More Wrongly Convicted Murderers?


In 1988, Anthony Michael Green was convicted of a rape he didn't commit. It would be 13 years before DNA evidence would finally exonerate Green. As soon as he was set free, he filed a lawsuit against the City of Cleveland. Green demanded that they do an audit of the city police laboratory. The feds were on it right away. In 2005, the federal audit revealed that forensic analyst Joseph Serowik had falsely testified against Green. Though his lab notes indicated that there was no forensic match to Green at the scene of the crime, he testified otherwise. Serowik was quickly fired. It appeared that justice had been served. But it now appears there were two more victims on Serowik's list. In 1997, a 74-year-old was beaten into a coma. Fingerprints on her body put Jason Smith at the scene of the crime. In order to reach a plea bargain, Smith pinned the beating on two other men, Thomas Siller and Walter Zimmer. A year later, they were convicted of attempted murder. But when the elderly woman died in 2001, Siller and Zimmer were retried for aggravated murder. Thanks to Serowik's forensic work, they were both found guilty and each sentenced to 40 years in prison without parole. Now The Innocence Project, a non-profit that helped exonerate Green, says that DNA evidence should set both men free. "DNA proves that these men were convicted based on false evidence," says co-director Barry Scheck. The convictions were largely Serowik's fault, he asserts. "There are only two possible explanations for what happened in this case. Either Serowik never conducted the tests that he said he did, or he conducted the tests and lied about the results." The Innocence Project filed motions to vacate both convictions. But the question remains: Who else is on Serowik's list of wrongly convicted men? --Denise Grollmus


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.