Louisville Detective To Serve Time in Prison for Incarcerating Innocent Men
By Zulema Herrera
Former Louisville police detective Mark Handy, pleaded guilty for aiding in the incarceration of innocent men who were convicted for murder. Handy will serve one year in prison for his misconduct on a plea bargain that prohibits probation.
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Handy had admitted to lying on the witness stand, tampering with evidence, and has been accused of coercion. During a 1995 trial following Brenda Whitfield's murder, Edwin Chandler was wrongfully convicted for her murder and said that Handy threatened to lock up his nieces if he didn't give a false confession. Chandler spent nine years in prison, in 2009 he was cleared and by 2012 he was exonerated. The Louisville Metro Government paid a $8.5 million to Chandler as part of a settlement.
Two other men, Garr Keith Hardin and Jeffrey Dwayne Clark, were also wrongfully convicted but with the murder of Rhonda Sue Warford. Handy was charged for tampering with evidence in this conviction and falsifying testimony, coaching them to repeat incriminating statements. Both men spent 22 years in prison before being released by the judge due to DNA tests and evidence that proved their innocence.
Handy was among other detectives accused of these crimes; these cases only a small number of many who fall victim to false accusations. Chandler told Circuit Judge Olu Stevens, who sentenced Handy to prison, that nothing can replace what he lost and that there were no winners with this sentence.
With organizations like the Innocence Project—who helped with Keith Hardin's case— combined with the efforts from other members of the community, real change can be made to make sure law enforcement is held accountable and innocent individuals receive justice.