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The Whitmore Confessions and Richard Robles Trial: 1965

Confessions Discredited, Richard Robles Arrested, Whitmore Retried In Assault Case, Whitmore Convicted Again, Then Released

Defendant: Richard Robles
Crime Charged: Murder
Chief Defense Attorneys: Frederick H. Block and Jack S. Hoffinger
Chief Prosecutor: John F. Keenan
Judge: Irwin D. Davidson
Place: New York, New York
Dates of Trial: October 18-December 1, 1965
Verdict: Guilty
Sentence: Life imprisonment

SIGNIFICANCE: The notoriety of two murders for which Robles was eventually convicted contributed to the legal problems of George Whitmore, Jr., who was initially arrested for the crimes. Whitmore's arrest had a profound effect upon the nature of police interrogations, earning it a mention in the U.S. Supreme Court's Miranda decision.

In the early morning of April 23, 1964, a police patrolman chased away a man assaulting Elba Borrero on a dark Brooklyn, New York, street. When the officer returned to the scene later, he found George Whitmore, Jr., standing in a doorway. The young black man asked if the officer had been the same one shooting at the woman's attacker earlier and volunteered a description of the fleeing suspect.

Similarities between the assault on Borrero and the recent murder of Minnie Edmonds in the same neighborhood convinced detectives that they should have another talk with Whitmore. He was brought to the 73rd precinct on April 24. After questioning him for 22 hours without the presence of an attorney, detectives announced that Whitmore had confessed to both the Borrero assault and the Edmonds killing.

Whitmore also signed a more spectacular confession. Eight months before, Janice Wylie and Emily Hoffert were found tied together and stabbed to death in their Manhattan apartment. A Brooklyn detective familiar with the case thought that a photo of an attractive blonde found in Whitmore's wallet resembled Wylie and had begun the interrogation leading to the confession. The police announced to the press that the bloody "Career Girls Murder" was now solved beyond a doubt.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972