TABITHA POLLOCK‘s three-year-old daughter, Jami Sue, was murdered on October 3, 1995. Her live-in boyfriend at the time, Scott English, confessed to the murder, admitting to killing Jami Sue in the couple’s home in Kewanee, Illinois. Tabitha was sleeping at the time of the murder. For three-to-four days following the murder, Tabitha was brought to the police station for questioning. In November 1995, she came before the Grand Jury, presumably to help bolster the case against her boyfriend. However, the prosecution was presenting a case against Tabitha, and immediately upon her Grand Jury testimony, she was taken to county jail. Tabitha’s trial took place about one year later, at which time a Henry County jury found her guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated battery. The conviction was based on the prosecution’s contention that she “should have known” English posed a danger to Jami Sue’s life. The judge sentenced Tabitha to thirty-six years in prison. The Third District Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the conviction in 1999.
While incarcerated, Tabitha wrote to the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University Law School. Within two weeks of sending the letter, she received a response. She later met with Jane Raley and some of her students. Raley subsequently took Tabitha’s case. On October 18, 2002, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed Tabitha’s conviction and found the evidence so strong in her favor that they did not allow the state to retry the case. She was released on December 11, 2002. Recently, Judge Charles “Casey” Stengel denied Tabitha’s petition for a certificate of innocence.