Before her death Amber Garrett, the 10 year-old victim in Jeffrey Wogenstahl’s case, was suffering at the hands of her mother. Suppressed police records contain Amber’s school journal entry*, written days before her murder, in which she described a vicious attack by her mother, Peggy:
“Just yesterday before I came to school my mom beat me she was punching me in the back. She just would not stop.”
Another page** describes an argument between mother and daughter, during which Peggy hit Amber on the head three times; this occurred the night before Amber went missing.
Other reports from the suppressed file state that Amber sometimes had to stay elsewhere because she was not allowed into the family apartment;*** and that she talked of running away.†
The picture built by these records belies the testimony given by Peggy at Jeff’s trial, in which she claimed that she and Amber were very close.‡
Peggy’s claim of a good relationship with Amber was only one part of her testimony: several other of her statements are similarly impeached by the suppressed police documents§. Moreover, the state suppressed information that Peggy’s testimony resulted from unauthorized hypnosis, which rendered it inadmissible in its entirety.‖
The suppressed police file contains a good deal of other information that could have altered the verdict of Jeff’s trial.
The list of state malpractice seems endless: prosecutor misconduct, inadequate forensics, poor witness identification procedures, and the suppression of highly relevant, impeaching evidence. Jeff deserves a new trial.
Update: For more about Peggy Garrett in the suppressed police file, see Other Suspects: Extensive Suppression of Evidence.