Monday, July 25, 2011

Man acquitted of murder says police, DA 'ruined' his life

Michael Mead, acquitted of murder in the death of his pregnant fiancee, released a statement last week thanking jurors and his attorneys. And he blamed the Gaston County Police and district attorney's office for ruining his life.

"In my opinion, they have purposely ignored facts, manipulated the media, and mishandled evidence that would have exonerated me from the beginning," he wrote. "They spent their resources trying to make a case against me rather than trying to solve the murder of Lucy and my unborn child.  This type of prosecutorial 'tunnel vision' is outrageous." 

Mead was accused of shooting Lucy Johnson in the back of the head and burning her Gaston County home on July 16, 2008. Mead could have faced the death penalty, but a Mecklenburg jury found him not guilty of murdering his pregnant fiancée.

In his statement, Mead states that he believes James Spelock is responsible for Johnson’s death. In open court, Mead’s attorney’s repeatedly said Spelock had the motive to kill Johnson and should have been on trial instead of Mead.

Johnson and Spelock were in the midst of a custody battle when Johnson was killed. Defense attorneys said Spelock abused Johnson in the past, and that Johnson had accused Spelock of cross-dressing. The Observer has tried to reach Spelock on several occasions and he has not returned calls.

Here is his full - unedited - statement:

I would like to personally thank the 15 jurors who rendered a just and fair verdict.  Thank you for the time, dedication and hard work they put in for the past 7 weeks.  The jury unanimously voted to acquit.  I have never waivered in my claim that I was innocent and I have feel vindicated by verdict.  The jury was comprised of a variety of people from the community.  Many jurors were college educated and some have gone on to earn Masters Degrees and higher.  Even the alternates would have voted not guilty and I think that speaks volumes.  After the verdict was read, I was able to thank the members of the jury and I did, personally.  Again I thank them all for giving an innocent man his life back.

I want to thank my lawyers Lisa Andrew Dubs and Jason White and my investigator, Captain Steve Ehlers, for believing in my case and me.  Ms. Dubs did not have to take this case.  I will never be able to thank them enough. There will never be enough adjectives to describe how I feel about them.  They have my gratitude for life, because they have saved my life.  I am truly speechless when I try and describe what they mean to me.  In my opinion one of Lisa’s peers should nominate her for 2011 Lawyer of The Year. She would certainly have my vote.  Without fearless attorneys the scales of justice would be on-sided.  They are all three lifelong friends now, and I owe them my life and future forever. My parents also wanted to thank them all for their hard work, time, dedication, and devotion to this case for 19 months.

Not a day passes that I don’t miss Lucy.  Lucy represented one of the happiest times in my life.  It was amazing to be with her.  She loved life.  She was a wonderful mother and I was always impressed with how she interacted with her children, Lauren and Caison.  Lucy was outspoken and she loved to laugh.  We both loved music and we rarely watched TV; however, we did enjoy reruns of “I Love Lucy”.   With all I have been through, I have never regretted the time I was lucky enough to share with Lucy.  She will always be in my heart, until the day I die.  I would endure all that I have been through again if I could hold her one last time. She was happy and content in our relationship.  She had finally found someone who was stable, reliable, and dependable.  She often compared me to her father in that way.  I loved playing with Caison and Lauren.  I think of them both often, and I miss them.  I know Lucy is watching over them.  She treated Christian, my son, as if he was her own, and he too loved her.  My immediate family accepted Lucy, Caison and Lauren into our family with open arms.  My family also mourns the loss of Lucy and the baby. 

Michelle Dye, Lucy’s biological mother, was not a part of Lucy’s life while we were together.  Lucy told me her mother hadn’t been in Lucy’s life since she was 15.  Often, Lucy refused to speak about her mother and their troubled relationship.  To this day I cannot understand why Michelle Dye has behaved in the way she has.  She has done everything in her power to seek the spotlight and spread misinformation about the facts of this case.  She has attacked me personally many times in the media and on the Internet.  Even given the way she has acted, and her strained relationship with Lucy, she is still a grieving mother who has lost a daughter.  I will pray that she is able to come to terms with her behavior and find some peace in her life.

The Gaston County Police Department and District Attorney’s Office have ruined my life.  They have done many things in this case that are unacceptable.  Not only were they negligent in how they have handled this investigation; but, in my opinion, they have purposely ignored facts, manipulated the media, and mishandled evidence that would have exonerated me from the beginning.  They spent their resources trying to make a case against me rather than trying to solve the murder of Lucy and my unborn child.  This type of prosecutorial “tunnel vision” is outrageous.  It is the third largest reason innocent people end up in prison according to the NC Innocence Project.  It is only through having endured what I have that I fully understand how horrifying that fact is.  You can’t imagine what it’s like to be crucified daily for someone else’s crimes, to face the possibility of being put to death.  The stress and pressure was monumentality hard on me, my son Christian and my immediate family.

At my bond hearing, Locke Bell made statements about facts and evidence I have never seen.  He indicated the State had evidence that was never produced.  I believe he misled the Court and Grand Jury.  William Stetzer told outright lies at my bond hearing in an attempt to keep me falsely incarcerated.  I am surprised Mr. Bell did not appear once at the trial.  After all of his statements about me, in Court and out, I find it odd he did not prosecute me.  I do not believe he felt strongly about my guilt, despite his public statements to the contrary.  I believe he knew they had arrested the wrong man and did not want to be associated with this trial.  Mr. Bell has legal, moral, and ethical obligations to seek out exculpatory information, that I believe he purposefully ignored.  

Detective Bloom and Eddie Meeks presented a convicted child rapist, Randy Waterson, as a witness against me.  I believe they did so knowing Mr. Waterson was lying and perjuring himself.  Randy Waterson was convicted of raping a 6-year-old girl eight times while holding her mother at gunpoint. While I was in jail and awaiting my bond hearing, Mr. Meeks would have you believe I confessed to Mr. Waterson.  After reading a newspaper article in prison two weeks after the trial had started, Mr. Waterson concocted a story with several inconsistencies yet was allowed to take the stand and testify against me.  I have always maintained my innocence, yet the State contends I would confess to a man sentenced to 146 years in prison for raping a child 8 times.  At the end of the day, Mr. Waterson got what he wanted; a transfer to a safer facility.  This was a desperate attempt to convict an innocent man, and quite frankly, unforgivable.

The District Attorney’s Office must provide any and all exculpatory evidence they obtain.  This is the type of evidence that would have reaffirmed my innocence.  Rather than provide much of this type of evidence to my attorney, they tried to hide it or destroy it.  They even admitted to losing important evidence; evidence that would have been in my favor.  Often investigators on this case would recreate their case notes, even after several years had passed. I believe there is evidence that will prove Captain Shaw, Sergeant Reynolds and Detective Bloom were out to get me.  I believe evidence was purposely ignored and even destroyed in this case.  I do not mean evidence favorable for the State but evidence that would have been in my favor.  In my opinion, the evidence presented by the Gaston County Police Department and District Attorney’s Office was not even enough to establish probable cause.  I simply do not understand why I was arrested.  Sergeant Reynolds told outright lies to the Grand Jury to get an indictment and circumvent my right to a probable cause hearing.   They have Sergeant Reynolds present to the Grand Jury, but not once did he show his face at my trial.  Even more absurd.
I have heard the Gaston County’s District Attorney’s Office quoted as saying this case is closed.  That is unacceptable.  Lucy and my child deserve justice.  This case should be turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, since it’s an “interstate crime”; meaning two states.  The minute I was cleared by a jury of my peers, they have to reopen the case.  Detective Bloom admitted under oath that James Spelock Jr. was not ruled out as a suspect in this case.  How they could try me when they had not ruled out all other suspects is unfathomable to me.  Nonetheless, I believe there is ample evidence of Mr. Spelock’s guilt.  I know beyond all doubt that James Spelock Jr. is responsible for Lucy’s death and the death of my unborn child. 

Lucy and Mr. Spelock were engaged in a bitter custody dispute over Caison.  Lucy had told me, and others, Mr. Spelock had threatened her numerous times.  Lucy was going to expose Mr. Spelock’s alternative lifestyle in Court.  There was a ton of evidence found indicating James Spelock ordered transsexual outfits and visited transsexual websites. His personal Sony Vaio notebook showed transsexual history all the way back to the beginning of 2006, long before he met Lucy Johnson.  The evidence shows Mr. Spelock was unaccounted for at the time of the crime.  There is witness testimony of Mr. Spelock’s strange behavior that early morning.  James Spelock Jr. had the motive, intent, ability, and ill will necessary to commit these crimes.  There is more evidence available against James Spelock Jr. than there ever has been against me, there was never one piece of evidence against me.  There is enough evidence to get a Grand Jury indictment for First Degree Murder and Arson right now against James Spelock Jr.

I challenge Locke Bell to step up and do the right thing.  I do a lot of work in Gaston County.  Some of the finest people I’ve ever met work at the Freightliner Mount Holly Truck Plant and the Freightliner Gastonia Parts Plant.  The people of Gaston County are honest, hard working, good people.  Their tax dollars have been wasted.  They did not need to be.  I encourage Locke Bell to do the right thing.  We all want justice for Lucy and our child; nobody more so than me.  Until James Spelock Jr., is arrested, tried, convicted and put on Death Row in Raleigh justice in this case will never been done.  I pray daily for justice to prevail.  He has gotten away with murder for three years, just like he said he would.

-- Michael Mead