8 Innocent People Who Were Found Guilty and Executed

David Wayne Spence Booking. BoreBun

David Wayne Spence

In July 1982, the city of Waco, Texas was horrified by the brutal murders of three teenagers, two girls and a boy. Deputy Truman Simmons got the idea that local store owner Muneer Mohammad Deeb hired three men (including David Wayne Spence) to kill a woman named Gayle Kelly. But Gayle Kelly was not even one of the victims. Deputy Simmons claimed that the killers had mistaken one of the girls as Kelly, and then killed the others because they were witnesses.

Spence, Deeb, and two other men were arrested with no evidence to prove their guilt. There were no witnesses that placed them at the scene. Despite the brutality of the murders and the belief that the girls had been raped, there was no physical evidence that tied any of the three men to the murders. The only thing that linked the men to the murders were some supposed jailhouse confessions that other inmates claimed that the men had made. Many of these men later recanted their stories and admitted they had been offered lighter sentences or the opportunity to have sex with their wives or girlfriends in the district attorney’s office.

With so little evidence, there was no way to get a conviction, until bite mark specialist Homer Campbell testified that the marks left on the bodies could have been made by none other than David Wayne Spence. He said that he used enhanced pictures of the bodies and molds of Spence’s teeth to conclude without a doubt that Spence had made the bite marks.

In 1993, Spence’s lawyers sent the pictures and molds of Spence’s teeth to five experts around the country. Some were unwilling to judge the marks as even being made by teeth, and none were able to match the molds to the marks. In 1993, Deeb, who had also been sentenced to death, appealed his case and won. He was released from prison. David Wayne Spence was not successful in his appeal and was executed by lethal injection in 1997.