On December 9th, 1981, Stephen DeSantis and Gary Masse, disguised as telephone repair men, gained entry to the suburban home of Sacramento coin collector Ed Davies. They hogtied Ed and his wife Grace, ransacked the house, and came up with 6 suitcases full of silver before murdering the older couple. There had been a string of robberies connected to area coin shops, and Ed Davies was a customer at the coin store where law student Gloria Killian had worked. When an anonymous tip sent police in search of DeSantis and Masse, Joanne Masse named Killian as the mastermind to her husband’s crimes, an assertion that was repeated through the anonymous tip line. However, without sufficient evidence the charges against Killian were dropped. Upon being convicted Gary Masse offered his testimony, naming Killian as the mastermind of his criminal enterprise, in exchange for sentencing leniency and other perks. This deal was concealed from the defense and the jury. In absence of corroborating evidence, Gloria Killian was sentenced to 32 years to life solely upon Masse’s incentivized testimony. Killian spent 17 years in prison until evidence surfaced, exposing the prosecution’s machinations and Masse’s false testimony. In this episode of Wrongful Conviction, Gloria tells Jason her story alongside Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Nina Morrison. Gloria Killian was released in August of 2002 and currently advocates for women in prison.
You can support Gloria Killian’s efforts by visiting the Action Committee for Women in Prison at acwip.net.
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