One of the filings from Jeffrey Wogenstahl that is now before the Ohio Supreme Court supports his claim of innocence. This claim was dismissed by the Hamilton County Court of Appeals last December, a decision which has been roundly criticized for its inaccurate interpretation of how the MHCA* Review results impacted Jeff’s case.
A point made by the Appeals’ court was that Jeff changed his explanation about why he drove Eric Horn from the victim’s home to a nearby apartment:
•Jeff’s original explanation, in a statement given to police on November 24, 1991, was that he had played a joke on Horn by telling him that his mother needed him at a nearby apartment.
•From November 25, 1991 – and ever since, including on oath, at his trial – Jeff has said instead that he visited Horn to buy marijuana; and that he then helped Horn by driving him to the nearby apartment so Horn could deliver marijuana to his (Horn’s) mother.
Jeff explained that he initially circumvented the truth because, as a parolee, he hoped to avoid returning to prison; and that, moreover, he did not wish to implicate Horn as a drug dealer.** At that time Jeff had no idea he was about to become the sole suspect in a murder case.
As Jeff’s memorandum states,
“Avoiding the truth here would have been natural as his status as a parolee; it is not necessarily indicative of a murderer.”***
Horn’s testimony, on the other hand, is of huge concern: he lied under oath at Jeff’s trial, saying that he had never used or sold drugs. The prosecutors connived at the perjury, withholding critical evidence that Horn had previously been arrested for trafficking in marijuana, and had received a juvenile delinquency adjudication for drug offences.
Horn’s perjury must have greatly diminished Jeff’s credibility with the jury, and increased the likelihood that he would be convicted. It also begs the question, “What else did Horn lie about?”
Jeff deserves a new trial where a jury can evaluate Horn’s testimony, free of perjury. We trust that, at long last, the court will agree.