In 1989, James Dean became one of the six suspects that got swept up during an investigation into Helen Wilson’s murder a few years prior. But the interrogation that eventually led to the confessions has since been criticized for how it was carried out. HBO’s ‘Mind Over Murder’ chronicles the complex case and how James and five others were sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit, all based on allegedly coerced confessions. So, let’s find out more about James then, shall we?
Who is James Dean?
James Dean was arrested in April 1989 after Debra Shelden implicated him in the crime. At the time, he was a 25-year-old construction worker. His initial reaction was to cry and proclaim that he had nothing to do with Helen’s slaying. Even during questioning, James asked for a lawyer, but his request was reportedly ignored. He was then told about others talking to the police about his involvement. As er reports, Dean was told that he failed a polygraph as “he was being deceptive.”
As James began doubting what he told the police, Wayne Price, the psychologist, said to him that he might have repressed these memories. Wayne then offered to conduct sessions with him to aid in recalling them. During these sessions, James revealed that his father and brother-in-law physically abused him as a child. He then claimed that Joseph White looked like his brother-in-law and might have asked him to do something bad, just like his brother-in-law used to.
By May 1989, James had been shown the crime scene photos and had visited the apartment where Helen died. He then told the police that he was part of the murder with the others. James added, “Well I, I feel that I remembered it in my sleep. I obviously had some kind of a subconscious block or something. I don’t know what it was for sure, and I couldn’t remember, and I thought I was telling the truth naturally, and I said I was not there.”
Over the course of the investigation, James provided up to eight different statements, each with different information regarding what purportedly happened on the night of the murder in 1985. However, he also said that he got much of that information from his dreams. James added, “I’m just telling you bits and pieces of what I can tell you like you guys wanted to know, you know.”
Where is James Dean Today?
James pled guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree murder in May 1989. He was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison and was imprisoned for about four-and-a-half years. As part of the deal, James testified at Joseph’s trial. Furthermore, a psychologist diagnosed James, Ada Taylor, and Debra with Stockholm syndrome. After being exonerated of the crime in January 2009, James received $300,000 for the wrongful conviction and $2 million at the civil trial. At the time of the legal proceedings, he was engaged to Lydia Buckley. Since then, James has maintained a low profile, but it was reported in 2009 that he was a truck driver living in Salinas, Kansas.
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