Everyday Justice Podcast Episode 19: David Thorne and a Murder for Hire That Wasn’t

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David Thorne is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for allegedly hiring an acquaintance to kill the mother of his son – however, he never hired anyone nor did the acquaintance do the crime.

Sometime between the evening hours on March 31, 1999, and 12:00 p.m. on April 1, 1999, Yvonne Layne, a mother of five, was murdered in her home with one solid and steady slit to her throat.

David Thorne was convicted of complicity to aggravated murder/murder for hire on January 25, 2000, by a 12-person jury.

The police investigating the crime had tunnel vision throughout their investigation, narrowing in on David from the beginning.

The investigators were unable to get David to confess, so instead they went after his acquaintance, Joseph Wilkes, who was barely 18 years of age and a high school dropout.

After a lengthy interrogation, during which they told Joseph that David was “next door ratting him out,” he confessed, utilizing the story that the police had fed to him as to what the police were telling him happened.

Joe took a plea deal and David went to trial. Despite the lack of physical evidence of either Joe or David being at the scene and a poor police investigation, with very weak circumstantial evidence, an innocent man was convicted.


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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