April 10, 2019
Beth McCann, District Attorney
Denver Judicial District
201 w. Colfax Avenue 12th Flr.
Denver, CO 80202
Dear Ms. McCann:
I have just received in the mail a recent Denver Post article of considerable interest.
George Brauchler, District Attorney of the 18th Judicial District, is undertaking creation or “a group tasked with reviewing claims of innocence…where the defendant was convicted at trial and has credible evidence that he or she did not commit the crime.” The group is to be called the Conviction Review Unit. Mr. Brauchler wants to take, he said, “a proactive role to do everything to achieve justice.”
I must frankly say that this is somewhat of a surprise since my previous but obviously incorrect impression of Mr. Branchler was that he is much more interested in achieving (and maintaining) convictions than justice. Be that as it may, his sincere efforts will certainly serve to improve, even if only incrementally, the Colorado Judicial System.
The Post article (1/9/2019 , by Elise Schmelzer) provided further encouraging information: the Boulder County District Attorney has also recently created a similar group, called the Conviction Integrity Unit.
On learning these facts, I naturally wondered whether (given that suburban D.A. offices have taken these steps to ensure validity of convictions in their jurisdictions) the Denver District Attorney’s Office hasn’t also such a program, or a plan to create one, as people would logically expect from the State’s largest and assumedly most advanced judicial district.
My interest in this matter stems from the fact that my wife Carol Hebert, disappeared in the evening of April 11, 2001. Her body was discovered the following afternoon, miles away, in the trunk of her own car. There were only minimal clues at the car location, but the first detective at the scene mis-read scant clues (which had been altered by passers—by) and ordered “the husband” to be arrested, although he didn’t even know if there was a husband. Voila. Case closed. Right?
I loved my wife very, very much, never more than when she was killed. She was the finest person I ever met and I loved her life more than my own. I did not murder her.
After the initial detective’s rush to judgment, every other police officer assumed the first detective’s impression was correct——and therefore they had a license, even a duty, to focus entirely on convicting me while purposely ignoring other clues and information which would almost surely have led to the actual perpetrator. They made up and/or slanted facts, testimony and physical evidence, and lied under oath themselves. In connivance with prosecutors Kerri Lombardi and Stephanie Villafuerte (from your Denver District Attorney’s Office), police tampered with, coerced, suborned, lied to, and intimidated witnesses into false testimony for the prosecution.
The case was assigned to the corrupt and now—discredited detective Martin E Vigil. To discover what kind of policeman he was, go to: www.westword.com/news/how-to-convict-a-fourteen-year-old-of-a-murder-he-didnt-commit-8134479 (he is currently the target of a 30 million dollar law suit Montoya v. Vigil because of his abusive tactics), or merely ask some of your agency’s employees who schemed with him such as Lombardi, VillaFuerte and D.A. Investigator Jeff Watts.
In December of 2001, my arrest was determined in Denver District Court to have been illegal as it lacked probable cause, But by that time, the prosecution team had contrived a mass of false physical evidence, false civilian testimony, misrepresentations of forensic evidence, and a completely false case theory to bring to a jury.
The prosecution had no eyewitnesses, no direct evidence, no history of violence (or even arguing), no motive (as they admitted to the jury) and no murder weapon. However, through artful and carefully rehearsed (but purposely misleading) presentation of false evidence, the prosecution team created a crime scenario which was persuasive even though they knew it to be untrue.
Prosecutor Villafuerte and detective Vigil concocted testimony for a particularly important witness, and then coached his false delivery. I had never seen him before and I was astonished as the prosecution used his perjury to put a “murder weapon” (which was never found) in my hand, and to establish the necessary element of premeditation by saying I had planned and practiced with “that gun” for six weeks prior to my wife’s death. The jury found me guilty with only a little hesitation and I was immediately sentenced, at the age of 60, to life in prison without parole. Why was this witness so cooperative?
In all the years since, I have waked up every day and worked in every way possible toward getting a court to grant a new (and fair) trial or at least an evidentiary hearing. I was not able to find out, until 2007, what Denver police discovered on September 10, 2003, just ten weeks after my trial: their key witness was a serial murderer, kidnapper, robber, burglar, and rapist. Even as he testified against me at my trial, he had victims secretly buried at various locations where he had transported them around Colorado—including two in the backyard garden of his Denver residence.
Since my trial, I have been represented by lawyers of uneven skills (but uniform relentless expense) to take various motions into district court, appeals court, State Supreme Court, federal district court, 10th Circuit Court–and back down—-etc., etc. I have been trying to simply get an evidentiary hearing where I can present the evidence that will prove my trial was no more than a two week exercise in prosecution—produced violation of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of Due Process of law for every accused person.
The key witness quietly pleaded guilty (in a deal crafted by the same prosecutors who had created his perjury then used it so effectively against me) in 2004 to some old unsolved Denver murders and was sentenced to multiple life terms. Neither the Denver District Attorney prosecutors, nor the Denver police, nor the sentencing judge (R. Michael Mullins, who had also presided over my trial) bothered to volunteer this shocking momentous news to me or to any of my defense team as they are ethically obliged to do by the U.S. Supreme Court’s guidance in Imbler v. Pachtman, n. 25.
It took me years of active searching before I learned his actual background and his location (in a different section of the same prison as I was in), and he has happily since bragged and laughed about killing numerous more people, including my wife.
I can now prove all these facts (see www.fairtrialforhebert.com for details) but Colorado courts are purposely precluding me from receiving any hearing (let alone a new trial). The judges who have received my various post—trial pleadings have gone to craven and deceitful lengths to avoid any examination of the facts and merits of my case but have instead found technical or procedural grounds to deny relief on a basis other than the argument that was presented to them. In my latest appeal, Court of Appeals Judge Hawthorne dreamed up a new procedural rule on which to deny. He decided that my (then) lawyer made mistakes in her 2008 motion to vacate and those mistakes would forever prevent me from a right to a hearing—even though the rule she violated didn’t exist in 2008. As for the substantial newly discovered evidence found after 2008, including the numerous confessions by the key witness/secret serial murderer to having been actually responsible for my wife’s death? Judge Hawthorne ruled with exquisite logic that such evidence gathered from 2009 through 2014 should have been included in the 2008 motion.
Because of all the foregoing information and the many more details to be found in www.fairtrialforhebert.com, I think everybody except some insane people and judges would agree that my case should be immediately reviewed and examined in great depth by your agency’s equivalent of George Brauchler’s Conviction Review Unit. And of course if you have not yet created such a unit, I hope that when you do so my case will, by the egregiousness of the prosecutorial misconduct involved, be the very first to receive your full consideration.
I have been struggling to obtain a fair hearing for a long time. I am now an old man. I continue this fight because I want to be able to go and sit for a while beside my wife’s grave.
I am therefore eager to hear from you at your earliest convenience.
H. L. Hebert 118222
2A 107 AVCF
12750 Highway 96
Ordway CO 81034
cc: Governor Jared Polis
Lee Ann Colacioppo (Denver Post)