Ray Krone - exonerated. 

Ray Krone was arrested two years after Eldon, on the last day of December, 1991. He was accused of the murder of Kim Anacona who worked as a waitress at the CBS Lounge in Phoenix where for a couple of months prior to the murder Ray had occasionally visited to play darts and have a drink with friends. With Ray subsequently convicted twice and first sent to death row by the use of fabricated evidence. He was later resentenced to life after his overturning the first conviction only to face Levy‘s lies again. There can simply be no better example of Noel Levy’s sordid character and acts of malfeasance in his capacity as a Maricopa County Deputy Prosecutor, with every shred of actual evidence either altered to be used against Ray or hidden if otherwise beneficial to the defense in both trials. The convictions were simply maliciously contrived against a man who had left the Air Force with a clean record and continued to keep his nose clean after returning to civilian life where he was working as a Phoenix postman and showing no signs of being a criminal.
Looking at the actual evidence leaves one dumbfounded, as they consider that the decision was made to drag Ray to court though his worst crimes were knowing the victim, giving her a ride home after work, by mere chance giving her a ride to Christmas party they attended and their sometimes sharing a cup of coffee. It was clearly established that Kim was simply a casual friend of Ray’s from the neighborhood hangout, as were others. There is nothing to indicate that the two had been romantically involved for Ray to feel the wronged or jilted lover, though Detective Charles Gregory who became the lead detective of the murder investigation seemed to see things differently and would testify that he was sure Ray had dated the victim despite a lack of evidence to prove it.
“I think that he knew that I was on to him,” Gregory remarked of his initial interview with Ray and his certainty that Ray was a fiend with something to hide.
Of course, Ray also spoke of the same incident, pointing out that he had been angry at the time, because Gregory who heatedly grilled him was also poking and jabbing him, calling him a liar and demanding that he just come clean and admit that he was a cold-blooded killer. As should be expected, Ray who was guilty of nothing and had already suffered his home being invaded and previous attacks on his character including accusations that he had had killed his “girlfriend” had merely became indignant. He reacted by demanding his constitutionally guaranteed right to counsel in order to stop further assaults, and the request nor his attitude should not have made him suspect. Ray actually conducted himself far better than many would in the same situation, with his fully cooperating despite being accused of a horrid crime, his repeated denials of involvement being ignored and Gregory trying to bully him into a false confession.
As Gregory realized, Ray’s refusal to continue without an attorney was not only the wise choice for anyone in such a situation, but also the protection offered by the reading of one’s Miranda rights. Yet, the actions instead of indicating Ray’s intelligence, with him far better educated than his badge wearing assailant, helped to convince Gregory to relentlessly pursue Ray’s conviction as ignoring several more likely suspects including those with clear motive to kill the victim. Consequently, the tape recorder was slammed off as Ray demanded an attorney. Then, without further questioning a case was created, though the extent of the evidence ignored in order to convict is staggering.
There could have been no doubt to anyone involved that they were persecuting the wrong man. Yet, Levy went forward despite Ray’s prints not matching the prints found at the scene and the blood that was certain to belong to the attacker not his either. Hairs found at the scene proved the same. In fact, not a shred of forensic evidence linked Ray to the murder, with Levy’s bag of tricks also including the presence of saliva on the victim being withheld at the first trial, though later testing of the samples conclusively excluded Ray as the donor. Plus, footprints that were taken at the scene were said to match Ray’s shoe, but they were actually the wrong size and from Converse sneakers that were not Ray’s, with this oversight explained by the lawsuit Ray later filed which included a report concerning the comparison of the prints being altered to fit Levy’s needs.
Too much was manufactured in order to convict a man who had unhesitatingly admitted being at the bar after work on the afternoon before the murder, and who had done so with his never lying, distorting details or showing any other sign of being dishonest. From the start, Ray was cooperative and forthright, telling police that he had stopped at the bar after work, had a beer and waited on a pizza delivery before going home to watch football with friends and try to make up for some of the sleep he had missed on the night before. With an alibi witness placing him at home and in bed at the time of the murder, Ray was simply one of the crowd who had stopped in at the bar that evening, with the actual evidence pointing away from him as a suspect. However, Levy changed the face beginning with the forensic evidence introduced at trial.
This included criminalist, Scott Petite who testified that he had three and a half years experience in the police serology department, and then offered testimony that conclusively connected Ray to nothing, but his still using that Ray’s blood is type O to repeatedly assert that he could not be excluded as the perpetrator. He added that pubic hairs found on Kim’s abdomen were “similar” to samples taken from Ray. Without pointing out that half of the general population and eight of ten Native Americans test type O, Piette followed Levy’s lead just as criminalist Gregg Ballard had done in Eldon’s case and helped to set the stage for the presentation of the weak circumstantial evidence used to concoct a connection between Ray and the murder.
Thus, along with Piette, Dr. Raymond Rawson testified as Levy’s dental expert, claiming at the second trial that there were bite marks on the victims neck and breast which matched Krone‘s jagged teeth that had been broken in a prior car wreck. However, as the defense’s expert, Dr. Homer Campbell, would ultimately prove, Rawson had merely created an illusion on his videotape by adjusting the casts of the teeth marks to fit the imprints of Ray’s teeth. Rawson had ignored proper procedure, with nothing kept to scale and the teeth not numbered correctly. Then, his claim that a scratch on the breast was typical of a cusp tip “drag mark” which he associated with one of Ray’s teeth was proven a further deception, when a closer look at more than one hundred autopsy photos established that the scratch was not present before the autopsy was done.
Of course, with Levy working to overcome the rebuttal of his dental expert at the second trial, he first tried to say that the photos had been tampered with. But, after discovering they had been taken, developed and printed by the police department, he found that he would have to use another approach. So, Levy used testimony involving what was termed “eye-brain coordination” to explain how the scratch could not be seen in so many photos taken before the autopsy began, but is clear in those taken after. The demonstration even included Rawson being allowed to set up an easel and demonstrate optical illusions despite the defense’s objections, with the phony actually making the presentation, though as the defense had read into the record, he had testified contrarily at the first trial.
It was obvious to me that the scratch mark on the ten o’clock bite was not a tooth mark but was made by some sort of sharp pointed instrument. It is superfluous to the bite mark. It was made after the bite mark,” he had previously asserted.
However, his opinion changed for the second trial and he concluded, with the scratch used as a part of his determination, “To a reasonable of medical certainty Ray Krone inflicted the bite injuries to Kim Anacona.” Then, Dr. John A. Piakas concurred, “the bite mark on Kim Anacona matches the dentition of Ray Krone.”Sadly, in the end the jury seems to have far better understood how eye-brain coordination changes the face of a photo than most rational individuals, and did so without their knowing that Rawson had received a far higher pay than normally given to an expert for testimony, that his testimony would later be proven perjured or that Piakas was actually no more than a local dentist with a chemistry degree and had no other prior experience in dental forensics but for one case that had never went to court.
Neither did they know that Levy had not provided the video to the defense until just prior to trial and the judge refused to allow the defense an extension to have their expert examine it. Thus, Levy managed a second conviction after the Arizona Supreme Court had overturned the first for the fact that the prosecutor had concealed the videotape from the defense in the first place. In fact, the court’s decision did not phase nor deter Levy and he went forward with his manufactured evidence in 1996 after having been told by two experts that the marks did not match Ray’s imprints. Of course, the defense was also never made aware of the prior experts’ contrary opinions or that the alleged expert who took the stand was not by any means qualified.
Despite Levy’s efforts to conceal the truth, misgiving hung over both trials. In fact, the jury in Ray’s second trial was so torn from some being unsure of the veracity of the evidence that several members sat with tears in their eyes as their ruling was read. The trial judge himself was so uncertain that he expressed his doubt as to the choice he was forced to make before reluctantly sentencing Ray to life, with his refusing to do as Levy wished and resentence him to death. Still, with all the uncertainty, Ray went back to a cell where the battle to free himself started anew.
Thus, only after the loss of years more, Ray eventually conclusively established there had been a conspiracy between detectives and the prosecutor’s office that ran the course of more than a decade and included pressuring their experts and witnesses to get the right story. The team was first guilty of calculatingly fabricating the evidence that took so many years of an innocent man’s life while the actual killer remained on the street. Then, when their farce was exposed, they sought to reconvict using a new set of lies.
Ray was quoted in Phoenix Magazine as saying, “They arrested me and then built a case. But, somebody had to recognize this just did not make sense. Rational people had to say they needed to rethink this, but they blindly said, nothing is stopping us and no one will know.”

As he too late realized, no one was supposed to know with Levy expecting that a postal worker who hung out in a small neighborhood bar to play darts would little more have the means to fight wrongful conviction than Eldon Michael and I do at present. Yet, above the three-hundred thousand dollars that Ray and his family raised to retain attorneys and experts, members of the legal team responsible for freeing him let the family go on five-hundred thousand more. Ray achieved the miracle that in the vast majority of cases is not available to the indigent defendants who are targeted to receive the death penalty. Yet even so, to add insult to injury, the prosecutor who had cost him so much still walked away unscathed.
As Michael O'Connor an attorney representing Maricopa County against a suit that Ray filed explained during an interview for Phoenix Magazine, “The law gives absolute immunity for police and prosecutors doing their jobs, which isolates us from all claims.” Indeed, the opinion of all those involved seemed to be that the few words that were offered as an apology should have made up for the loss of years of life and affront to his dignity that Ray had suffered. “He deserves an apology for sure. What do you say to him, an injustice was done and we will try to do better. And we’re sorry,” Maricopa County Prosecutor Rick Romley tersely remarked of the malfeasance of his deputy prosecutor and its cost to an innocent man.
Yet, though not acknowledged by those responsible, the case is a grievous demonstration of the prosecution and law enforcement at its worst, with the detectives having purposely ignored a mountain of evidence that pointed away from Ray and toward others and Levy doing the same as he sought victory. In fact, the evidence showed that from their initial interviews the efforts of detectives should have focused on several other suspects including another Ray also listed in Kim’s address book and who she had been seen with just prior to the murder, a Native American that a friend of Kim’s dated who was reported as liking to bite during sex called Tennessee Mike, another Native American Kenneth Phillips, and as Ray’s cousin, Jim Rix, who was involved in overturning the case has demonstrated, a lesbian couple, Trish and Lu, with Lu the masculine of the two also a Native American and Trish having been fired from CBS and believing it had occurred after Kim complaining about her to the owner.
Of those to consider, Phillips was simply the most obvious suspect, with him a severe alcoholic who was on probation after being convicted of fondling a seven year old during a drunken stupor, living almost beside the bar and with another complaint made against him just after the murder. As well, there were two reports early into the investigation of a Native American fitting his description possibly being involved. One witness would even place him outside the bar the night of the murder and another reported that the victim was in an argument with a Native American before the murder. Nonetheless, both reports were ignored, though they also indicate the couples’ possible involvement and that connection after thorough investigation became the scenario which most strongly denotes guilt.
The evidence does have a story to tell, but the investigation by detectives was so shallow that the forensic evidence used to convict Ray was not compared to that of Phillips until a decade later when Ray’s attorneys finally had the testing done themselves. Notably, detectives further failed, with the full extent of the evidence against the couple only came to light through Rix and defense investigator’s efforts. The results of the DNA testing exonerated Ray and found conclusively that it had been Phillip’s salvia left on Kim on the night of her death. It was clearly established that the facts to exonerate Ray were all there long before the case ever went to trial, but Levy would not relent in his determination to convict the man who had dared to assert his rights into the process.
Thus, Ray was only released from his illegal confinement after overturning a second wrongful conviction in 2002. Phillips was immediately arrested based on the DNA results with no further investigation done, charged with murder and ultimately sentenced to twenty-five years for murder and twenty-eight years for sexual assault. Not surprisingly, with the death penalty a possibility for him as it had been for Ray, Phillips did confess to the murder. However, many unanswered questions remain considering the actions of detectives in Ray’s case along with the possibility that the salvia taken from the victim’s blouse front had been transferred there before the murder occurred and that Phillips was too drunk to recall what happened.
The confession clearly involved the detective leading Phillips. In fact, he was badgered and told he was guilty until he was actually offered no recourse but to accept the detective’s version of events. He clearly did not volunteer the story used. With the details provided to him, Phillips simply comes around to eventually concurring with what is said, though he continues to say he does not recall the events. He actually seems to have ended up providing another coerced piece of evidence in a long trail of fabrications intended to cover the initial malfeasance.
In addition, as Levy was aware before Ray’s second trial and Prosecutor Catherine Hughes knew before her prosecution of Phillips more than a decade later, the masculine counterpart of the lesbian couple was often mistaken for a man, was known to have been physically able to subdue a male and matched the description of the person seen entering the bar around the time the murder would have taken place. She had also been in the military and owned an army green field jacket like the person was said to be wearing and drove a sedan that matched the description of the one that the person was driving. However, Phillips had never learned to drive, owned no car, nor ever had a license and Tennessee Mike drove a small truck.
As well, hairs discovered near and on the victim belonged to a Native American, the autopsy revealed that there was no semen present after an alleged sexual attack and cuts within the vagina indicated penetration by something other than a penis. The cuts on Kim’s blouse also indicated that she had been stabbed before being undressed. Plus, the fatal wounds were inflicted in a manner similar to the method soldiers are trained to use as taking out a sentry in order to avoid a commotion.
In sum, the evidence still does not indicate that those assigned the duty of assuring justice have put away the right person and the question that remains is whether or not the actual killer still prowls the streets. Notably, though the prosecutor’s office never had the testing done before sentencing an indigent Indian to die in prison, Dr. Campbell did compare the impressions of others to the bite imprints found on Kim’s body and he was not able to exclude the female as the one who actually left the marks, because she provided the match that he liked best.

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