The Wrongful Conviction of Anthony Broom
Events Immediately Following the Incident
When Anthony returned to the room and saw the state Charlotte was in, he called the night clerk at the motel, John Zink. John testified that he received a phone call from Anthony around 4 a.m., asking for an ambulance to come to his room. Anthony then called back a few minutes later to John, asking again for the police and an ambulance because somebody had been shot, and was told the ambulance was on its way. John testified in his deposition that Anthony was “in a panic stage” when he called him on the phone.
When the police arrived, they found the door open to Anthony’s room. The officers could see Anthony giving Charlotte mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. When Anthony realized the police were not entering the room, he reach down past where Charlotte’s left hand was hanging off the bed, picked up the gun, said “here’s the gun” and tossed it on the couch. He did this so the police would know he did not have a weapon and it was safe to enter. From the moment the police entered and secured the gun, the weapon was mishandled by several different officers.
The first responders to the scene asked Anthony what happened, to which he responded, “I have no idea”. The officers surveyed the room and at least one of the officers, surmised they were dealing with a suicide or some sort of self-inflicted accident. When the EMTs arrived, Anthony allowed them to take over with the victim. The EMTs moved Charlotte’s body away from the headboard so they could work on her more easily.
Anthony was in hysterics and showed concern for his friend. The officers asked Anthony to stay outside of the room; however, he kept coming into the room to see how Charlotte was doing, so the officers made him sit in the back of their squad car to keep him from disturbing the scene. Anthony was informed of Charlotte’s death when he was in the back of a squad car and became very upset. Detective Sandra Woodard arrived at the scene around 4:35 a.m. When she saw Anthony in the backseat of a police car she said “Anthony, what have you done?” It seems at this point forward, Detective Woodard’s mind was made up as far as what happened and who was to blame.
Anthony was transported to the police department for interrogation at 6:35 a.m. Detective Woodard informed Anthony that he was being charged with murder and at that point he told the detective he would not say anything further and that she could talk to his lawyer. Thereafter, a neutron test was conducted on Anthony’s hand to check for evidence of firing a gun recently. The test was negative.