November 13 --At a 40-minute long press conference today, convicted killer Donald Bohana, his lawyer and daughter laid out the reasons why Donald’s conviction in the killing of Tito Jackson’s ex-wife, Dee Dee Jackson, should be set aside and Don should be released immediately. He contends she died accidentally -- she drowned. Bohana declared his Innocence and is appealing to California’s Governor for his immediate release. He is 81 and has served 19 years of a 15-to-life sentence.
To see the video of the press conference, click here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/ahronygrahamzucker/posts/?ref=page_internal
“The horror of an injustice needs to be corrected,” said Bohana.
Almost 19 years ago, November 23, 1998, Bohana as sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for the second-degree murder of his girlfriend, Delores (Dee Dee) Jackson. Now the 81-year-old Bohana, convicted of killing the former sister-in-law of legendary entertainer Michael Jackson, is demanding his freedom and claiming innocence.
“Bohana should be released immediately,” said Bruce Zucker, an attorney with Ahrony, Graham & Zucker LLP, a post-conviction law firm, who has taken up Bohana’s case pro bono. Bohana had spent over $800 thousand to defend himself in hopes to clear his name in the murder of Tito Jackson’s ex-wife.
“This aging man with a severe heart condition no longer belongs behind bars and poses no threat to the public,” said Zucker. “He’s been eligible for parole for a decade but since a stipulation for getting out is that Bohana must confess to a crime he didn’t commit, he remains locked up.”
Bohana has been denied parole four times.
The facts of the case, according to Zucker, are the following: “Bohana was a reputable businessman and pillar of the community, with no record of serious or violent criminal behavior. He had no motive, and by all accounts, was in a happy relationship with Jackson. She accidentally drowned with a blood-alcohol level that was three times over the legal limit for intoxication for driving. This exorbitant consumption of alcohol can lead to impaired thought processes and can eventually lead to bad decisions.
“The state initially ruled the death an accident but only charged him two and a half years later because the rich and powerful Jackson family pushed for a trial. The prosecutor used controversial testimony from a part-time coroner who was discredited by the very same DA’s office on another high-profile case earlier. One of the deputy district attorneys on the case, who later became a judge, had to step down from the bench on the heels of being placed on paid administrative leave. She apparently was involved in a bribery scandal, and acted with questionable motives here. In short, a miscarriage of justice needs to be overturned.”
Bohana says the following factors should be given strong consideration:
· In the initial investigation of the drowning scene, no crime was showed to have been committed, thus potential evidence was not properly handled or preserved.
· New evidence regarding the Los Angeles coroner.
· There was a conflict of interest with the Los Angeles District Attorney Officer, which may have risen to the level of prosecutorial misconduct.
· Bohana believes his attorney provided him ineffective counsel. In fact, during the habeas corpus hearing when Judge Tarle asked Braun if he was just retained by Michael Jackson, Braun stated he was, posing what appears to be a conflict of interest.
“We are asking the parole board to see that there’s clear evidence of innocence here,” said Zucker. “We also are asking Jackie Lacey, the current District Attorney, to independently review the case, and we submitted a commutation petition to the Governor.”
Bohana has already served several more years than the minimum sentence imposed in this case. “Some members of the Jackson family have indicated they wouldn’t be opposed to him getting out now,” said Donna Bohana, Don’s daughter.
David M. Posey, MD, performed a forensic autopsy on the body of Jackson on September 2, 1994. An autopsy report was issued sometime around September 10, 1994 with the cause of death as “undetermined accidental drowning.”
Posey, who later resigned his position with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, lasted just 29 working days.
In fact, expert witness Dr. Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner for the city of New York and worked on numerous high-profile cases including the O.J. Simpson murder trial, concluded that Jackson died from an accidental drowning. For reasons unknown, he was never called to testify in Bohana’s case.
Bohana passed a polygraph examination in October 1997, scoring a 99.99 NDI (no deception indicated). He sought legal defense by his high school and college friend, Johnny Cochran, but couldn’t get his representation due to Cochran’s retainer agreement with the entire Jackson family.
Bohana was a well-respected businessman who opened the first sit-down restaurant in Watts (Denny’s) since the riots of 1965.
Bohana’s case is starting to get some attention. ABC TV’s 20/20 did a big story this past month: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/tito-jackson-sons-describe-day-wife-mothers-murder/story?id=49777444.
Dr. Posey told 20/20 that he changed his opinion from undetermined to homicide two years later, in part, because he was told by Deputy District Attorney Lori Jones that she had an aquatics expert to negate Bohana’s claims of a rescue and thus point to a homicide conclusion. But Posey admitted on the stand that he had never spoken to that expert nor read his report before changing that opinion. That aquatics expert later said that he was only given one scenario to analyze and that was that Jackson was conscious in the water and fighting off a rescue. However, Bohana has always claimed that she was unconscious underwater.
Please note, the Bohana family retained the services of the PR firm that I work for to get the word out about his case.
Bohana had been dating Jackson for just a few months when she drowned at his home pool in the exclusive neighborhood of Ladera Heights in Los Angeles. She died on the night of August 26, 1994.
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