Brain-washing led to statements misconstrued as a confession to murder
When 60-year-old Roger Zygmunt de la Burde was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head in his palatial home near Richmond, Virginia, in 1992, the medical examiner promptly deemed the death a suicide. But one detective assigned to the case suspected that Roger had been murdered. If so, an obvious prime suspect was his longtime girlfriend, Beverly Monroe, who recently had discovered that Roger was sleeping with another woman.
Over three months, the detective repeatedly questioned Beverly, until he literally brainwashed her into believing that she had been present when the death occurred — an experience so traumatic that she had blocked it out of her mind. Beverly, who had a master's degree in chemistry, confessed — not to murdering Roger, but to being present when he killed himself. The prosecution construed her words as a confession to murder. She was convicted and sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Beverly was exonerated in 2003, based on her legal team's discovery of evidence that had been illegally withheld at her trial, including forensic reports clearly indicating that Roger's death had been a suicide.
The federal judge who reversed her conviction called the interrogations that led to her false confession "deceitful and manipulative" and branded the case "a monument to prosecutorial indiscretions and mishandling."
— Rob Warden