Man Held Without Trial for 14 Years

The police gave Brown a sandwich and a soda and he signed a waiver of his right to remain silent. Then two agents from the State Bureau of Investigation interrogated Brown for two hours, according to police records.

There are no notes or recordings of the interrogation, but at the end, Mark Isley, one of the SBI agents, typed out a confession, which he has testified was a "verbatim" transcription of what Brown said.

'No Coercion'

Isley, now head of the SBI's Medicaid Criminal Investigations Unit, did not return several messages left at his office. Bill Lane, a former SBI agent who was present for the interrogation, said he didn't remember the details of the questioning, but said that the written statement was accurate.

"There wasn't any coercion at all," he said. "There was no water pouring down his nose or anything. I don't do business that way."

Asked whether it was appropriate to interrogate a mentally retarded man, Lane said, "He was over the age of 18. He seemed to understand and know what he was doing."

Hutchinson and Poplin were convicted in 1998 of racketeering for shaking down criminal suspects. Court records show that the two extorted money from criminal suspects in exchange for not filing or dropping charges against them.

"They were as dirty as anyone I've seen," said David Ramsey, a former SBI agent who investigated their case. "They could have done anything."

Hutchinson and Poplin both deny doing anything improper in Brown's case, and there is no evidence they did anything illegal in his case.

"They want to imply that they picked up this poor fella and plotted against him to fabricate a confession," said Sheriff Tommy Allen. "None of that is true. That's just absurd to think that."

'Hit Her on the Neck'

But, Brown's psychiatrists at Dorthea Dix, another psychiatrist hired by his lawyers and Brown's special education teachers say he could not have written the confession. They say the three-page confession uses words that Brown does not know and shows a pattern of logical thinking that is beyond Brown's mental abilities.

The confession begins, "On Friday, July 19, 1993, my mama woke me up at 6 a.m., in the morning."

Psychiatrists say Brown does not understand time and has difficulty with dates. Brown's psychological reports say he speaks in short, repetitive sentences. The confession contains complete sentences that flow logically from one to another.

"It's too educated, too sophisticated, too relevant, too cohesive for Mr. Brown," state forensic psychiatrist Rollins said.

The confession goes on to say that after Brown asked Lynch for a dollar, "When Ms. Katherine told me she didn't have a dollar, I hit her on the neck with a stick that I brought into the house. … I hit Ms. Katherine again, but this time, on the right arm."

It says Brown brought her into the bedroom and checked her breathing, a skill his lawyers say doesn't have. It ends, "I'm sorry for hitting her. I told you I made a mistake."

Forensic psychologist Mark Hazelrigg, one of Brown's doctors at Dorthea Dix, said, "Mr. Brown could not be trained or coached to talk in the same manner as the alleged confession."

'Too Detailed'

"As a whole, the alleged confession is too detailed and organized for even a normally intelligent person," Hazelrigg wrote in a sworn statement.

Mary Gaddy, one of Brown's teachers, said in a sworn statement that Brown can't use correct tenses or use words that are in the statement such as "located" and "heartbeat."

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