Meet the Exonerees

Ralph Frye

State: Illinois
Date of Birth:
Incident Date: 08-Nov-88
Age at Arrest: 19
Conviction Date: 1989
Age When Exonerated: 27
Exonerated Date: 1994
Time Served: 5
Conviction: Murder
False Confession: Yes
Implicated by Another Youth: No

Case Details

William Dulan, an elderly farmer, was robbed and murdered in Iroquois County, Illinois in November 1988. A cocaine addict named Gayle Potter, who was arrested for the crime, implicated Ralph Frye, a nineteen-year-old boy with a mental disability, as well as John Burrows. Vulnerable to the flaws inherent in the justice system, Frye was coerced into falsely confessing to the crime, and was sentenced to twenty-seven years in prison. Burrows was sentenced to death, because Frye implicated him in the murder in exchange for a lessened sentence. Frye eventually recanted his confession, and Potter, the true murderer, admitted to committing the crime. After spending five years in prison, the charges of both Frye and Burrows were lifted in 1994.