Free Michael D Rimmer from Tennessee Death Row: facts prove his innocence.

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Michael D Rimmer has been through three trials now. Please see links below to follow the history that supports his innocence . 

In Mr. Rimmers last trial the state prosecutors changed the theory of the case in their closing arguments stating “We will tell you why the eyewitnesses did not see Rimmer. That was Rimmers crew!”  There was no evidence of a criminal conspiracy. In fact the state withheld the eyewitnesses for (14) years. They stated, “Rimmer was the sole actor.”

It is undisputed on either side of this case.  No one was supposed to be in the security area of the Memphis Inn, except a blonde female Ricci Ellsworth.  A Mr James Darnell saw two men with blood dripping from their hands.  This evidence was suppressed from Mr Rimmer for (14) years and through two trials. 

In the third trial, Mr Rimmer was never indicted for a criminal conspiracy. There is no evidence to support Mr Rimmer being connected or involved with the two men responsible. 

Mr. Rimmer is now in the Criminal Court of Appeals in Jackson, Tennessee.  Michael is arguing his innocence along with attorney Mr Paul Bruno of Nashville, TN.   The state of Tennessee will file their response to this brief on July 18, 2018.  (Updates will follow)

Michael has proven his innocence, yet the state has been allowed in the third trial to “lie” and “change” the theory of the case with no supporting evidence or indictment. This case SCREAMS INJUSTICE!  The law involved in this case is obvious.

Free Michael from this after 21 years, please read and sign.  

 History and Links:


Your signature on this petition can right a wrong, and free an innocent man from prison after almost 20 years behind bars.

The office of the Shelby County’s District Attorney has hidden the truth for almost two decades, despite a Memphis judge’s ruling in October of 2012 that shows actual innocence on the part of Michael D. Rimmer. That office withheld exculpatory testimony showing others to be responsible for the assumed death and/or disappearance of Ricci Ellsworth, whose body has never been found. The same office knowingly destroyed crucial evidence. They now plan to retry Mr. Rimmer for a third time.

Judge's ruling in October 2012:

Is it right for prosecutors to get away with criminal conduct, and destroy a defendant’s ability ever to receive a fair trial? Should the Shelby County’s D.A. office exercise an illegal, unconstitutional legal advantage in a third prosecution almost two decades after a murder supposedly occurred?

To further aggravate matters in this capital murder case, the defendant’s lawyers in two prior trials were found to be grossly ineffective. One of the country’s leading experts testified that he had never seen a worse miscarriage of legal representation. No pre-trial investigation was ever done. In fact, the designated investigator claimed that he could not find the alleged crime scene, despite his report listing the correct address for the motel from which Ricci Ellsworth disappeared. Advised not to testify, Mr. Rimmer never put on the record that he was in a club too far away from the murder site to reach it within the alleged time frame of the crime.

Michael Rimmer’s case was thrown out on October 12, 2012, in a rare ruling handed down by Criminal Court Appeals Judge James Beasley – the first time any capital conviction was reversed by any Memphis judge in 35 years. Nonetheless, despite the reversal, and despite the fact that District Attorney Thomas Henderson now faces charges of misconduct before the Board of Professional Responsibility, he still practices law, notwithstanding a pattern of abuse by and in his D. A. Office. Even so, his office seeks yet another tainted trial against Mr. Rimmer.

Complaint with the Board of Professional Responsibility:

The case of Michael Rimmer first came to national attention in “Justice in the Balance,” reported by Brad Heath in USA Today. The front page expose' was published on August 17, 2011, and a short follow-up article appeared on October 15, 2012, just days after the conviction was completely overturned. Still another article in The Nation on April 8, 2013, mentioned the case.

You can read those articles here:

Though the alleged victim has never been found, the state’s theory is that Michael Rimmer killed her and disposed of the body. The only hard evidence offered was the allegation that blood was found in the car he was driving at the time of his arrest in Indiana, weeks after her disappearance. However, the defendant never got the opportunity to conduct any testing of the car to determine what was in it. Before he was formally charged or even extradited back to Tennessee, Shelby County legal authorities flew up to Indiana, took possession of the vehicle, and then brought it back to Memphis. That car was later sold at auction before Mr. Rimmer was ever charged, much less had any chance for his defense to examine it.

According to the prosecution, two small cuttings from the back seat of the automobile tested positive for blood. Identifying its DNA as that of Ricci Ellsworth came through samples taken from her mother, not the missing victim. Expert testimony in the appeals process that challenged this form of identification led to the overturn of the prior conviction. The authority said that the whole case was mishandled, from the crime scene investigation to the release of the car that destroyed Michael Rimmer’s ability ever to challenge the state’s allegations.

Besides these violations of proper procedure, a great deal of property belonging to the defendant has vanished, all at the hands of Memphis authorities. Their own photographs of the car prove its existence, but nothing documents its disappearance.

Most damning of all is the lie told by Memphis Detective Shemwell, who said that the only eye-witness saw Michael Rimmer at the motel the night the missing woman disappeared. The truth is that this witness, James Darnell, a U. S. Army sergeant, saw two men with blood dripping from their hands. He saw the first man outside the motel loading what he believed was a body wrapped in a bed blanket into the trunk of a car. The other was inside a restricted security area to which only the victim was supposed to have access. The witness observed one man passing money through the security window to the other man. Not only does neither of the men he described even remotely resemble Mr. Rimmer, but the prosecution concealed this evidence for 14 years!

Even the F.B.I. knew about that evidence yet still refuses to turn over unredacted copies of more than 730 pages of files, despite a lawsuit against Eric Holder and the U. S. Justice Department. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that further filings would be required to get this information into the hands of the defendant. Apparently the wheels of justice turn slower when a defendant shows that the government has knowingly broken the law.

In the public arena, the eye-witness was never called to testify at either of Michael Rimmer's [revious two trials! Was this lapse inadvertent? Was this a simple mistake by Memphis homicide police and Shelby County D. A. Thomas Henderson? Significantly, even in the face of the recent overturn of the conviction, The Commercial Appeal has yet to provide any coverage so that the public can assess the situation. Further, the original reporter on the case, Lawrence Buser, now works for the Shelby County D. A.’s office.

Now put all the pieces together. The Memphis legal authorities hid their only eye witness for 14 years. They never followed up on Arkansas officials' identification of the probable murderers. They sold the car, and never allowed the defense any access to it. Members of the family of the alleged victim of this crime, Ricci Ellsworth, have worked for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department that prosecuted this case.

All these years later, after the case is cold, most of the evidence destroyed or lost, with witnesses and one of the possible perpetrators missing or dead, the D. A.’s office intends to try Michael Rimmer again. Is this fair? Should prosecutors plot for a third time to murder an innocent man?

Please read all the files posted with this petition, and determine for yourself if it is right for proven violators of a defendant’s access to a fair trial to proceed once more in committing an outrageous injustice against Michael D. Rimmer. This man could be your son, brother, uncle, or father. He deserves his freedom after serving so many years, most of them on death row, for a crime he never committed.

Add your signature to the petition to release an innocent man.