Friday, April 15, 2011

The Handyman…My Son Pt. 2: His Appeal for a New Lawyer

When my son's appeal was granted, he was worried about what kind of lawyer he would be appointed, as he is determined to be very active in his court hearings now, making sure that the attorney who represents  him, does his job well.  This is my son's freedom...he HAS to do something.

This is the letter he wrote in search of a new lawyer:

Although, he didn't get any volunteers to take his case, J. V. has taken it and has become very adament about setting things to right for my son. 
Again...we have hopes and lots of prayers...
My name is Shawn Campbell, I am a 33 year old man sitting in an upstate prison for murder I did not commit. I have been here behind these walls for almost 7 years - 7 years I have been fighting to prove my innocence.

I have a very unique case, there is no physical evidence linking me to the crime. No blood, hair fibers, DNA, fingerprints, co-defendants, eye-witnesses, and they took foot castings from around the body which did not match anything I wore or my shoe size.

But, I confessed to the murder! After 14 hours of interrogation by three senior investigators, I gave in. My wife and I split-up about 8 weeks prior, we were in the middle of a custody battle, my house was about to be foreclosed on, work was very slow and I was about to be put in jail for failure to pay restitution. (My criminal history consists of traffic violations, a DWI, and possession of a forged instrument--writing bad checks.) The morning of September 27th, 2004 when the investigators picked me up, I had not slept for two days prior and I had just taken myself off of the medication “Lexapro”.

First, the two senior investigators placed me in a small room in a New York State Police station and started asking me questions - like: “Did you know the victim?”; “When was the last time I had seen or talked to Rhonda Bilby?” I answered their questions one at a time for a couple of hours then they told me I was free to go. As I got up to leave for the first time they said that they needed my fingerprints to eliminate me as a suspect - I said fine and let them fingerprint me. After they were done they said that they had a couple of more questions to ask me and took me back into the interrogation room. They asked me about the 3 long guns that I sold to my friend T. R. the day before. I said “Sure - yeah I sold them to him,” and then they told me that they were used or stolen from the crime scene. I said, “Hell no, you are not going to tell me that the gums I sold T. are the guns that killed Mrs. Bilby,” and they said, “No Shawn, you know she wasn’t shot, she was hit in the head with a pipe or a hammer.”

They asked me for my DNA and I gave it to them - I knew I didn’t have anything to worry about! The interrogation turned weird after that. A third senior investigator came into the room and relieved one of the other investigators. He was very soft-spoken and wanted to hold my hand. He would say stuff like: “Just tell me your side of the story, if it was an accident you can’t get in trouble.” This went on for hours, arguing, silence, me crying, me getting frustrated, them switching investigators - on and on and on. They wouldn’t let me call a lawyer nor was the interrogation taped or video recorded.

In the end - after almost 14 hours I was done! I told them anything to get away from them - I confessed - a false confession but I didn’t care. I just wanted them to put me in jail so I could go to sleep. I was so tired, so mentally and physically beat down I couldn’t think. All I could think about was sleep and I truly believed that when the DNA evidence came back from the forensic lab they would have to let me go - it would prove that I didn’t do it. I was right in the aspect that all the forensic evidence came back negative to me, I was wrong about them letting me go!

I was assigned one lawyer (J. M.) who walked off the case after arraignment. I was then assigned a new lawyer (Mr.  K.) who spent a total of 4½ hours with me in almost a year’s time preparing my defense for trial.

I was seven days into trial when my lawyer Mr. K. pulled me, 5 of my family members, and 2 correction officers into a conference room off the back of the court room and started yelling at me. He asked me if I was f---ing stupid, that the jury was asleep and the judge was going to sentence me to 75 to life and if I ever wanted to “see the light of day” I better take a plea of 25 to life. He said that if I didn’t, the judge would sentence me consecutively on all counts on the indictment and the Feds were going to pick me up on some charge that involved my father.

My Great Aunt P. called K. a liar and K. went across the table after her. He started poking her in the chest - yelling and screaming at her. I grabbed K. away from her and one CO stepped between her and K., the other CO stepped between me and K. I was wearing a stun belt under my shirt and when the CO grabbed the remote I let go of K. and stepped back - I did not want to get shocked by 80,000 volts in the spine!

My family and I were very upset and crying - I was shook-up and felt completely drained. I went out and told the judge I was done, the District Attorney handed me a plea agreement, I answered some questions and signed it.

I was immediately taken to the Elmira Correctional Facility. The following day I was sent to the Wende Correctional Facility where I am now. When I arrived at Wende, I went to the Law Library and filed a pro-se 220.60 motion to withdraw my plea. I filed it with Steuben County Court. I was then assigned another lawyer (J. F.) to represent me on this motion. Mr. F. filed his own 220.60 motion, argued it and was denied without a hearing, I was sentenced on the spot to 25 to life.

I asked Mr. F. if he could get a copy of my entire file (which Attorney K. would never turn it over to me). Mr. F. had my entire file copied and sent to me.

When I received my file I started reading through it. I found a folder with information from a man named L. H. who is confidential informant that works for the Federal Government and New York State. He has helped both secure more than 20 convictions on high profile murders, rapists and gang members including the murder of an off duty NYPD officer.

H. wrote affidavits to the Steuben County District Attorney’s office prior to the murder of Rhonda Bilby giving them detailed information on a ‘murder for hire’ plot that was going to take place in their county. These (some) affidavits were written, signed, dated, notarized and stamped “received” from the Steuben County DA’s office prior to the murder. All information pointed to someone else - not me! Everything H. said would happen - happened! Right down to the body being dumped in the woods to decompose. Steuben County did absolutely nothing to investigate or protect one of their own county’s citizens.

After finding this information I filed a pro-se 440.10 motion to vacate my judgment under newly discovered evidence, failure to produce exculpatory evidence, and ineffective assistance of counsel. I was again assigned a new lawyer by Steuben County, his name was J. V. Mr. V. filed a new 440.10 motion, argued it and it too was denied without a hearing. V. then filed an application for permission to appeal with the Appellate Division Fourth Department, it was granted. I was then assigned an attorney (Lyle T. Hajdu from Erikson, Webb, Scolton and Hajdu Law Firm) to file the appeal. Oral argument was January 18, 2011, on February 10, 2011 the Appellate Division reversed Steuben County’s decision and ordered them to conduct a hearing, decision attached.

On March 2nd I went to Steuben County court for a “conference” and the reassignment of counsel. The court reassigned J. V. as my attorney to represent me on this upcoming hearing which is scheduled for April 20, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. The judge (J. L.) is completely clueless as to what to do. He told my lawyer J. V. that if he denies the motion then I am just going to appeal it again, that tells us that he is already thinking he is going to deny the decision after the hearing.

The District Attorney (J. C. T.) is very upset with me because I have exposed them to the media and the county wanted this to be kept quiet. All because they had information about the murder before it took place and did nothing to investigate or prevent their own county’s citizens from being murdered.

The ADA B. T. B. who is representing the “People” in my case was very nasty with my lawyer at the court hearing, telling J. V. that he himself would testify to the fact he was in the conference room with K. and I when Attorney K. told me about the exculpatory evidence which is a bold face lie! They are already scheming on how to keep this quiet and prevent me from being released or a new trial ordered.

There is another twist to the story, Rhonda Bilby was married, her husband’s name is R. Bilby. Not only was it a well known fact that R. was having an ongoing affair on his wife, but he admitted to it on the stand. His mistress (K. S.) was also married, her husband died a couple months before the murder of Rhonda Bilby. A few weeks after the death of Mrs. Bilby, R. moved K. into the house he had shared with his wife. Within months, they were married, sold his house, her house, his antique store and had a house built in Costa Rica. About a week after my trial the fled to Costa Rica where they live today.

I need help, I am truly innocent and will go to the ends of the Earth to prove it. I don’t know if there is anything you can do to help, but anything is better than nothing. I have two children, ages 8 and almost 7, I have already lost most of their lives and I will fight to the end to come home to them. Please, if there is anything - anything at all that you can do to help me, please let me know as soon as possible.

I would also like to let you know that not only was I interrogated by 3 senior investigators for almost 14 hours, at that time I had 3 attorneys and they wouldn’t let me call any of them. I also had 5 violations of probation warrants out on me when they picked me up. The county also denied me my right to testify at Grand Jury and not only did they with-hold the exculpatory evidence from me during my trial, but it was never presented to the Grand Jury by my Attorney W. K.

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