Meet the Exonerees

Christopher Boots

State: Oregon
Date of Birth: 19
Incident Date: 06/07/1983
Age at Arrest: 19
Conviction Date: 03/24/1987
Age When Exonerated: 30
Exonerated Date: Oct-94
Time Served: 8
Conviction: Murder
False Confession: No
Implicated by Another Youth: No

Case Details

On June 7, 1983, nineteen-year-old Christopher Boots, and his friend Eric Proctor, entered a convenience store in Springfield, Oregon. Finding no one managing the open store, they left, and Boots dropped Proctor off at his home. Boots returned to the convenience store and found the body of Raymond Oliver, the clerk, bound with tape and shot in a walk-in cooler. Boots immediately called the police. Boots and Proctor were the prime suspects in the murder, and were arrested several weeks after the incident occurred. Nevertheless, Lane County District Attorney J. Pat Horton released the two after he concluded that there was a lack of sufficient evidence to indict the men. In 1986, Horton’s successor, Douglass Harcleroad, reopened the case, pursued, and obtained indictments against Boots and Proctor based on false statements that jailhouse snitches claimed the two had made while in custody. The prosecution also alleged that a “high velocity blood spatter” from the victim had been found on the clothes of both men. This was not DNA evidence. At trials in 1986 and in 1987 respectively, Boots and Proctor were both convicted by juries and sentenced to life in prison. Eight years later, in 1994, an anonymous informant tipped the police that a man named Ricky Kuppens, who had not been a suspect in the original trial, had committed the murder. Additionally, DNA testing on the blood splatter evidence showed the blood had not come from the victim. Police opened a reinvestigation and found that Kuppens’s fingerprints were found on the tape used to bind the victim. Finally, police used informants to record Kuppens admitting that he committed the murder. Boots and Proctor were exonerated and released in the same year. In 1996 they received a cumulative $2 million settlement.