Two witnesses have added their testimony to the mountain of evidence that calls Jeffrey Wogenstahl’s murder conviction into question.[i] Donald and Melissa Ellis described Peggy Garrett as “acting weird” in the company of a tall man in the Waffle House in the early hours of Sunday, November 24, 1991. As Donald recalled,
“Peggy and the man were acting weird. Peggy was running her fingers through her hair saying ‘Oh my god, oh my god. Fuck. What are we gonna do? Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.’ She was saying this over and over. Peggy had tears in her eyes. The man that she was with kept telling her ‘You gotta calm down, you gotta calm down.’”
Donald and Melissa are adamant that the man with Peggy that night did not fit Jeff’s description.
Both witnesses also recall their attempts to report the incident to the police, but no police officers followed these up.[ii]
Donald and Melissa’s affidavits echo other accounts of Peggy behaving oddly around the time of Amber’s disappearance; the police notes recording these events were suppressed by the prosecution until 2016. One note refers to Peggy crying in the Waffle House, saying she had really “fucked up” because she had sold Amber for fifteen hundred dollars.
Both Donald and Melissa state that they believe Jeff to be innocent. Donald’s account concludes,
“Based on what I saw that evening, I believe that Mr Wogenstahl is innocent of killing Amber. I also believe that Peggy Garrett absolutely had something to do with her daughter’s death.”
The new affidavits add significantly to what the Sixth Circuit Court has already called “voluminous evidence casting considerable doubt on the credibility of Amber Garrett’s mother and brother and suggesting that they were implicated in her death”. They also underline the police’s failure to conduct a thorough investigation in this case.
We trust that the Hamilton County Court will swiftly reiterate the Sixth Circuit Court’s opinion that if all the evidence had been presented at the trial, no reasonable juror would have found Jeff guilty. Jeff deserves a new trial; and he deserves it soon.
[i] State of Ohio vs Jeffrey Wogenstahl. B926287. Petitioner Wogenstahl’s Second Amendment to his Successive Post-Conviction Petition, filed in the Court of Common Pleas Hamilton County, Ohio. Filed July 27, 2021. (Office of the Ohio Public Defender).
[ii] *One attempt is recorded in the police notes that were withheld until 2016. See State of Ohio v. Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl, 2016-0423, Volume I of Appendix to Appellant Jeffrey A. Wogenstahl’s Motion to Remand Case to the Trial Court, filed October 7 2016, page 109 (Exhibit 24).