Wrongful Capital Convictions

Among the 201 capital convictions that have been imposed in Allegheny County are a number of wrongful convictions, defined herein as cases in which the convicted defendant was factually uninvolved in the killing for which he or she was convicted.

The number of such cases varies depending on the standard that is used to enforce that definition. By the strictest standard, only those who are formally exonerated are counted as wrongly convicted. Cases in which the state acknowledges its error without formal exoneration might also be included, as might cases in which the evidence strongly suggests the defendant is factually innocent independent of the posture of the state.

Case descriptions specify the basis on which the case for innocence is made. My finding that all three Black defendants who were wrongly convicted were also executed, while the nine wrongly convicted white defendants were formally pardoned or acquitted on retrial, is certainly troubling.

  1. Monroe Stewart
  2. Alexander Killen
  3. Andrew Toth
  4. Michael Sabol
  5. George Rusnock
  6. Albert C. Carelli
  7. Joseph Thomas*#
  8. Lorenzo Savage*#
  9. Daniel Rastelli
  10. William K. Wilson*#
  11. Vincenzo Ciccia
  12. Oreste Delforte

* Defendant was executed

# Defendant was Black

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