Cold Justice is currently seeking unsolved homicide cases.
By Cold Justice
KELLY & YOLANDA'S STATEMENT:
Ronnie Hendrick's plea to 22 years today for the Murder of Pam Shelly happened because of the hard work of DA Michael Sheppard, Sheriff Jode Zavesky and Detective Carl Bowen. We commend them for the passion, tenacity, and dedication that have been put forth on this case for years. We also remember Pam's family and how long they have waited for this day and for justice; we couldn't be happier for them. Our hope is to continue to help in as many cold cases as possible, with the goal of finding justice for victims and their families.
DICK WOLF'S STATEMENT:
When we started 'Cold Justice,' our hope was that we might be able to shed new light on unsolved homicides. It is enormously gratifying to have the first episode result in a guilty plea from a murderer who had escaped justice for 12 years."
Check out the links below to read more about the case:
By Murray Newman
Since 1999, Murray Newman has practiced criminal law, handling cases from DWI to Capital Murder and everything in between. He serves as a consultant for Cold Justice. Follow him on Twitter and visit his blog.
Most murder case investigations follow a set pattern. To begin with, a body is found. Crime scene technicians do all they can to collect the evidence and interpret the physical circumstances as to how the murder happened. Police officers talk to the witnesses. As long as there is evidence coming in and witnesses still to talk to, a murder investigation remains active. When that last piece of evidence has been examined and the final witness has been interviewed without a solution, only then does a case truly go cold.
Across the country, there are over 200,000 unsolved murder cases that have turned cold for one reason or another. When that happens, sometimes the only possible solution is to take the case back to the beginning and start over with a fresh set of eyes.
The premiere episode of COLD JUSTICE shows that exact process of starting over as veteran prosecutor Kelly Siegler and retired Las Vegas Metro Crime Scene Investigator Yolanda McClary travel to Cuero, Texas, to investigate the 2001 death of Pam Shelly. Unlike most murder cases, the death of Ms. Shelly isn't a mystery to determine who killed the young mother; rather, the job at hand for Kelly and Yolanda is to determine whether or not a murder was committed at all.
Homicide cases that are initially ruled suicides are not very common. In the vast majority of cases, Crime Scene Investigators can determine almost immediately upon arrival at a scene whether or not they are dealing with a murder or a suicide. However, in some rare occasions, a mistaken ruling can be made and that ruling can completely derail everything that follows after.
Kelly and Yolanda traveled to Cuero to work with Sgt. Carl Bowen in reopening the case. Former Houston Police Department Homicide Sergeant Johnny Bonds joined the investigation. Johnny is known in Houston as "the Cop Who Wouldn't Quit" based on a triple murder case that he spent years solving after it had been initially ruled a suicide.
The team has to go all the way back to the beginning and build a completely new case if they want to prove that someone killed Pam Shelly. They have to build a case that will be strong enough to stand up in court, which isn't going to be easy. The fact that the case was once ruled a suicide will be something that defense attorneys will be able to argue to a jury and that will be challenging for a prosecutor to overcome.
This episode shows how much work goes into a tough case like this, from the evidence collection to the witness interviews, all of which have to be done exactly right if a jury is going to return a guilty verdict.
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