Amber Garrett: Sold for Fifteen Hundred Dollars?

The prosecutors at Jeffrey Wogenstahl’s trial suppressed reports suggesting that Amber Garrett’s mother, Peggy, sold Amber for fifteen hundred dollars to pay off drug debts.[i]

Peggy Garrett’s drug selling and use were known to Jeff’s prosecutors, but they failed to pass this information on to the defense. Prosecutors withheld Indiana police reports showing that in 1982 Peggy had been convicted of selling 5 pills of Methaqualone on one occasion and 6 tablets of LSD on another.[ii] The reports impeached her trial testimony that her conviction was for selling merely “a couple of pills”.

The prosecutors likewise failed to produce police notes indicating that Peggy was seen “doing Coke” in the early hours of the day when Amber was reported missing,[iii] and that Peggy was heavily in debt to her drug suppliers.[iv]

Astonishingly, police records were also suppressed that linked Peggy directly to Amber’s disappearance. One person told police that Peggy was at the Waffle House crying, and saying she had really “fucked up” because she had sold Amber for fifteen hundred dollars.[v] Another individual stated in a verbal and written statement that a waitress told him Peggy was at the Waffle House with no money on the day before Amber disappeared, but that two days later she returned, claiming to have fifteen hundred dollars in her purse.[vi]

A third suppressed police record showed that several people overheard Peggy saying at the inquest:
“He said that he wasn’t going to beat her that bad.”[vii]

It is inconceivable that these extensive, pertinent records could have been considered irrelevant to Jeff’s case. Indeed, one juror told an investigator in 2015 that she “thought the victim’s mother was definitely involved and that she’d probably sold Amber for drugs or money in the past.” She stated that “other jurors felt the same way and wanted the mother charged.” She believed that “the mother and brother had probably gotten their story together to cover up that the mother was drunk.”[viii]

It is clear that if all this suppressed evidence had been available to the jury, the outcome of Jeff’s trial could have been different. It is clear that Jeff deserves a new trial.

[i] Information for this post is taken from: State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. Jeffrey Wogenstahl, Defendant-Appellant.  Case No. 2016-0423. Appellant Jeffrey Wogenstahl’s Motion to Remand Case to the Trial Court, filed in the Supreme Court of Ohio, October 7, 2016; pages 21 – 23, page 41 and pages 52 – 53. 
[ii] See State of Ohio v. Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl, 2016-0423, Volume 1 of Appendix to Appellant Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl’s Motion to Remand case to the Trial Court, filed October 7, 2016, pages 110 to 120 (Exhibit 25).
[iii] See State of Ohio v. Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl, 2016-0423, Volume 1 of Appendix to Appellant Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl’s Motion to Remand case to the Trial Court, filed October 7, 2016, page 108 (Exhibit 23).
[iv] See State of Ohio v. Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl, 2016-0423, Volume 2 of Appendix to Appellant Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl’s Motion to Remand case to the Trial Court, filed October 7, 2016, pages 49 – 51 (Exhibits 51, 52 and 53).
[v] See State of Ohio v. Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl, 2016-0423, Volume 2 of Appendix to Appellant Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl’s Motion to Remand case to the Trial Court, filed October 7, 2016, page 54 (Exhibit 56).
[vi] See State of Ohio v. Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl, 2016-0423, Volume 2 of Appendix to Appellant Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl’s Motion to Remand case to the Trial Court, filed October 7, 2016, page 55 (Exhibit 57).
[vii] See State of Ohio v. Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl, 2016-0423, Volume 2 of Appendix to Appellant Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl’s Motion to Remand case to the Trial Court, filed October 7, 2016, page 56 (Exhibit 58).
[viii] See State of Ohio v. Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl, 2016-0423, Volume 2 of Appendix to Appellant Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl’s Motion to Remand case to the Trial Court, filed October 7, 2016, page 38 (Exhibit 43).

 

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