Police Tactics Taint Court Rulings, Victims' Lives

By April Witt
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Last of four articles

The killer bled.

The victim, Billy Hall, lay sprawled on the bedroom floor, a small nightstand toppled across his chest. The overturned furniture, shattered pottery, and cuts on Hall's hands, arms and legs told how hard he fought for his life before the killer broke a seven-inch butcher's knife off in Hall's neck.

The killer dripped blood from Hall's bedroom into his bathroom, across the living room rug, past the Christmas tree with its lights still on and out the front door, where he paused long enough to lock it with a key, investigative records show. Then he got away.

Four days after Hall's murder, Prince George's County homicide detectives put an illiterate janitor named Aaron Wright in an interrogation room where, according to police, he confessed to slaying Hall.

Wright spent more than seven months in jail before the FBI crime lab determined that he wasn't the person who left a trail of blood leading out of Hall's apartment, according to interviews and documents.

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