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The Whitmore Confessions and Richard Robles Trial: 1965

Confessions Discredited

Brooklyn authorities immediately charged Whitmore with the Borrero and Edmonds crimes. Manhattan District Attorney Frank Hogan's office, however, was slow to indict Whitmore in the Wylie-Hoffert murders. Manhattan prosecutors noticed that every detail in Whitmore's lengthy confession was known to police beforehand. Investigators quietly collected evidence showing the confession to be false. The blonde in the photo was located alive in southern New Jersey, not far from the garbage dump where Whitmore initially claimed to have found the picture.

After Whitmore's confession was discredited, Hogan's office did not immediately dismiss the indictment against him, even though the prosecutors secretly knew that police had a new suspect. With Brooklyn authorities, the public, and even the jury still assuming that Whitmore was a confessed murderer, he was tried in November 1964 for attempting to rape Elba Borrero. She identified Whitmore as her attacker, although she acknowledged that he was the only suspect police had shown her. She also admitted that she had discussed a $10,000 reward offered for the conviction of Janice Wylie's killer with a lawyer. Brandishing Whitmore's ragged raincoat and a leather button Borrero had torn from her attacker's coat, the prosecutor asked the jury, "Haven't we nailed George Whitmore right on the button in the truest sense of the word?"

Whitmore was found guilty, but he was granted a new trial because racial prejudice and knowledge of the Wylie-Hoffert indictment had swayed the jury. The prosecutor also admitted to withholding an FBI report stating that the threads on Whitmore's coat did not match those on the celebrated button.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972The Whitmore Confessions and Richard Robles Trial: 1965 - Confessions Discredited, Richard Robles Arrested, Whitmore Retried In Assault Case, Whitmore Convicted Again, Then Released