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<v Dr. John Branion Jr>I'm Dr. John Branion Jr and we are here at Dixon <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Correctional Center in Dixon, Illinois. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I'm here unjustly <v Dr. John Branion Jr>but I'm here. <v Narrator>Someone entered the apartment and killed Donna Branion on December 22nd, <v Narrator>1967, sometime between 11:00 and 11:45 <v Narrator>A.M.. <v Narrator>They struggled with Donna in the back bedroom and the kitchen, strangled her with a power <v Narrator>cord, then shot her six times at point blank range. <v Narrator>Her husband, Dr. John Branion, a prominent black physician, was convicted <v Narrator>of the crime the following Spring at a trial that left many questions unanswered. <v Narrator>The events that followed his conviction, the failed appeals, his flight <v Narrator>to Africa and his eventual return to the United States some 13 <v Narrator>years later to serve out his prison sentence of 20 to 30 years
<v Narrator>constitute a long and horrific story, possibly a story <v Narrator>of justice gone awry, but clearly, an American dream turned <v Narrator>nightmare. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Don and I were-were high school sweethearts. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>We had been going together since we were 14. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>We went to Europe when I went to medical school. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>We went all the way through Europe, through medical school in Europe, together in <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Switzerland. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And she and I were very, very close. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Um, she assumed the role of a mother and provider <v Dr. John Branion Jr>or maintainer of the home when we were back in Chicago. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And our life was a mixture of children and <v Dr. John Branion Jr>work, and all the things necessary to keep
<v Dr. John Branion Jr>that-that going. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>We had been married 24 years and <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I thought we would be married at least another 24. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I had no idea that what happened would have happened. <v Narrator>The Hyde Park area in Chicago, just a few miles south of downtown. <v Narrator>This is the alley behind the building that 20 years ago housed Ida Mae Scott Hospital. <v Narrator>On the morning of December 22nd, 1967. <v Narrator>Dr. John Branion got into his car after a morning of seeing patients in the clinic. <v Narrator>It was Friday, three days before Christmas, 10 degrees and <v Narrator>snowing. He was on his way to pick up his four year old son ?Jobi? <v Narrator>at nursery school. The events that morning would change his life forever. <v Narrator>It was at least 11:30 when Branion walked out of the hospital. <v Narrator>It was 11:57 when he and neighbors called the police from his home
<v Narrator>to report finding the body of his wife, Donna. <v Narrator>The crime itself took at least 15 minutes to commit, given the undisputed <v Narrator>physical evidence. The question has always been, did John <v Narrator>Branion have time to drive the entire route, pick up his son, talk <v Narrator>to friends and commit the crime? <v Narrator>The police testified that they could make the drive in six minutes, never exceeding <v Narrator>the posted speed of 30 miles an hour and stopping for all traffic signals. <v Narrator>Given the timetable of events, this leaves just barely the 15 <v Narrator>minutes needed for John to have killed Donna. <v Narrator>The six minute drive time, as claimed by the police, was a key bit of testimony <v Narrator>that led to John Branion's conviction. <v Narrator>The route will be shown in its entirety, driven at the posted speed limit <v Narrator>and stopping for all traffic signals. <v Narrator>The elapsed time for the driver will be shown in the lower right hand corner.
<v Anthony D'Amato>Suppose you came home, you found your wife brutally <v Anthony D'Amato>murdered. There was no sign of entry into- the uh forced entry into <v Anthony D'Amato>the apartment. Your own steak knife had been used in stabbing her to death, <v Anthony D'Amato>and you immediately report it to the police. <v Anthony D'Amato>That's it, Mike. That's all that there was against him. <v Anthony D'Amato>He was the husband. He found the body. <v Anthony D'Amato>There was no sign of breaking and entering into the apartment, and presumably his own <v Anthony D'Amato>weapon was used the gun. In fact I would admit or I would concede that <v Anthony D'Amato>his own gun was used because he had a gun around the house that he used for protection. <v Anthony D'Amato>And that was undoubtedly used by the killer or killers. <v Anthony D'Amato>That's all they had. Now, you would think that that could happen <v Anthony D'Amato>to anybody. I mean, you just come home and and, you know, it's a horrible situation. <v Anthony D'Amato>Your wife has been murdered or your husband has been murdered. <v Anthony D'Amato>It's certainly enough for the police to investigate and ask questions. <v Anthony D'Amato>You say, well, maybe, you know, maybe the husband did it. <v Anthony D'Amato>Maybe the person who found the body did it. <v Anthony D'Amato>Let's look into it. But unless there's more evidence than that, like some
<v Anthony D'Amato>motive, like some opportunity, like some other things <v Anthony D'Amato>that would point to the husband as being the killer, <v Anthony D'Amato>you would normally think, well, gee, after all, he reported the crime, he was grief <v Anthony D'Amato>stricken. Uh if he wanted to murder his wife, he wouldn't have <v Anthony D'Amato>done it in this-this kind of fashion where it would be evident to everybody <v Anthony D'Amato>and you would look into the circumstances. <v Patrick Tuite>I thought it was a very circumstantial case. <v Patrick Tuite>I thought the major piece of evidence is what we found in the search warrant, which I <v Patrick Tuite>knew about earlier, that she was killed with <v Patrick Tuite>four, nine millimeter short type bullets. <v Patrick Tuite>They're called there were nine MMK and the K stands for Kertz, which in German is short. <v Patrick Tuite>And it was found at that through ballistics that <v Patrick Tuite>those shells were fired from a Walther PPK, which at the time <v Patrick Tuite>was very popular because it was James Bond's gun and the James Bond movies.
<v Patrick Tuite>And things were pretty popular at that time as they are today. <v Patrick Tuite>And he denied owning a Walther <v Patrick Tuite>PPK. And these policemen, who I always felt did a magnificent job <v Patrick Tuite>in putting this case together, checked with Walther <v Patrick Tuite>and found the names of dealers in the Chicago area and then went to the gun <v Patrick Tuite>shops in Chicago, you're looking for all sales of Walter PPKs. <v Patrick Tuite>Gun shops have to keep records of all guns purchased and sold. <v Patrick Tuite>And they found one gun that was sold to the best friend of the defendant, <v Patrick Tuite>John Branion. He wasn't the defendant at the time. <v Patrick Tuite>And uh he um he said that <v Patrick Tuite>he gave that, they went to the best friend and <v Patrick Tuite>said, where's the gun? He said, I gave it to Dr. Branion for Christmas the year before. <v Patrick Tuite>So now we had Branion saying he didn't own such a gun and we had somebody telling us that <v Patrick Tuite>he had given him the gun. So we got a search warrant for the house looking for the gun.
<v Patrick Tuite>And in the house we found not we, but the police found the box <v Patrick Tuite>the gun came in with the serial number on the box, which matched the serial number at the <v Patrick Tuite>records at the gun shop and a box of bullets and the <v Patrick Tuite>bullets had four missing. <v Patrick Tuite>And the bullets were in a bag up on a closet shelf in the doctor's closet in his bedroom. <v Patrick Tuite>And there was a box and the box has I think 16 shells and four were missing. <v Patrick Tuite>And it was the same brand as the bullets found next to her body. <v Patrick Tuite>And that we felt was was very strong evidence against him. <v Barbara D'Amato>It was a real revelation to me. <v Barbara D'Amato>I had, I guess, a quite optimistic notion about what the criminal <v Barbara D'Amato>justice system was like, and I think so also back then did Branion. <v Barbara D'Amato>He really thought that an innocent person couldn't be convicted. <v Barbara D'Amato>As I started to read back through the data, I found <v Barbara D'Amato>that the points they had, had considered
<v Barbara D'Amato>proof of his guilt tended to vanish. <v Barbara D'Amato>They sounded very solid in the Illinois Supreme Court report. <v Barbara D'Amato>When you went back to the trial, they were by no means that clear. <v Barbara D'Amato>When you went back to the original police reports, in most cases they vanished <v Barbara D'Amato>altogether. So it was quite a learning experience <v Barbara D'Amato>for me. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>The historical timing of the Branion case is remarkable. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>The death of Martin Luther King, the riots in Chicago, the public <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>convulsion. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>In order to create the perception that the police were doing a good job <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>and that the prosecutors and the courts were backing them up, that you had to find <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>somebody guilty of something. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>I don't know how to dissect that out. It is unmistakable. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>If you simply look at the timing that somehow that may have been an unconscious factor. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>I would prefer not to think that it was a deliberate factor, but I don't know.
<v Barbara D'Amato>John's father was the grandson of a slave. <v Barbara D'Amato>He had come up to Chicago from one of the southern states to study at the University <v Barbara D'Amato>of Chicago Law School. When he graduated from law school, he decided stay here in <v Barbara D'Amato>Chicago. And he went into the public defender's office, he was the first black public <v Barbara D'Amato>defender in the history of Chicago. <v Barbara D'Amato>And very good at it, he rose through the ranks and became <v Barbara D'Amato>essentially the manager of the public defender's office and something of a legend <v Barbara D'Amato>in Chicago. People would go hear him argue cases, students from the law schools would go <v Barbara D'Amato>to hear him argue his cases. <v Barbara D'Amato>John Branion, of course, grew up in Chicago and went to Chicago High School where <v Barbara D'Amato>he met Donna Brown, Donna Brown was the daughter of Sidney Brown, who was a very <v Barbara D'Amato>wealthy black realtor and banker in Chicago, <v Barbara D'Amato>one of the owners of one of the first black owned savings and loans in Chicago. <v Barbara D'Amato>The Browns opposed the relationship between Donna
<v Barbara D'Amato>and John. And when John graduated from high school and went to college <v Barbara D'Amato>at the University of Wisconsin, they sent Donna to one of the universities <v Barbara D'Amato>in California, I think it was UCLA to be as far away as possible. <v Barbara D'Amato>After a year, John was drafted it was 1942 <v Barbara D'Amato>and he went off to war. <v Barbara D'Amato>On one of his furloughs in California, he and <v Barbara D'Amato>Donna married, but the Browns had the marriage annulled a few months <v Barbara D'Amato>later. And it wasn't until after John came home from the Army. <v Barbara D'Amato>I think it was 1946. <v Barbara D'Amato>And he and Donna still wanted to marry that the Browns finally gave their permission <v Barbara D'Amato>for the match. <v Barbara D'Amato>John had come back honorably discharged and wanted to go to college on <v Barbara D'Amato>the G.I. Bill. But at this time there were just thousands of <v Barbara D'Amato>veterans wanting to get into medical school, which was what John really had always wanted
<v Barbara D'Amato>to do, become a doctor. <v Barbara D'Amato>Not being able to, he went to the University of Illinois and got a degree in <v Barbara D'Amato>pharmacology. But a couple of years later, he heard from a friend that <v Barbara D'Amato>in Europe, particularly in France and Switzerland, it was comparatively easy for <v Barbara D'Amato>a black person to be admitted to a medical school. <v Barbara D'Amato>So he and Donna packed up and went over there and <v Barbara D'Amato>he was admitted to a medical school in Switzerland. <v Barbara D'Amato>The only catch was that the classes were all taught either in German or in French. <v Barbara D'Amato>And so in a matter of a couple of months before classes started, he had learned both <v Barbara D'Amato>German and French to be able to handle the classes which he did, and <v Barbara D'Amato>graduated five years later with honors. <v Barbara D'Amato>When John got back to the States, he started his residency, <v Barbara D'Amato>I guess actually his internship and then residency at Cook County Hospital. <v Barbara D'Amato>During that time, he met a number of people who were interested in increasing
<v Barbara D'Amato>the number of blacks admitted to both medical schools, nursing schools in this country. <v Barbara D'Amato>He got involved in that movement. <v Barbara D'Amato>It was about this time that he met another doctor interested in the civil rights <v Barbara D'Amato>movement, Dr. Quentin Young. <v Barbara D'Amato>As time went on, this was now the early 60s. <v Barbara D'Amato>The black civil rights movement in this country was growing very rapidly and he became <v Barbara D'Amato>heavily involved in it. He was engaged in marches and in some cases, <v Barbara D'Amato>as the situation grew more violent. He treated some young black men <v Barbara D'Amato>who had been injured by the police in scuffles, which I think brought him to the <v Barbara D'Amato>attention of the state's attorney's office and probably the Chicago police. <v Barbara D'Amato>Martin Luther King came to Chicago in 1966 <v Barbara D'Amato>or possibly late 1965 to start the fair housing marches <v Barbara D'Amato>here in Chicago. Housing was heavily segregated in the city. <v Barbara D'Amato>John became involved in that movement as a natural extension of what he had been doing
<v Barbara D'Amato>before. And when the marches began, John marched <v Barbara D'Amato>next to Dr. King in order as a physician to be able to treat him if he was injured. <v Barbara D'Amato>People were throwing bricks and rocks and ?M80s? <v Barbara D'Amato>and pop bottles and all kinds of things off of the buildings onto the marchers. <v Barbara D'Amato>So there were a lot of injuries. And John was there to help treat them <v Barbara D'Amato>along with him was a nurse from his hospital named Shirley Hudson, <v Barbara D'Amato>with whom he was having a relationship that was going on some six years at this point. <v Barbara D'Amato>Shirley was was, as I say, a nurse. <v Barbara D'Amato>She was willing to do a lot of things like hunting and fishing and so forth, <v Barbara D'Amato>that John's wife Donna apparently was not. <v Barbara D'Amato>Donna was quite a homebody and primarily liked to stay <v Barbara D'Amato>around the house and cook and take care of the family. <v Barbara D'Amato>As nearly as I can tell from talking with friends of the family, Donna was
<v Barbara D'Amato>aware of the situation with Shirley and there apparently was not very <v Barbara D'Amato>much dissension. <v Barbara D'Amato>Obviously, from the people I've talked with, a great many of their friends knew about it <v Barbara D'Amato>and it seemed to be relatively accepted. <v Barbara D'Amato>By 1967, Donna and John had two children. <v Barbara D'Amato>There was Jan, who was 14, the daughter and ?Jobi?, <v Barbara D'Amato>who was four, and his life was was pretty stable. <v Barbara D'Amato>He was seeing Shirley Hudson, but he spent a great deal <v Barbara D'Amato>of his time at home as well and was very close with the children. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I went in the house. All the lights were on. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>All the lights were on and the TVs were playing, and I <v Dr. John Branion Jr>?saw that screen?. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And I said, "Babe?", I hollered down the hall and we started <v Dr. John Branion Jr>walking to the master bedroom.
<v Dr. John Branion Jr>Nobody was in the master bedroom. Turned around, walked back up the hallway, looked in <v Dr. John Branion Jr>the other bedrooms and walked into the kitchen. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And I looked to my right, and I could see her legs. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>She was lying in a puddle of blood in the utility room, in the-off <v Dr. John Branion Jr>the kitchen. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I uh I reached in, <v Dr. John Branion Jr>turn on the light and bent down and I could just see she was dead, there's <v Dr. John Branion Jr>no breathing, no movement. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>She was-she was purple. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>So I grabbed ?Jobi? And ran out the back door, <v Dr. John Branion Jr>yelling for Helen. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>A neighbor upstairs. I don't remember what happened, but I understand that <v Dr. John Branion Jr>people saw me. I stood there in a daze as though I was in shock. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And somebody rang for the police at 11:57 and the police came at 11:58.
<v Dr. John Branion Jr>And then I remember talking to a policeman after that on the back porch. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>A guy in uniform, so he must have been if I ?would have came initial?. <v Interviewer>Something I've always been kind of described the scene after the <v Interviewer>detective showed up in the ?inaudible? <v Interviewer>With the apartment. What was going on in the apartment? <v Dr. John Branion Jr>It was a circus. It was an absolute circus. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>There were people everywhere, detectives, my friends. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>There must've been 50 people in the house. Everywhere. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Every room. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And nobody did anything. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Nobody took fingerprints anywhere. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Nobody there-there was blood on the back. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>In the master bedroom, under the carpet, nobody examined it. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Nobody did anything. Nobodydid anything. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>My dear friend, Wilbur Tuggle. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>After they took pictures and took Donna away, he
<v Dr. John Branion Jr>cleaned up all that blood. I remember we were doing that. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I'll never forget that. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>But they did nothing. They-there [indistinct]. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>They didn't prevent anyone from coming out. <v Oscar Brown Jr>There weren't so many suspects. <v Oscar Brown Jr>If you knew Donna, she was not a-an <v Oscar Brown Jr>outgoing person particularly, she didn't have a large circle of friends <v Oscar Brown Jr>who she intimately associated with, and so there <v Oscar Brown Jr>would be very few people who could get mad enough <v Oscar Brown Jr>to brutalize her the way this was. <v Oscar Brown Jr>And one of the few, of course, would be John. <v Oscar Brown Jr>And so it would came as no surprise, I don't think to anybody when <v Oscar Brown Jr>my wife and I first heard the news in Los Angeles. <v Oscar Brown Jr>The first person we say, "you think John did it?" Because we couldn't think of
<v Oscar Brown Jr>anybody else who would get that mad at Donna. <v R. Eugene Pincham>My impression is that I thought that it was some robber <v R. Eugene Pincham>who had gone berserk and <v R. Eugene Pincham>in the process of robbing Mrs. Branion, that she probably resisted <v R. Eugene Pincham>and he ended up killing her. <v R. Eugene Pincham>I can say this in all candor, it never dawned on me. <v R. Eugene Pincham>I've never dreamed that they had the vaguest, the slightest suspicion, the remotest <v R. Eugene Pincham>suspicion that her husband could possibly have been in the way involved in it. <v Interviewer>What did you think when John was arrested? <v R. Eugene Pincham>Amazed, shocked, surprised and frustrated. <v R. Eugene Pincham>My suspicion was that he was being made a scapegoat. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I was-I was at the clinic doing seeing our patients, you go <v Dr. John Branion Jr>from one room to another and you have to come out the hallway. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And I saw the detectives down there because I'd recognize them before, so I
<v Dr. John Branion Jr>went down said, "may I help you fellas?" And they said, "Well, are you working?" <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Yeah, I'm working. And they said, well, we'll wait <v Dr. John Branion Jr>for you to finish it. Okay. I'll be back about 11:30. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>So I finished the clinic and went back down there. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And with great reluctance, they told me I was under arrest. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And I said, you must be kidding. For what? <v Dr. John Branion Jr>For murdering your wife. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And I couldn't believe it. I called Nelson immediately <v Dr. John Branion Jr>and Nelson knew he was waiting for the call. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>He said, don't worry, I have a blank check here for you from Sydney. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And I'll come right down to get you out. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And that's what he did. But boy, <v Dr. John Branion Jr>when they took me to 12th street. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>It was just urine and dirt and you couldn't sit, <v Dr. John Branion Jr>you couldn't stand. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>It was the worst experience I'd ever had in my life.
<v Dr. John Branion Jr>And no matter how many times you see it on the screen, when you see pictures <v Dr. John Branion Jr>of of prisons and that <v Dr. John Branion Jr>last shutting of the-of the bar door, boy <v Dr. John Branion Jr>when it shuts on you, it's all different. <v Narrator>As the trial approached, one event set an ominous tone for Branion's day in <v Narrator>court. Dr. Martin Luther King was shot on April 4th, 1968. <v Narrator>Anger raged through the country and Chicago burned more violently than most cities. <v Narrator>On the evening of April 5th, 36 major fires were roaring throughout the <v Narrator>metropolitan area. By 10:00 that night, the fire alarms came into the station <v Narrator>so fast that they could no longer be counted. <v Narrator>Mayor Daley issued an order to shoot looters and arsonists. <v Narrator>By April 9th, huge areas of the city lay in ruins and fire <v Narrator>hoses laced the city streets. <v Narrator>Nine black people, mostly youths, had been killed. <v Narrator>10,000 police and 7,000 National Guard troops occupied
<v Narrator>the city. Three weeks later, in a city tense with fear and <v Narrator>overhung by the odor of charred buildings, John Branion went on trial for <v Narrator>murder. On this block is the Hyde Park Neighborhood Nursery <v Narrator>School, where Dr. Brennan picked up his son ?Jobi? <v Narrator>on that morning, on that December day. <v Narrator>Branion parked and went in to get his son. <v Patrick Tuite>I think that, however, a black going to trial after the Martin Luther King riots, <v Patrick Tuite>if you had suburban people who were who were afraid of the blacks, <v Patrick Tuite>who were afraid of a-a black movement into the suburbs, <v Patrick Tuite>yeah, it would have been a bad time to have a black man on trial. <v Patrick Tuite>But he wasn't a-he was not-John Branion was a very distinguished looking guy, <v Patrick Tuite>had a very distinguished lawyer, Maury Scott, and was not a street criminal <v Patrick Tuite>or somebody that the average citizen be afraid of. <v Patrick Tuite>Looking back, I don't know. <v Patrick Tuite>I'm-I'm trying to think I didn't get any feeling as I sit here thinking back 20 years
<v Patrick Tuite>that there was a strong anti-black movement or a strong anti <v Patrick Tuite>defendant feeling going on there, particularly with a professional man. <v Anthony D'Amato>There were 11 out of 12 members of the jury were white. <v Anthony D'Amato>One was a middle aged black, rather timid woman. <v Anthony D'Amato>Everyone else in the trial was white. The prosecutors, the judge, <v Anthony D'Amato>we had a flamboyant prosecutor and a very incompetent defense attorney <v Anthony D'Amato>and a judge who is now in federal prison for corruption and bribery and extortion. <v Anthony D'Amato>Presiding is the judge, you had a combination of such circumstances. <v Anthony D'Amato>Unbelievable streak of bad luck against John Branion that in a way, prove that <v Anthony D'Amato>this is one of those rare exceptional cases. <v Anthony D'Amato>I mean, you don't-you're not going to find another case like this probably if you <v Anthony D'Amato>if you search for a very long time. <v R. Eugene Pincham>One of the unique ingredients of the case was that the <v R. Eugene Pincham>defense team and the defendant were
<v R. Eugene Pincham>close personal acquaintances and indeed associates <v R. Eugene Pincham>and friends. <v R. Eugene Pincham>Hindsight is 20/20. <v R. Eugene Pincham>Close personal associations and relationships between attorney <v R. Eugene Pincham>and client during the course of the trial sometimes <v R. Eugene Pincham>blinds the objectivity on the part of the client <v R. Eugene Pincham>as well as on the part of the lawyer. <v R. Eugene Pincham>Hindsight, again, is 20/20 and the lawyers in the case as well as John. <v R. Eugene Pincham>Perhaps misjudged the quality and the quantity <v R. Eugene Pincham>of the evidence. <v R. Eugene Pincham>Misjudged the attitudes of the jurors. <v R. Eugene Pincham>And that's understandable. And indeed, it is excusable, particularly if the <v R. Eugene Pincham>defendant did not, in fact, commit the crime.
<v R. Eugene Pincham>And one of the problems in representing a defendant who did not commit a crime <v R. Eugene Pincham>is that he feels there's nothing to the case. <v R. Eugene Pincham>I didn't do it, so I'm not going to be convicted. <v R. Eugene Pincham>And that attitude overflows often to the lawyer. <v Oscar Brown Jr>Branion's trial um as I said, most of I don't remember who <v Oscar Brown Jr>the testimony. I think somebody was testifying as to the wounds. <v Oscar Brown Jr>So it must been early on in the trial. <v Oscar Brown Jr>As to the wounds. And then they were describing John's activities and how he had gone <v Oscar Brown Jr>this whole scenario of the time. The 11:37 or whatever. <v Oscar Brown Jr>And that was a part of it. <v Oscar Brown Jr>And he was to have gone and picked up Maxine. <v Oscar Brown Jr>And she was put on the witness stand before lunch and um <v Oscar Brown Jr>mis-stated the facts, and <v Oscar Brown Jr>had to correct them, otherwise she was going to be held for perjury.
<v Oscar Brown Jr>I know that questions when the questions would come up as to Shirley <v Oscar Brown Jr>there would be an objection and that would not be allowed. <v Oscar Brown Jr>And that seemed to me to have been the case of much of what was <v Oscar Brown Jr>discussed during that portion of the trial. <v Oscar Brown Jr>Then afterward, I went out to lunch with them and it was like, <v Oscar Brown Jr>oh like we'd been to a tense football game, ya know a basketball <v Oscar Brown Jr>game. And the outcome was still, you know, we were all having lunch, you know, and you <v Oscar Brown Jr>talking about the seriousness of this game. <v Oscar Brown Jr>But, you know, bleachers have a fat ass and I was also noticing- <v Interviewer> Why don't you kind of give us the police version? <v Interviewer>And then what we've been able to figure out, what's the more likely version? <v Barbara D'Amato>Right. Well, the prosecutor's version, I would say, rather than the police version, <v Barbara D'Amato>because the actual police reports contradict in some ways some of the prosecutor's
<v Barbara D'Amato>version. The prosecutor's assertion was that Branion had left the hospital <v Barbara D'Amato>about 11:30. <v Barbara D'Amato>Driven to his apartment, shot his wife. <v Barbara D'Amato>Then gone on to pick up his four year old ?Jobi? <v Barbara D'Amato>at nursery school. <v Barbara D'Amato>Then gone on to the place of work of a friend of his and her is Maxine <v Barbara D'Amato>Brown, was intending to pick up Maxine Brown for lunch. <v Barbara D'Amato>She was busy, then drove home and entered the apartment <v Barbara D'Amato>with ?Jobi? In their version, pretended to be <v Barbara D'Amato>surprised at finding the body of his wife. <v Barbara D'Amato>Then ran out on the back porch with ?Jobi? <v Barbara D'Amato>To yell for a neighbor's help. And then the police were called. <v Barbara D'Amato>In fact, the more research we did on it, the more impossible it came to <v Barbara D'Amato>seem that he would have time to do it. <v Barbara D'Amato>Essentially, they were saying that he had 27 minutes to accomplish this. <v Barbara D'Amato>We found that in fact, he had stayed and stayed on at the hospital about four or five <v Barbara D'Amato>minutes longer. To see an emergency patient who would come in in pain.
<v Barbara D'Amato>We discovered that the police notion that the route could have been driven <v Barbara D'Amato>in six minutes was simply wrong. <v Barbara D'Amato>We discovered that he had spent longer in the nursery school than <v Barbara D'Amato>was summed up at the end of the trial. <v Barbara D'Amato>Although in fact during the trial the nursery school teacher had said he'd spent five <v Barbara D'Amato>minutes in there, simply lost in his summation. <v Barbara D'Amato>We discovered also in a kind of circuitous way that that the crime would have taken <v Barbara D'Amato>longer than they thought then what they summed up at the trial. <v Oscar Brown Jr>This trial was a sort of fill in the blanks trial. <v Oscar Brown Jr>They didn't really talk about what they were about. <v Oscar Brown Jr>You wouldn't know what they allowed in the trial. <v Oscar Brown Jr>The guy had a girlfriend, they don't want to talk about that in all of your relevant <v Oscar Brown Jr>material. All this stuff I objected and they objected the whole the reality <v Oscar Brown Jr>of the relationship out of the picture that they were just sort of talking about <v Oscar Brown Jr>legalisms, in my opinion, and never really talking about the people and what might have <v Oscar Brown Jr>happened. They were accusing John Branion he left the hospital
<v Oscar Brown Jr>over here and come home, plotted this now, come home, <v Oscar Brown Jr>go in his house, knock his wife off, beat it back to the hospital <v Oscar Brown Jr>and then come back later and pretend to find her. <v Oscar Brown Jr>Now, I suppose it's conceivable that that's what he did, but for him to have planned that <v Oscar Brown Jr>would have been insane. They should've tried him for being nuts because <v Oscar Brown Jr>you can't plan to come into these neighborhoods in the middle of the morning <v Oscar Brown Jr>and not be seen, especially not to do anything like murder. <v Oscar Brown Jr>I mean, you wouldn't you wouldn't sit home for an hour and what I'll do is <v Oscar Brown Jr>I'll sneak in the house about 10:30. <v Oscar Brown Jr>How the hell do you know that somebody, a mail man wouldn't see you? The neighbors would <v Oscar Brown Jr>come and the kids home from school. Anything, anything. <v Oscar Brown Jr>You couldn't-it could happen that you could've come home and not be seen by a soul and <v Oscar Brown Jr>that you could do a murder and go-go back out and not be seen by a soul. <v Oscar Brown Jr>But to plan on that would be nuts. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>Well, the first problem is that the entire matrix of facts was not submitted
<v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>to the jury for consideration. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>This, I suppose, from one point of view comes under the rubric <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>of attorney discretion. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>The system contains the perception <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>that the person charged with the crime is innocent, <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>and you have to establish beyond reasonable doubt his or her guilt. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>The truth of the matter is quite different. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>You have to establish reasonable your innocence to counter the force <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>of whatever evidence is marshaled to establish your guilt. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>You shouldn't have to do that, but that's what actually has to occur. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>The doctor's attorney left out witnesses, did very superficial investigation of <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>his own. And so an incomplete story was presented to the jury, <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>I have been informed. I don't have firsthand knowledge, but I have been informed that the <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>prosecutor in this case has subsequently indicated that he had reasonable reason
<v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>to believe at the time Dr. Branion could not have done it and yet proceeded with the <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>prosecution. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>That to me is ethical misfeasance of the worst sort. <v Interviewer>Is that-is there-are we saying something about the justice system as a whole? <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>We are. <v Interviewer>You want to-want to put your finger right on it? <v Interviewer>I mean, is it-is it a problem in terms of who is a-who is alive? <v Interviewer>I mean, I always wanted to ask that question. <v Interviewer>Who-who does the lawyer serve? <v Interviewer>Who does the prosecutor serve? Is it-. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>He serves his own interest. <v Barbara D'Amato>The jury never heard anything specific about the number of wounds in Donna Branion's <v Barbara D'Amato>body. The original police report talked about 13 <v Barbara D'Amato>wounds. The police testimony at the inquest described 13 <v Barbara D'Amato>wounds in the pathology report, describes the 13 wounds in detail. <v Barbara D'Amato>But the jury was led to think that there were possibly <v Barbara D'Amato>four or five wounds and that they could have been caused by four bullets.
<v Barbara D'Amato>This was connected by the prosecutor to a box of bullets he had found in the closet where <v Barbara D'Amato>one of the policemen found in the closet from which four bullets were missing. <v Barbara D'Amato>And the fact that there were four bullets missing from a box in the closet, he argued, <v Barbara D'Amato>was proof that John Branion had shot Donna Branion. <v Barbara D'Amato>The prosecutor in his closing argument led the jury to think that Dr. Branion <v Barbara D'Amato>had been asked for a Walter PPK and denied having one. <v Barbara D'Amato>It actually didn't happen that way. <v Barbara D'Amato>During the early afternoon, the police who had seen <v Barbara D'Amato>some empty shells with mark 9 millimeter on the base and it seemed Dr. Branion's gun <v Barbara D'Amato>collection around the-round the house, there was-there were guns in the-in the den <v Barbara D'Amato>and a display case in several other places. <v Barbara D'Amato>Asked him if he had a 9 millimeter weapon and he gave them one. <v Barbara D'Amato>They apparently took that back to the Chicago Police Department <v Barbara D'Amato>and it was fired and tested and didn't match the bullets found in her body.
<v Barbara D'Amato>And in the course of that afternoon, one of the experts at the Chicago Police Department <v Barbara D'Amato>told them to ask for a .380. <v Barbara D'Amato>.380 is American designation for a size that's similar to a 9 millimeter, but not <v Barbara D'Amato>identical. <v Barbara D'Amato>They went back in the early evening, ask Dr. Branion for <v Barbara D'Amato>a .380, and he gave them one. <v Barbara D'Amato>At that point, they asked if he had another .380 and apparently he said no, <v Barbara D'Amato>but the Walter PPK is a 9 millimeter, and none of the policemen who testified <v Barbara D'Amato>at the trial; there were five or six who testified ever testified that they <v Barbara D'Amato>actually asked him for a Walter PPK. <v Barbara D'Amato>I think they couldn't have because I think it took them-the lab, according to the police <v Barbara D'Amato>reports, several days to put together the the data that led them to think the Walter <v Barbara D'Amato>PPK might have been the weapon that made those kinds of marks on those cartridges and <v Barbara D'Amato>pellets. <v Narrator>This was the block that contained Maxine Brown's office. <v Narrator>John and ?Jobi? parked and went inside only to find that Maxine
<v Narrator>was unable to join them for lunch. <v Narrator>They continued home. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Yes, I wanted to testify. I uh I've-Well <v Dr. John Branion Jr>several things I wanted to. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>They had created a picture of four bullets <v Dr. John Branion Jr>coming from a box that I had, and these four bullets causing <v Dr. John Branion Jr>the 12-the 13 holes in my wife's <v Dr. John Branion Jr>body, which was impossible, but they went to great lengths to do <v Dr. John Branion Jr>this, and I had gotten a friend of mine who was an excellent <v Dr. John Branion Jr>an expert gun person Tom Haas, <v Dr. John Branion Jr>he was coming up and he came to Chicago to testify as an expert witness <v Dr. John Branion Jr>about the difference between these two gun groups they use, .380s and <v Dr. John Branion Jr>9mm. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And so Maurice after the man had <v Dr. John Branion Jr>come, didn't want to use him, and I thought that was strange.
<v Dr. John Branion Jr>I thought-I thought he had had questioned all the witnesses. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>The ones I told him I was with that day, so I didn't ask him again about those <v Dr. John Branion Jr>because I thought he questioned them and he said, well, we can't use them. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And I didn't even know what they would have said. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I didn't find out what they would have said until 1985. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>So when. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>So then I said to him, look, I think I should get on the stand. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>No one has told my side of the story. No one has said anything. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>But we don't need to, he said. They have to prove your guilt. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And I said, well, do you think they have proved my guilt? <v Dr. John Branion Jr>No, no, no. They haven't proved you. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Excuse me. You're guilty. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Now, at that point. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Had I been a little more rational, I would have understood his-his answer should have <v Dr. John Branion Jr>been. No, they didn't prove your guilt. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>They proved your innocence. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>But because he didn't know the facts of the crime, of the testimony.
<v Dr. John Branion Jr>The only one who knew the-the facts could take the facts in the testimony <v Dr. John Branion Jr>and add them together, could come out with the conclusion that they proved that I <v Dr. John Branion Jr>couldn't have done it. But he never did made that statement, which meant he'd never knew <v Dr. John Branion Jr>that to be correct. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And had I known that. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I could have said. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Well, I would have said bring on witnesses and everything else because they proved, he <v Dr. John Branion Jr>didn't even argue in his summation, in his argument. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>He didn't argue that the state proved I didn't do it. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>He mumbled and fumbled over the times, but he was not clear <v Dr. John Branion Jr>because he didn't understand it himself, nor did I at the time. <v Patrick Tuite>He told the whole jury panel his client was <v Patrick Tuite>having an affair. We never could find her. <v Patrick Tuite>So it never came out in evidence. <v Patrick Tuite>He never took the witness stand to explain the affair or to say <v Patrick Tuite>the you know, that was a fling and it had nothing to do with it. <v Patrick Tuite>I wasn't being pressured to divorce my wife or anything of that sort.
<v Patrick Tuite>So the jury had the evidence through the voir dire questioning that he was an adulterer <v Patrick Tuite>and that there was no evidence brought out about it. <v Patrick Tuite>And-and I wondered about that tactic. <v Patrick Tuite>Now, maybe Scott believed we would find her and put her on the stand and the jury would <v Patrick Tuite>be shocked to hear about it. And he wanted to take the shock away from it, which is a <v Patrick Tuite>good tactic. And maybe he-he didn't know that she was unavailable. <v Patrick Tuite>But that was the only thing is the jury was-was told by the defense <v Patrick Tuite>that there was an extramarital affair, which the state never proved. <v Patrick Tuite>And we could never prove it because we didn't have the witness. <v R. Eugene Pincham>My recollection is that John was a at least <v R. Eugene Pincham>alleged to have been having affairs <v R. Eugene Pincham>with other women, we discussed that they were afraid that <v R. Eugene Pincham>if he testified, the prosecutor would cross-examine him on his <v R. Eugene Pincham>infidelity and his loyalty to his wife.
<v R. Eugene Pincham>My suggestion to them was simply that <v R. Eugene Pincham>we may not want to admit it, but I don't think society is going to send <v R. Eugene Pincham>this man to jail for murdering his wife because he was disloyal or <v R. Eugene Pincham>violated his marital vows. <v R. Eugene Pincham>I even went so far as to suggest to them that in my judgment, many <v R. Eugene Pincham>jurors will accept the reality that <v R. Eugene Pincham>doctors do have affairs with other women. <v R. Eugene Pincham>And I suggested that perhaps. <v R. Eugene Pincham>That would be an avenue that could be pursued beneficial to his defense. <v R. Eugene Pincham>The reason the prosecutors are bringing this is because they don't have evidence of the <v R. Eugene Pincham>murder and they want to arouse your passion to convict him of murder because he had an <v R. Eugene Pincham>affair with another woman. And quite frankly, when I last talked to them about it, my <v R. Eugene Pincham>understanding was that he was going to testify. <v R. Eugene Pincham>And when I arrived at court the next morning, when he spoke, testified, they were arguing <v R. Eugene Pincham>the case to the jury and they had decided that he wouldn't.
<v R. Eugene Pincham>I frankly feel within the recess of my soul that the fatal mistake in that case <v R. Eugene Pincham>was he rolled the dice. <v R. Eugene Pincham>It came up that he would not testify. He didn't testify and the jury convicted him. <v Barbara D'Amato>It seems to me that John was trusting the judicial system <v Barbara D'Amato>to find him innocent because he was innocent and he underrated <v Barbara D'Amato>the possibility of mistakes happening. <v Barbara D'Amato>In his case, it was an avalanche of errors, everything that could <v Barbara D'Amato>possibly go wrong with the criminal justice system went wrong with his case. <v Barbara D'Amato>He was arrested, I think, partly because no other good <v Barbara D'Amato>possibility presented itself. <v Barbara D'Amato>He was arrested in the absence of any evidence that he had been in the house <v Barbara D'Amato>that day earlier or any evidence that placed the gun in his hand or anything <v Barbara D'Amato>else of that sort. <v Barbara D'Amato>He was tried at a very difficult, <v Barbara D'Amato>violent time in Chicago's history at a time of extreme racial unrest.
<v Barbara D'Amato>He was tried in front of a jury that was already intimidated by the <v Barbara D'Amato>social upheaval that was going on in the city, a jury of 11 whites and one black. <v Barbara D'Amato>By a prosecutor who knew from talking with the <v Barbara D'Amato>witnesses that Dr. Branion could not have-could not <v Barbara D'Amato>have found the time to be in the house that day, and who nevertheless, in his closing <v Barbara D'Amato>summed up by saying you stood over her and shot her like <v Barbara D'Amato>a dog. <v Barbara D'Amato>And sentenced by a judge who was an extortionist then <v Barbara D'Amato>and who apparently was holding off, giving a directed verdict <v Barbara D'Amato>or a judgment not withstanding the verdict in order to extort money from Branion's <v Barbara D'Amato>friends and family. <v Barbara D'Amato>It goes beyond that, actually. He was also the conviction was also upheld <v Barbara D'Amato>by the Illinois Supreme Court when the Illinois Supreme Court had just lost <v Barbara D'Amato>one member to death and I think two or three through a scandal.
<v Barbara D'Amato>And they upheld the conviction by leaving out <v Barbara D'Amato>of their summation the prosecutor's own pathologist's testimony <v Barbara D'Amato>that Donna's neck bruise would have taken 15 to 30 minutes to develop. <v Patrick Tuite>My argument, I can remember it now, there was a chair in the courtroom and I made <v Patrick Tuite>folly of that and I said, yes. Knock on the door of marshal field's, punch her in the <v Patrick Tuite>mouth, run to the closet, get on a chair, go up and get the bullets, load <v Patrick Tuite>the gun, go shoot her. <v Patrick Tuite>That still doesn't explain the bullets. It doesn't explain the gun, type of thing. <v Patrick Tuite>There was always the problem, the ligature around the neck, of course. <v Patrick Tuite>How long? And there's a question what Belmonte said there. <v Interviewer>Yeah. I mean, that is something that they brought up the fact that he testified a minimum <v Interviewer>of 15 minutes. <v Patrick Tuite>Well, it wasn't clear, at least to me at the time, because you take notes and you don't <v Patrick Tuite>have the cold transcript. Whether he said you had to hold it like that for at least <v Patrick Tuite>fifteen minutes or the marks would ?inaudible? would show up 15 minutes later.
<v Interviewer>I subsequently read some things and they have all that-what they've said it's a tale-it <v Interviewer>would take a minimum 15 minutes that the cord would have been around the neck before <v Interviewer>death for fifteen minutes. <v Patrick Tuite>15 minutes for a total of 15? <v Interviewer>Oh, yeah. <v Patrick Tuite>Least it had to have been around the neck 15 minutes before death? <v Interviewer>15 minutes before death. <v Patrick Tuite>Because once you have death, the mark won't show up. <v Interviewer>Exactly. <v Interviewer>Something you mentioned about the pathologist. You know, there's been all this argument <v Interviewer>about the number of bullets. And at the trial, he seemed to indicate that it took more <v Interviewer>than the four shots. <v Interviewer>I mean, this whole explanation I've seen diagram, is it trying to explain how four shot <v Interviewer>produced 13 bullet wounds. <v Interviewer>You think the jury was getting all this stuff? <v Interviewer>I mean, it's very- <v Patrick Tuite>?Could I ever? Till somebody called me about it, I didn't even-that never was an issue in <v Patrick Tuite>the trial. And I haven't looked at the pathologist's report in 20 <v Patrick Tuite>years. But it never was an issue of what all those bullets were for. <v Patrick Tuite>Shells laying next to the body and which <v Patrick Tuite>would indicate an automatic weapon, which a Walther PPK is.
<v Patrick Tuite>There was never indication of more than four shots fired. <v Patrick Tuite>And Scott never made an issue of of more than 13. <v Patrick Tuite>When somebody had called me, it may have been D'Amato or Tom ?Garrity? <v Patrick Tuite>From Northwestern had said there were 13 bullet wounds is really, I can't say the first <v Patrick Tuite>time I heard it for the first time had any impact because it really never came up at the <v Patrick Tuite>trial. <v Interviewer>Can-can you give us a sense of the person who shot the weapon, the size, shape like that? <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>Yes, I worked that out based upon reconstruction of the three dimensional <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>characteristics of the bullet wounds. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>And I came up with a figure of about 5'5" to 5' 6", <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>something in that range for their height, which, of course, is much shorter than Dr. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>Branion was at that time. <v Interviewer>Bottom line, I mean, we might as well get to it. <v Interviewer>I have to ask you this sooner or later. You're-in your expert opinion, the likelihood <v Interviewer>that Dr. Branion committed the crime? <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>Zero. He did not do it. <v Interviewer>You can say with all even with the 20 years looking back over the evidence?
<v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>Absolutely, the evidence does not demonstrate his guilt. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>That evidence demonstrates his innocence. <v Interviewer>Even the original trial? The evidence doesn't-?. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>Yes, because it was grossly misused. I mean, there was a sound heard at <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>roughly 11:20 or something like that. <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>Long before he was on the scene and long before he could conceivably have been on the <v Dr. Douglas Shanklin>scene. That sound was obviously gunfire. <v Narrator>John Branion was convicted and sentenced to 20 to 30 years. <v Narrator>While the case worked its way through the Illinois Supreme Court, Branion was free on <v Narrator>bond. He married Shirley Hudson several months after the trial. <v Narrator>As a convicted felon, he had lost his right to practice medicine. <v Narrator>So with permission from the court, they moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming they had a son the <v Narrator>next year. When the Illinois Supreme Court upheld his conviction, <v Narrator>omitting the state's pathologist evidence that the neck bruise would have taken 15 <v Narrator>to 30 minutes to form. <v Narrator>Branion decided there was no justice for him in the United States. <v Narrator>He left for Africa that day.
<v Narrator>Shirley remained in the United States to raise their son. <v Narrator>Some 10 years later, ?dealing? with hypertension. <v Narrator>John asked Shirley to come to Uganda, where he was working as an obstetrician. <v Narrator>During that stay, Shirley became pregnant again, this time with a daughter, Jade. <v Narrator>In 1983, with Shirley four months pregnant. <v Narrator>John was arrested and brought back to this country to serve his sentence. <v Narrator>He was then 58 years old. <v Narrator>Professors Anthony D'Amato, Tom Garrity and John Walsh from Northwestern <v Narrator>Law School have taken Branion's case through the federal courts with no success. <v Narrator>Over the past several years, Dr. Branion has had four heart attacks and bilateral <v Narrator>coronary bypass surgery. <v Narrator>The prison appointed physician estimates that he will die within four years. <v Narrator>His case won't come up for a parole hearing before then. <v Interviewer>Do you think you proved beyond reasonable-I mean now-I mean, the fact that you're not
<v Interviewer>a defense lawyer. Would you think-? <v Patrick Tuite>It's so hard to say. I mean, I try cases all the time where I think there are so many <v Patrick Tuite>reasonable doubts and juries don't think there are. <v Patrick Tuite>There were reasonable doubts a jury could have accepted. <v Patrick Tuite>There's no question that jury did not think there was reasonable doubt. <v Patrick Tuite>It's one of the quirks of our system is we say that a jury found <v Patrick Tuite>him guilty. Another jury could have found him innocent. <v Interviewer>It was in-so you think it was in that gray area? <v Patrick Tuite>?Yeah?, and it happens in any kind of trial. And there's trials where people are found <v Patrick Tuite>not guilty and a different jury would have found him guilty. <v Patrick Tuite>And the same facts, same lawyers and everything. <v Patrick Tuite>So it's a quirk as to what type of jury you get. <v Patrick Tuite>It's that and the jury isn't universal. <v Patrick Tuite>They make a fiction that it is the embodiment of the community. <v Patrick Tuite>It's nonsense. You get 12 people from over here and you get 12 people over there and then <v Patrick Tuite>you'll hear the same facts, you might reach different decisions. <v Patrick Tuite>This jury reached that decision. Another jury could have said reasonable doubt and <v Patrick Tuite>made a different decision.
<v Interviewer>A question I have to ask you. Do you think John actually committed the crime? <v Patrick Tuite>Well, it was a question in my mind whether Maury Scott put a little seed <v Patrick Tuite>of doubt in my mind during the trial, and that was <v Patrick Tuite>about whether he actually pulled the trigger. I always believed he had it done. <v Patrick Tuite>My belief was that he took his Walther PPK, gave <v Patrick Tuite>it to somebody and said, I'll be out of the house. <v Patrick Tuite>She'll be home alone. She'll let you in. <v Patrick Tuite>Do me a favor. She's a no good bitch or whatever. <v Patrick Tuite>She won't give me a divorce. Do me a favor. <v Patrick Tuite>And that he then went and he set up this luncheon with Maxine Brown all of a sudden <v Patrick Tuite>the night before out of the blue. <v Patrick Tuite>And he went and picked up his child, and he was gonna go to lunch in that, well, Maxine <v Patrick Tuite>Brown is, you know, the luncheon was aborted and she had another appointment. <v Patrick Tuite>So then he comes home instead. <v Patrick Tuite>Scott pointed out and I think, you know, it had a lot to do is, would he
<v Patrick Tuite>be that cold and calculated to walk in on a dead body knowing she was dead with <v Patrick Tuite>the kid who was then four or five? <v Patrick Tuite>And do you think that he's that bad guy to do that? <v Patrick Tuite>And it was always a question. Did he expected to have ?inaudible? <v Patrick Tuite>been done? That I don't know. <v Patrick Tuite>I don't know whether you expected it then, or expected at some other time. <v Patrick Tuite>I always felt that he was involved in it, that he had planned to do it with his gun, <v Patrick Tuite>whether he was actually there pulling the trigger, was a good question. <v Oscar Brown Jr>Feel kind of evenly divided between people who thought he did it, people who didn't know. <v Oscar Brown Jr>As I recall, there was no you know, there was. <v Oscar Brown Jr>I don't recall any great groundswell of animosity toward Branion. <v Oscar Brown Jr>It was one of the-it was a tragedy had he done it <v Oscar Brown Jr>if he were guilty of it, it would be just a sort of an American tragedy you know, like <v Oscar Brown Jr>what you got-what do you call this program? American Dream-.
<v Interviewer>American Nightmare. <v Oscar Brown Jr>?Yeah?, it's very American. <v Oscar Brown Jr>It's very American, it's very American in its aspiration. <v Oscar Brown Jr>It's very American in its color consciousness, it's very American in <v Oscar Brown Jr>its class consciousness. <v Oscar Brown Jr>It's very American in its um kind of acquisitiveness, <v Oscar Brown Jr>its desire to get over and to enjoy <v Oscar Brown Jr>the finer things. <v Oscar Brown Jr>And um it goes through the changes <v Oscar Brown Jr>of life of a man. <v Oscar Brown Jr>He was a fine doctor. <v Oscar Brown Jr>We all thought so. <v Oscar Brown Jr>He treated my wife, my girlfriend too. <v Patrick Tuite>One of the problems with the justice system is that <v Patrick Tuite>the quality of your lawyer could affect the outcome. <v Patrick Tuite>That the facts will really become secondary to the quality of the lawyers.
<v Patrick Tuite>And so you could have the most innocent defendant and have a terrible lawyer, <v Patrick Tuite>or a mediocre lawyer, or an average lawyer, and you could have a stirring <v Patrick Tuite>uh prosecutor who's going to convict. <v Patrick Tuite>The problem, even though a lot of people are presumed innocent and there's proof beyond a <v Patrick Tuite>reasonable doubt. Jurors are prone to convict. <v Patrick Tuite>I believe that jurors do not like to acquit and uh <v Patrick Tuite>that's a problem. <v Patrick Tuite>And so then it gets to the quality of the lawyer and we see it a lot. <v Patrick Tuite>If this guy had less, you know, I've had clients who had been acquitted said, <v Patrick Tuite>you know, if it wasn't for you, I could see my going with the other lawyer who was in the <v Patrick Tuite>case that I'd be in jail right now. <v Patrick Tuite>It's unfortunate. That's one of the problems, it's not computerized, here are the facts, <v Patrick Tuite>put it in a machine, the machine comes out and that's human nature. <v Patrick Tuite>And so th-the best part of the system is you get the best lawyer <v Patrick Tuite>on one side and the best lawyer the other side and you present everything the jury <v Patrick Tuite>decides. Unfortunately, you don't always have the quality of counsel
<v Patrick Tuite>and therefore you do end up with innocent people convicted or sometimes <v Patrick Tuite>then the argument can go the other way. <v Patrick Tuite>Guilty people going free because he had a better defense lawyer than he had than he had a <v Patrick Tuite>prosecutor. <v Interviewer>Which is tougher, defense or prosecution? <v Patrick Tuite>Defense much tougher. Much- <v Anthony D'Amato>7th Circuit is announcing that John Branion has been <v Anthony D'Amato>blessed with the fact that so many judges, the Illinois Supreme Court judges, <v Anthony D'Amato>all the federal judges have looked at his case so that he's had more due process <v Anthony D'Amato>of law than most prisoners could ever ask for. <v Anthony D'Amato>The strange thing is, why didn't one of these judges, just one of them say, <v Anthony D'Amato>it's clear to me that um that he's innocent? <v Anthony D'Amato>How could they all have read the same thing I read and the same thing any-any person can <v Anthony D'Amato>read and-and not come to that conclusion? <v Anthony D'Amato>I mean, it's-it's-it's like two and two equals four, it's provable. <v Anthony D'Amato>And it's extremely strange and upsetting to me that all of
<v Anthony D'Amato>those judges and out of all of those judges, not even one of them, much less <v Anthony D'Amato>all of them said, hey, this-this guy, this is a clear miscarriage <v Anthony D'Amato>of justice. <v Interviewer>What would you have said to the jury? <v Interviewer>You're up there. You're allowed to finally speak to- <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I would have told them what happened that day. I would have told them everything that <v Dr. John Branion Jr>happened to me that day. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And um <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I wish I would have convinced them by telling them that <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I couldn't have done it. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>There was no way for me to do it. How can I do it with my son there? <v Dr. John Branion Jr>You know, things like that. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>How can you-how could you where when I could have had time to do it otherwise? <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Everyone knew where I was from 9:30 until 11:57 <v Dr. John Branion Jr>that morning, everyone, well, many people did. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>20 people knew I was at the hospital. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>The nursing school attendant knew I was at the nursing school at 11:45.
<v Dr. John Branion Jr>The call went in at 11:57. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>It took 15 minutes at least for the scars to fall on my wife's neck. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>That would exclude me automatically. <v Interviewer>Because he'd have to time-. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I'd have to have been there with her 15 minutes, sometime between 11:30 and <v Dr. John Branion Jr>11:57, strangling her, and then kill her, <v Dr. John Branion Jr>shoot her. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>It's impossible. <v Interviewer>Patrick Tuite ?sums? those likes to say that you paid someone to commit the crime, did <v Interviewer>you pay someone? <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Yes, I heard that. No, of course not. I did. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>First of all, I love my wife. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I-we have been married 24 years and <v Dr. John Branion Jr>she was the mother of my children. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And Donna and John were just always together. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Secondly, I don't think I could even do <v Dr. John Branion Jr>that, I couldn't ask anyone to do something like that. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>And no, it would never come to my mind, never
<v Dr. John Branion Jr>came to my mind. <v Narrator>This was the block John Branion lived on in 1967. <v Narrator>The police testified they could drive the route in six minutes, never exceeding 30 <v Narrator>miles an hour, stopping for all traffic signals. <v Narrator>The six minute drive time was key to the morning timetable that could put <v Narrator>John Branion at the scene of the crime. <v Narrator>One of the many facts that would eventually lead to his conviction. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>All of my children have grown up without me. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>All of my children, with the exception of Jan, I left Jan <v Dr. John Branion Jr>when she was 14. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Your child needs a father at that time. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>?Jobi?. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>I left at the age of 7. Jeff, <v Dr. John Branion Jr>it was an intermittent period, and when I saw him in time and I didn't. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>Which didn't add up to more than six years of his life. <v Dr. John Branion Jr>So Jade, poor Jade, I love Jade.
Circle Of Plenty
Producing Organization
KCTS (Television station : Seattle, Wash.)
Contributing Organization
KCTS 9 (Seattle, Washington)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Program Description
"Circle of Plenty is a half-hour documentary focusing on an approach to agriculture that may produce at least a partial answer to the problem of feeding the world's hungry. The program takes viewers to Willits, California, for a close-up look at the 'biointensive' gardening techniques developed there by master gardener John Jeavons and his associates. The production also visits Tula, a village in arid northern Mexico, to illustrate how this 'low-tech,' high yield agricultural method can successfully be applied in developing nations. "This production merits Peabody consideration because it does not simply report on a problem, but examines a possible solution to that problem. In this respect, CIRCLE OF PLENTY uses a different approach from what is generally seen in television journalism. The documentary functions as a visual essay, a work of literary journalism that contributes to the public good by examining a global problem and exploring a solution."--1987 Peabody Awards entry form.
Broadcast Date
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Moving Image
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Producing Organization: KCTS (Television station : Seattle, Wash.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: cpb-aacip-cd8276300c6 (Filename)
Format: Betacam
Generation: Master
Duration: 30:00:00
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-44354ea3f81 (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 0:28:00
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Chicago: “Circle Of Plenty,” 1987-07-22, KCTS 9, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022,
MLA: “Circle Of Plenty.” 1987-07-22. KCTS 9, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <>.
APA: Circle Of Plenty. Boston, MA: KCTS 9, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from