identical crime scenes pointed to someone else, Mr. Floyd was found guilt of murdering William Hines while being acquitted of murdering Rodney Robinson at the same trial.

It was discovered that during the investigation phase that investigators had mishandled the crime scene, failed to disclose exculpatory evidence and made probative testing unavailable to the defense by hiding testable evidence. Additionally, the hair analyst at the trial testified that the pubic hairs at the Hines crime scene and the head hairs at the Robinson crime scene could not be compared because you cannot compare head hairs to pubic hairs.

All evidence from the Hines crime scene was destroyed many years ago.

The innocence project of New Orleans has obtained never-before disclosed fingerprints from the whiskey glasses at the Robinson crime scene and from a whiskey bottle at the Hines crime scene that were compared by the police to John Floyd and the victims. The results from each crime scene were that the prints came from neither John Floyd, nor the victims. It was discovered that the results of these fingerprint comparisons were never even turned over to the Assistant District Attorney’s prosecuting the case and were never even turned over to Floyd’s lawyer. The fingerprint evidence was discovered over 27 years after the comparison was performed.

DNA testing on the evidence remaining from the Robinson crime scene shows that contrary to the analyst’s testimony at trial, there were pubic hairs found at both crime scenes that could have been compared. Mitochondrial DNA Testing performed on these hairs conclusively excludes Mr. Floyd as the donor of the pubic hairs and establishes that an unknown black man was in bed with the victims immediately before their murders.

The eyewitness testimony, along with the fingerprint evidence and the DNA testing evidence means that it is absolutely certain that Mr. Floyd did not commit the murder regardless of his confession. Recent psychological testing shows that Mr. Floyd has a 59 IQ and highly suggestible and compliant, making him susceptible to police pressure when they interrogate. The only evidence that the State had in the murder trial was Mr. Floyd’s confession. It has already been proven that Mr. Floyd gave a false confession to the Hines murder.

After hearing hours of testimony in February 2010, Judge Willard wished Mr. Floyd luck in the ongoing appellate process. The Innocence Project of New Orleans is now trying to get the ruling overturned by the State Supreme Court.