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The John Merrit Case
In November 2005 Bob Cracknell received an email from Australia, from one Isabel Wilde, asking for his help in establishing a man's innocence of murder -
It all began when the prisoner in question, John Merritt, wrote a letter to the 'Psychic News'; a UK newspaper which dealt with the Spiritualist scene, and seemingly an odd choice on his part. Isabel Wilde read the article and was immediately compelled to communicate with the man in prison. That decision was to occupy her life for many years to follow and also prompted her to obtain from America the full transcripts of the trial and court depositions of the witnesses and police. She then set about combing through all the material and making copious notes -
Even more remarkable was the fact that Isabel (or 'Molly Marples' as she is affectionately known) is in her early 90's, but she has shown a keen razor-
Cracknell's initial response was a reluctance to get too deeply involved, and he pointed out in his first communication to her -
The facts are that on 1st or 2nd of March 1982 one Darrel Davis, an ambulance driver and a large, heavily built man was found lying face down on the floor of his house, his wrists tied behind his back by a leather belt. He had been shot through the back of his head. It is important to note there were no other restraints on any other part of the body and no visible signs of struggle in the cluttered room. The body was found lying next to a table covered with crockery and cutlery, and his feet were close to one of the table's legs.
Due to Davis not attending his place of work his wife had been concerned and had asked -
In 1984/5 a prisoner awaiting trial wrote to the police stating that he could finger the murderer of Darrel Davis, but that he wanted to cut a deal -
Based upon the conflicting evidence given by the two other criminals, with the State offering no forensic evidence even though John Merritt had voluntarily given his fingerprints and body hair and had denied throughout his innocence of the crime, it is interesting to note that at the murder scene a single blond hair was found and entered as potential evidence. John Merritt did not have blond hair, and as stated had voluntarily given samples of his own hair. What happened to this evidence? Why wasn't it presented? He was found guilty of first-
Bob Cracknell has totally committed himself to obtaining Merritt's release. Throughout his forty years' involvement in chasing criminals and plausible conmen all over the world, Cracknell is no easy target and is used to the wiles and lies of criminals. He is even on record as having called a man a liar when the police and English media were convinced the man was telling the truth. Cracknell forced the man to recant, and as a result the police were able to close the case based on his directives. This case, known as 'the Southern Organs fraud', has recently been turned into a television documentary and been screened world-
You are urged to give your support. To date, Cracknell has approached the Florida Innocence Project, to obtain DNA testing, which was not conducted during the investigation. As stated, no forensic evidence was offered during the trial. They could not even identify the weapon used in the murder as belonging to Merritt and it is hoped that the Florida Innocence Project will come back with a positive response to Cracknell's application. Cracknell wishes to thank publicly his good friend, Ed Olshaker, respected American journalist and author of 'Witnesses to the Unsolved' (please refer to 'products' on this website), for his support and efforts in initially contacting the Florida Innocence Project.
This story has many twists and turns, and you are urged not to look for inaccuracies as this is but a brief summation. Any serious investigator/journalist reading the transcript of the trial and the depositions would immediately see the need for the whole matter to be brought to public scrutiny. One particularly strange twist was the fact that John Merritt chose the 'Psychic News' newspaper to ask for help, for two weeks beforehand this same newspaper had carried a front page story featuring Bob Cracknell -
You are all urged to write to John Merritt and give him comfort and hope. His address is as under: John Merritt 058704 63-
Finally, let us not forget one gutsy lady, namely Isabel (or as I affectionally call her Miss Molly Marples) Wilde, who over the years has dug deep into her only source of income, her pension, to pay all the fees which would secure these official documents, even employing a private investigator in Florida and paying him $1,000 in advance to track down witnesses -