Medill Justice Project photos, videos and audio pieces created as part of our investigations.
TULSA, Okla.—It was not unusual for people to ask 68-year-old Gladys O’Connor for directions. She was often one of the only people around her quaint South Tulsa residential community during the day. So she didn’t hesitate when a man approached her in front of her Cambridge Square condo that afternoon on Oct. 24, 1986, and asked for directions to a nearby intersection.
According to court records, O’Connor had just returned home from a trip to the grocery store and bank with $200 in the tan Coach purse slung over her left shoulder. She was standing in the sunshine outside her door just beyond a massive pecan tree. She noticed her flowerpot had fallen off the stoop, she later testified.
As O’Connor began to gesture to explain what road to take, the man grabbed her arm. He snatched her purse and struck O’Connor in the chin. She started to fall but the purse caught on her wristwatch so he jerked the purse free. O’Connor was spun around as she fell. From the ground, O’Connor watched the man flee to a cream-colored car.Read the full story here.
Medill Justice Project podcast provides rare behind-the-scenes look at investigation of death row inmate’s case
Seven-episode series follows MJP staff and students who spent 10 weeks examining Tommy Zeigler’s conviction
Listen to class strategy sessions, extended cuts of interviews with key subjects and students’ reactions as they Read the full story here.
WINTER GARDEN, Fla.—On a brisk Christmas Eve in 1975, Ken Roach was behind the wheel of a Ford Torino while his wife, Linda, sat beside him, a gaggle of children in the back, looking forward to a feast of shrimp and oysters at her mother’s. Suddenly, boom. An eruption startled them. They looked to their right, driving at about 35 miles an hour. Over the span of about four seconds, as they passed by the W.T. Zeigler Furniture store on South Dillard Street in the sleepy Southern town of Winter Garden, they heard what sounded like a series of firecrackers.Read the full story here.