DNA Proves Innocence: Free Anthony Apanovitch Now!
Ohio Parole Board
Anthony Apanovitch is innocent. Tony has been on death row in Ohio for most of the past 37 years for a crime that DNA proves he did not commit, the rape and murder of Mary Ann Flynn in 1984. We are asking the Ohio Parole Board to hold a hearing to review this case and make a recommendation about clemency to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
[See operative petition language below.]
Anthony Apanovitch’s conviction was thrown out after a hearing in 2014 based on DNA evidence that the state secretly tested and hid from Tony for 24 years. Once the DNA evidence surfaced, there was a hearing before a judge at which the DNA testing was authenticated and admitted into evidence and both parties called DNA experts to testify about the test results. In early 2015, the court ruled that the “uncontroverted” and “unequivocal” evidence, including the newly-discovered DNA evidence, indisputably proved that the semen that came from the victim’s vagina did not come from Tony. And, because the state had accused and convicted Tony of being the sole perpetrator of the crime, the DNA evidence proved not only that Tony did not rape Ms. Flynn, but also that Tony did not murder her, as he had maintained for his 36 years on death row. The court then vacated Tony’s conviction and death sentence, and released him from death row.
Why isn’t Tony a free man today?
In November 2018, after two years of freedom living with and caring for with his wife and grandchildren, Tony was taken into custody and sent back to death row. The reason? The Court used a hyper-technical loophole regarding the way that the evidence proving Tony’s innocence was produced.
According to the Court, the DNA statute in Ohio applies only where the prisoner makes the request to test DNA. Tony didn’t ask for the testing to be done – indeed he never had the opportunity to make that request – because the state did the testing itself in secret without telling Tony or his lawyers, and then hid the results even though the DNA testing proved that Tony was not the perpetrator. So, according to the Court, because Tony didn’t ask for the testing (he couldn’t have since it was hidden), the results of that test were irrelevant even though they prove him innocent.
In the State of Ohio, who asked for the testing is more important than what the testing actually reveals! So, even though the DNA testing proved that Tony is innocent of the rape, he was stolen from his family once again and is now back on death row and facing execution simply because he didn’t and couldn’t request the testing that exonerated him.
As a matter of simple fairness and American jurisprudence, including critical safeguards embedded in the Constitution and laws of the United States, no person should ever be convicted of a crime, let alone sentenced to death, without a full and fair trial and the opportunity to confront and challenge the evidence lodged against him. Tony Apanovitch never got that chance.
What can YOU do? Add your name and invite others to join you!
Now is your chance to help. This petition has two targets with distinct requests:
The Ohio General Assembly and Ohio Senate will soon consider legislation that would correct the procedural technicality that prevented the courts from considering Tony’s DNA test results that proved he is innocent. The proposed new law will allow courts to consider relevant DNA evidence, regardless of who asked for the testing to be conducted, and it will ensure that the new law applies to Tony’s case retroactively.
Governor Mike DeWine can immediately request review of this case by the Ohio Parole Board to review this case. Regardless of the Ohio Parole Board recommendation, the Governor may then pardon Tony, or grant a commutation of his sentence to time-served and free him immediately.
Please sign this petition to let Ohio representatives and Governor DeWine know that you are outraged by how Tony has been treated, and that you expect, indeed demand, that they do everything possible to free Anthony Apanovitch as soon as possible.
Please also visit https://www.justice4apanovitch.com
NOTICE: Language of this petition may shift to reflect updates in the case situation, bill numbers, etc.
Ohio Parole Board
From: [Your Name]
DNA proves that Anthony Apanovitch did not kill Mary Anne Flynn, and yet he remains on death row. This is outrageous and counter to the ideals of fairness and justice enshrined in the Ohio and United States constitutions.
We urge you to immediately schedule a clemency hearing in the case of Anthony Apanovitch.
Thank you for time and attention to this urgent and serious matter.