The Wrongful Conviction of Anthony Broom
The first officers to arrive on the scene testified at trial that they felt Charlotte had either killed herself or that some sort of self-inflicted accident occurred. This was supported by the fact that Anthony called for the police, he remained on the scene and was actually trying to save Charlotte’s life by performing CPR. Additionally, there was no evidence of a physical altercation and her location on the bed would have made it difficult for someone else to have shot her in the head, as she was shot. Further, there appeared to be stippling from gun powder burns on the back of her left hand, consistent with firing a weapon recently. The medical examiner was not called to the scene, and instead Charlotte’s body was transferred to the medical examiner’s lab, therefore he did not see the scene, himself. The autopsy was performed at 10 a.m., 6 hours after Charlotte’s demise.
The gun did not test positive for anyone’s fingerprints. The gun had been poorly handled from the moment the police arrived on the scene. After the gun was tossed away from Charlotte’s body, one of the police officers picked up the gun with his bare hands and placed it in his belt at the small of his back. The gun was further handled by at least two other officers at the scene, before it was bagged as evidence.
Tests were performed on both Anthony and Charlotte’s hands to see if there was any evidence of either of them firing a gun recently. Anthony’s tests came back negative, as did Charlotte’s. The only evidence of either having fired a gun recently was the presence of burned stippling on the back of Charlotte’s left hand. There were burn holes on Charlotte’s index and middle fingers near the knuckles. The officer that performed the test at the hotel room wiped away the soot by doing the wrong test first. If the paraffin or scotch tape test had been done first, this would have preserved the stippling and the gaseous residue would have been undisturbed for the neutron (swab) test to be performed. (Read testimony of Firearm's Expert Gary Rathman)
Further evidence in the room suggested other people may have been present prior to or at the time of Charlotte’s death. None of this evidence was tested. There were 4 empty glasses with what appeared to be a small amount of wine in the bottom of the glasses in Anthony’s room. Additionally, there was a glass sitting on top of the hood of Anthony’s car, just outside of the room. None of these glasses were fingerprinted and/or tested to see what was in the glasses or who had been using the glasses. Further, there were two blouses on Anthony’s couch. One blouse belonged to Charlotte, and it is unknown who the other blouse belonged to.
June 24, 1981: Dr. Marvin Johnson’s wife, Sophie, contacted the Winter Haven Police Department to report that a female had contacted her husband early that morning. She stated that the female caller said she shot “Tony’s girlfriend”. A couple of officers from the Winter Haven Police Department visited with Dr. Johnson later that day and asked him about the phone call he received around 4:10 a.m. that morning. Dr. Johnson said a female called him and said she needed a doctor at the Holiday Inn as she had just shot “Tony’s girlfriend, Charlotte” and that Charlotte was still alive. Dr. Johnson said the female on the phone did identify herself, however, he could not remember her name. He stated he advised the woman to contact the police and ambulance, as he was not an emergency doctor and they could better assist her. Later, Mrs. Sophie Johnson was also interviewed by the police, as she was present with Dr. Johnson when this phone call came through. Mrs. Johnson confirmed the same information Dr. Johnson had provided. This is the last anyone ever heard or investigated into the possibility of a female shooting Charlotte. Additionally, there is no mention of the phone call from Dr. Johnson in the lead detective's deposition or trial testimony. The only brief mention of the phone call was the day after on June 25, 1981 at the Bail Reduction Hearing. (click to see witness statements of Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Marvin Johnson).
June 9, 2011: a member of this organization spoke with Dr. Marvin Johnson on the phone. To this date, he recalls the phone call he received from an unknown female the morning of June 24, 1981. Dr. Johnson knew Anthony, as he had done some contractor work for him prior to being incarcerated. He stated that he was aware that Anthony slept with a gun cocked under his pillow at night. He said it was common for Vietnam Veterans to return from the war paranoid and sleep with a gun under their pillow. Dr. Johnson said he was never asked to testify at Anthony’s trial, nor did he know there ever was a trial. After the initial interview with the detectives on June 24, 1981, he does not recall ever speaking with the detectives or prosecutor again. It seems the Winter Haven Police Department dropped the ball on this piece of information and this should have been looked into in more detail.
October 26, 2011: Dr. Marvin Johnson signed an Affidavit swearing to the phone contact he received the morning of Charlotte Martz's death. Click here to read the Affidavit.
October 30, 2011: An Innocence Project is reviewing the case and is attempting to locate a medical examiner to re-examine Charlotte's autopsy. It is possible that after 30 years of advancing technology there may be new techniques to determine whether a gunshot wound was self-inflicted.
The Winter Haven Police Department did a very poor job of investigating the death of Charlotte Martz. Had they investigated it more thoroughly, they would have found that either a crime did not occur or if it did, it was not done at the hands of Anthony Broom. Instead the detective was lazy and knowingly fabricated an affidavit, which got Anthony indicted and then sat back while an innocent man was put in prison.
July 2, 2012: Upon obtaining a copy of the autopsy report from the Winter Haven police department recently, the attached "Death Investigation Report" was included. This document was completed in the early morning hours the day of Charlotte Martz's death by Detective Sandra Woodard. The report includes inaccurate information which Det. Woodard had no proof of. The report states that according to investigators, "victim" and "suspect" were in the room together before and during the shooting. This statement is inaccurate, as Anthony was not in the room at the time the gun went off and the first responders surmised the death to be a suicide or self-inflicted accident - therefore there would be no victim nor suspect. This document was provided to the medical examiner and may have swayed his opinion to "undetermined" rather than accident or suicide, given the lead detective had already determined Charlotte's death was a homicide.