Louisiana State Penitentiary
Angola, LA 70712
|DOB: June 28, 1955|
|Marlo Charles' case data|
|State and Parish||Louisiana, Terrebonne Parish|
|Crime||one count of aggravated rape|
|Date of Crime||March 12, 1981|
|Date of Arrest||April 7, of 2000|
|Date of Conviction||March 1, 2002|
|Sentence||Life at hard labor without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence|
|Age at the Date of Crime||25|
|Contributing Factors||Mistaken Eyewitness Identification, Perjury, False Accusation, Misleading Forensic Evidence, Official Misconduct|
|Did DNA evidence contribute to the conviction?||Yes|
|Is there DNA evidence to test?||N/A|
A white woman claims that she was raped by a black man. Clyde Charles was serving 17 years at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola wrongfully convicted of this crime. DNA evidence freed him and contributed to his brother Marlo Charles’ conviction. Clyde Charles (now deceased) did not only believe but also did know that his brother Marlo was innocent. He told me in an interview conducted at his house that the victim lied and that she had to keep lying in order to cover up her previous lies, when the state set him up. The following is Marlo Charles’ account. He tells this story, so that you can come to your own conclusion.
March 12th, 1981: On the morning in question on or around the time of 2:00 A.M., me and my brother Clyde Charles were sitting in a bar drinking. We had been drinking at several bars that night, when we decided to make our way home (i.e. for work). We walked together until we reached Prospect Street in Houma. Clyde decided to go to a co-worker’s home. I decided to go on to work. I was employed with Southern Pacific Railroad in Morgan City, Louisiana.
The Time Does Not Add Up
Upon reaching Highway 57 (which is known as Grand Caillou Road) I came across a policeman who was patrolling his sector. The officer stopped and got out of his car. He called me over and told me to get out of the road. This officer reported that the time was 1:45 A.M.
“I seen subj. around 1:45 A.M. because I had just looked at my watch, because when I stop and check someone out it’s a good idea to look at the time in case something would happen.”
Dy. Harold Domangue
Later at Clyde’s trial the officer stated that the time was about 2:25 to 2:45 A.M. At my trial it was stated that the time was 3:30 A.M.
Deputy Domangue wrote in his report that he had found the victim’s abandoned car on the railroad track by Redmond Road around 3:35 A.M. At 3:52 A.M., he found the hysteric victim. He took her to the Terrebonne General Hospital, because she asked him to. They arrived at TGH at around 4:00 A.M.
The District Attorney claimed that this rape happened between 2:00 A.M. and 4:00 A.M., when the victim, Ms. Marsha Domangue (Rome), claimed that she was raped between 2:00 A.M. and 3:00 A.M. It allegedly took 20 to 30 minutes.
Who should know when this alleged rape happened? The victim or the the District Attorney?
The victim was a married woman. She was out with her boy-friend (lover) at a bar until 2:00 A.M., she said. They left the bar and went to a friend’s house, and then to her mother’s home at or about 3:00 A.M.
How could she be at a bar at 2:00 A.M. and her mother’s home at 3:00 A.M., when she claimed to have been on Highway 57 being raped between these hours?
“At 2.00 P.M. [P.M.] I was driving around in my car and I wanted to be alone thinking my problems over.”
Date: March 12, 1981
Witness: Det. Jerry Larpenter
Signed: Marsha D. Rome
I was at my job at 3:00 A.M. to 4:00 A.M. the morning of March 12th, 1981. It is hard for me to find anyone from my job to verify that they saw me that morning or find the time card for that morning. It is even harder for me to place myself at a particular place when this alleged rape was taking place.
My Alleged Confession
Almost twenty (20) years after the nightmare had begun for my brother Clyde and my family, I lived in Virginia. Clyde was fighting the State of Louisiana and Terrebonne Parish for DNA testing. He signed away his rights to sue Terrebonne Parish officials for denying him access to the rape kit in an effort to get a DNA test and was exonerated of the charges. However, Terrebonne Parish officials were embarrassed and sought revenge. Since I was with my brother the night of the alleged rape, I immediately became a suspect. On April 7, 2000, an Officer Cooper arrested me in Hampton, Virginia, around 12:30 P.M.
Officer Cooper did not read me my rights, and told me that everything would be explained to me when I got “downtown.” From 12:30 P.M. to 4:00 P.M., no one read me my rights. When I asked to use the phone to call my sister so that she could obtain a lawyer for me, Detective Darryl Stewart refused to let me make the call. When the officers started questioning me about the rape, Clyde had been exonerated of, I told the officers that I wanted a lawyer present during my questioning; as stated by the Fifth Amendment. Of the three officers present (Cooper, Darryl Stewart, and Malcolm Wolf), no one complied with my request.
At my trial, Officers Cooper and Wolf testified that they had arrested me at my apartment about 3:00 P.M. on April 7, 2000. They did not state that neither officer read me my Miranda rights, for which they are supposed to read me. Cooper stated that when he brought me “downtown” that Officer Stewart read me my rights; yet, Stewart was not the arresting officer!
As of May 11, 2001, those officers claim that I confessed to this crime while in their custody. Yet, with all the modern technology available to the officers, the confession was neither videotaped nor recorded. According to Detective Stewart, he forgot to turn the tape recorder on. Detective Stewart did not even get a written confession, but stated “I wrote down what I thought was important.”
Along with violating my constitutional rights, I was forced to stay in jail while awaiting trial nearly two (2) years to the day, because my family was unable to post bail. In my opinion, a one million dollar ($ 1,000,000) bail was both excessive and unnecessary. (See prosecutorial misconduct below!)
Discrepancies and Inconsistancies in the Two Trials
Many questions have not been answered. For instance, if I raped the victim, why did she describe my brother’s clothes? Or why was a blond hair matching the victim’s found on Clyde’s clothing when he was arrested? Assistant District Attorney Rhodes could not answer these questions in his closing argument. What is even more important is why and how the District Attorney’s office framed my brother Clyde Charles for a crime they knew he could not have committed.
And now, how the judge allowed the District Attorney’s Office to turn around after 20 years and claim that I, Marlo Charles, committed this crime.
This was all done to cover up the conspiracy that took place to have Clyde Charles prosecuted. There is a bigger conspiricy that has taken place and that is the prosecution of me, Marlo Charles.
…How the state allowed the state witnesses to lie on the stand.
…How the judge allowed false testimony and evidence to go before the jury.
…How the expert witness on D.N.A. (She only has a B.S degree in mic biology) gave misleading testimony to the jury that they did not understand.
Since both my brother Clyde and I were tried for the same crime, some of the same witnesses were called to testify in both trials. Here are just a few of the inconsistancies in their testimonies:
In the first trial, the location was very dark according to victim Marsha Domangue Rome. In the second trial, Marsha Domangue Falgout (in the meantime divorced from her first husband, Philip H. Rome, and being married to her second husband, Leroy Falgout) described the area as well light, where she could see the face of her assailant.
In the first trial, the victim identified Clyde three times as her attacker, and even went as far as to say that “Clyde” told her his name and his address. Note that in her statement to investigator Jerry Larpenter on March 12, 1981, she only speaks of some “black man!” In the second (my) trial, she could not name her attacker but insisted that he looked and sounded like Clyde, who had been exonerated of his rape conviction at the time of my trial. She could not identify me as her rapist. Marsha D. Falgout testified that she mistakenly had identified Clyde as the rapist based on the clothes he wore were the same as those worn by her attacker and based on his appearance, stature, age and sound of his voice. There was no other suspect in Clyde’s case, nor in Marlo’s case. See “Two Brothers – Two Different Looks” below!
In the first trial, it was never mentioned that the victim was dragged “the length of a football field” in the mud. In the second trial, she was supposedly dragged.
In neither trial was a weapon produced, yet both my brother and I were convicted of “aggravated rape.”
The State’s witness, Harold Domangue, the officer who supposedly found the victim the night of the crime, is coincidently her cousin. He attempted to alter the time of the incident in the second trial to validate his testimony. See “The Time Does Not Add Up” above!
In the second trial, the medical examiner clearly stated that he could not conclusively determine that Ms. Falgout was even raped.
DNA Evidence and Blood Types
As in my brother Clyde A. Charles’ trial, who is now dead, Judge Broussard and the district attorney have positive proof that he did not commit the crime of rape in the form of blood typing testing that was done in 1981. According to Dr. Shirley Phillips’ scientific analysis report, Clyde has type “B” blood and the spermatozoa that was retrieved from the victim was that of a person with type “O” blood.
Judge Broussard would not allow this scientific evidence into his court room. These facts were kept from the jury, and an innocent man (my brother Clyde) was tried for and convicted of a crime he had not committed.
Now these same facts concerning my blood typing is withheld by Judge David Arceneaux and Assistant District Attorney Mark Rhodes. I have a so called Rhesus (Rh) factor on my red blood cells’ surface. This is also an antigen and those who have it are called “Rhesus positive” (Rh+). My blood type is “O+” or “O positive”. For detailed info on blood types go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_type.
The rapist’s blood type is: “O-” or “O negative”
Clyde Charles’ blood type is: “B+” or “B positive”
Marlo Charles’ blood type is: “O+” or “O positive”
Expert Witness Gina Pineda
Gina Pineda obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree with a concentration in microbiology and chemistry in 1996 from Louisiana State University and a Master of Science Degree in pathology, with a concentration in forensic DNA in 2003 from LSU Medical School in New Orleans. She worked for Reliagene Technologies, a private DNA testing company from 1996 until the end of 2007, when the company was aquired by Orchid-Selmark. She continued to work for Orchid-Selmark as assistant lab director and technical leader.
In an unrelated case, Pineda explains that CODIS is a national database for DNA information, much like the national database for fingerprints. There are three levels of CODIS. The first is the local level, “LDIS”, which can be either the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office (in Marlo’s case) or the State Police crime lab. The next level is “SDIS”, the State DNA Index System, which is where all agencies within one state can compare each other’s DNA profiles, which have been uploaded into the database. The third level, “NDIS”, the National DNA Index System, which is where different states can compare their databases to each other.
CODIS is operated by the FBI under strict rules, for example, the FBI requires identification of ten genetic marker profiles before the information can be uploaded to the national database. However, LDIS is more stringent in that it requires a compliment of thirteen proven genetic markers.
All state agencies can upload a profile to CODIS. The STR test is the conventional, routinely used type of DNA test that involves testing 13 to 15 genetic markers on the non-gender chromosomes.
Note: In Clyde and Marlo Charles’ cases, the tests were performed on five markers only!! Especially Marlo Charles’ conviction based on DNA evidence does not meet the CODIS requirements described by Pineda.
Why do the courts uphold the conviction?
The courts justify the admittance of incomplete DNA evidence. They explain that only five markers of a possible thirteen were identifiable from the sample, but since those five markers were consistent with Marlo’s DNA profile, he could not be excluded as the donor of the sperm. The sperm fraction was allegedly consumed during the DNA test that exonerated Clyde Charles.
Marlo Charles argues that if thirteen markers are used in a forensic setting then thirteen markers should have been used in his case. The State should be held to the highest standards, not the lowest.
The U.S. District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana) acknowledges that “federal courts possess only limited authority to consider state evidentiary determinations in a state prisoner’s habeas proceeding and quotes Burgett v. Texas, 389 U.S. 109, 113-14 (1967). “As long as the evidentiary ruling is in accordance with state law and infringes no right protected under the Constitution, habeas relief is not warranted.”
The court argues that the defense attorney was given full opportunity to cross-examine DNA expert Pineda in order to demonstrate that a greater number of markers matching Marlo’s DNA sample, had that been possible, would have allowed for greater statistical probability and could have excluded Marlo as a donor.
Note: Clyde Charles was excluded as the depositor of the sperm because two of the five markers tested were not consistent with two markers of the sperm fraction! It is possible that Marlo’s remaining eight markers, that could not be tested, would not have been consistent either.
Invalid Forensic Science Testimony and Wrongful Convictions
The Virginia Law Review (Volume 95) published a 97-page study entitled “Invalid Forensic Science Testimony and Wrongful Convictions” by Brandon L. Garrett and Peter J. Neufeld in March of 2009. This study found that in the bulk of the trials of the defendants (later exonerated with the help of the Innocence Project) “forensic analysts called by the prosecution provided invalid testimony at trial – that is, testimony with conclusions misstating empirical data or wholly unsupported by empirical data.”
Garrett and Neufeld observed that “defense counsel rarely cross-examined analysts concerning invalid testimony and rarely obtained experts of their own. In the few cases in which invalid forensic science was challenged, judges seldom provided relief.”
Prosecutor Mark Rhodes improperly amended the indictment, expired the time limitation for commencing a prosecution, violated the Brady doctrine by withholding evidence, and used false evidence and testimony to mislead the jury to find me guilty (2002). Members of my family were not allowed in the courtroom because Assistant D.A. Rhodes had subpoenaed them without ever calling them as State witnesses on the stand.
Assistant D.A. Mark Rhodes provides victim Marsha Domangue Rome Falgout with her testimony concerning the crime scene. Marsha’s written statement (“I didn’t write a statement, but I signed one.”) of 1981:
“He grabbed me around the neck and dragged me out the road onto the shells and on the side of a building. I was fighting him, but I couldn’t get away. He held me down on the ground and pulled my pants and underwear off. He raped me there. (Page 2 of 2, Police Report)
Marsha’s testimony from Clyde’s trial in 1982 (page 241 transcript):
A: “He leaped over and grabbed me around the neck [They have been walking together for 20 to 30 minutes] and was dragging me to the side of the road, the shell part of the road, to the side of the building, and we were fighting and struggling and I was screaming and he was tugging me by the hair, and just not letting me go, and I remember swinging around and just, you know, trying to get away, but I couldn’t, and he brought me to the side, drug me to the side of the building , past the building, where they had these large tanks like, and it wasn’t shell, it was more like rocks on the ground.
(page 242 transcript)
A: There was a lot of light around there, he drug me around the side, you know, the side of the tanks behind the tanks where he raped me.”
Q: “How long did this last?”
Answer: “20 to 30 minutes.” “All I could see clearly was his face.”
Q: “The face of the man that raped you?”
Marsha’s testimony from Marlo’s trial transcript:
A: “He dragged me further around the side of the building and then further by the tanks.”
Q: “Did you see anything?”
A: “Yes, Sir. (page 623, line 13) It was tanks, there was a truck with rocks with pipe on them and a crane. He raped me behind the tanks behind the crane.”
Investigator Jerry Larpenter’s (then Terrebonne Parish’s Sheriff) testimony of the crime scene:
(Marlo’s transcript page 733, line 7)
A: “Due to the darkness, it was probably the darkest night I’ve ever seen, there was no moon out. It was real dark, again, it was kind of an April – I mean a March night, cool but not cold, dry and due to … like I said, due to darkness, we couldn’t …we didn’t have the lighting capacity to go out and search the entire area.”
(page 741, line 28-30, defense attorney Mr. Robert Jenkins, although Larpenter’s testimony contradicts the victim’s…)
“Your Honor, I have no questions of the Sheriff.”
[At Clyde’s trial, Sheriff Jerry Larpenter was the lead investigator. He did not see any of these things. How could Marsha see all these things the night of March 12th, 1981 with all that was happening to her? The grabbing, the dragging, the fighting, the struggling and the tugging. She noticed all these things and could not tell the jury the color of the eyes of her attacker. She did not see all this until the D.A. Mark Rhodes brought Clyde’s transcripts and the photographs of the alleged crime scene to her home for her to review.]
(Page 628, line 25, and again page 646, line 17, Marlo’s transcripts)
Mr. Jenkins/Q: “Did you review the testimonies from 1981?”
A: “Yes, I did.”
[Mark Rhodes pointed this thing out to her and told her that she had to agree to say that this was what she saw and where this alleged rape occurred. She did what she was told to do: “lie”.]
Prosecutor Mark Rhodes’ opening statement to the jury:
“Member of the jury, I cannot prove this case beyond a shadow of doubt nor can I prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.” “I need you all to lower the bar of justice [the standard of law] so that I can prove my [claim] case.”
Assistant District Attorney Mark Rhodes’ responsibility pertaining to law:
The Evidence in Criminal Prosecutions:
L.Ed.2d.560 (1979) in Jackson v. Virginia, supra The United States Supreme Court set out the standard by which appellate courts are to review the sufficiency of the evidence in criminal prosecution. The relevant question is whether after viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution any rational trier of the fact could have found the essential elements of the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
This standard was adopted by Louisiana Supreme Court in State v. Matthews, 375 So.2d 1165 (LA.1979). This court in State v. Dixon, 620 So.2d.904 (LA. App.1st Cir. 1993) stated:
The standard of review for the sufficiency of the evidence to uphold a conviction is whether or not viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, a rational trier of fact could conclude that the state proved the essential elements of the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
In this case, the State did not prove the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
- There was never any evidence to establish that Marlo Charles [me] had anything to do with this crime.
- There was never any evidence to establish that Marlo Charles was ever at the scene of this alleged crime.
- The victim, Marsha D. R. Falgout was unable to identify Marlo Charles as the attacker or the man who raped her.
- The DNA evidence was misleading and inconclusive.
When viewing this evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, a rational trier of fact could not conclude that the state proved the essential elements of crime beyond a reasonable doubt. All this was done by Assistant District Attorney Mark Rhodes to win this case. I think, this man cares nothing about the rights of people and the integrity of law and justice. His only interest may be to improve his conviction record by any means he chooses.
In order for the State to be able to make the claim “once a rapist, always a rapist,” Judge David Arceneaux allowed hearsay into evidence, a mere accusation of rape that I had never been prosecuted for, let alone convicted of. The plaintiff was a former prostitute, drug addict, and felon. She had a history of making such false claims. However, that woman was not put on the stand in my trial and my attorney could not cross-examine her regarding the validity of her accusation.
The Louisiana First Circuit of Appeals Court and the United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana) affirmed the trial court’s decision. Both courts make a mere allegation a fact stating “the other crime involved a 1997 rape or sexual assault which took place in Virginia.” (Also see a friend’s statement in a Daily Press article!)
Conflicts of Interest, or: Who is Who?
Deputy Harold Domangue:
He is the victim’s cousin. He was the on-duty patrol officer and the only person who saw her car off the main highway down a shell road in the woods. At Clyde’s trial, he testified that he had seen him the night in question. He allegedly knew because he was familiar with Clyde and two of his other brothers. The man, Deputy Domangue saw and spoke to prior to the incident was, in fact, Marlo. Deputy Domangue testified that, upon viewing photographs of both brothers, he could not tell them apart.
Also investigator (now long-term sheriff) Jerry Larpenter said in a Daily Press article that both brothers have a “striking resemblance.”
Assistant District Attorney Mark Rhodes:
Both Prosecutor Rhodes and the victim Marsha Domangue attended South Terrebonne High School, Bourg, Louisiana, in the early 1970s. Both graduated in 1972. Local people say that she was a popular girl and that they dated in school. Marsha Domangue was also a guest at Rhodes’ wedding party on June 21, 1975. They (and their spouses) are still friends.
The prosecutor in Clyde Charles’ case was District Attorney Jim Alcock. However, some years later, Assistance D.A. Mark Rhodes became a prosecutor over several of Clyde’s appeals, and eventually he prosecuted Marlo Charles.
Judge David Arceneaux:
He was Marlo Charles’ trial judge. The native of Amarillo, Texas, also attended South Terrebonne High School in the early 1970s and graduated in 1973.
Judge Wilmore Broussard:
He was Clyde Charles’ trial judge. According to local sources, he was a close family friend of the Domangues’.
He was nurse Marsha Domangue’s first husband in 1981 and CEO at South Louisiana Charity Hospital (now Chabert Medical Center).
Two Brothers – Two Different Looks
My brother Clyde and I do not look alike. (See photos above!)
I have a completely different complexion than Clyde.
My eyes are green, and Clyde had brown eyes.
At the time of the alleged rape, Clyde was much heavier than me. He was rounder, and I was taller.
Furthermore, Clyde and I have completely different speech patterns and impediments. Clyde stuttered and had a deeper voice; I have a lisp and a higher-pitched voice.
Clyde and I had spent the day tearing down our aunt’s house that had been destroyed by fire, and we spent the night drinking in bars. Why did the victim not detect the aroma of ash, smoke, or alcohol on Clyde or me, if one of us was her rapist?
How you can help
Share this article and visit the News Forum for updates!
I need a defense attorney, a private investigator, and a forensic DNA-expert. My outside contact is my sister Lois Charles-Hill. She can be contacted at LHill0@hotmail.com, phone (985) 446-8100.
Donations can be made via JPay.com directly into my (Marlo Charles’) inmate account. See the detailed information on the website of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections at http://doc.louisiana.gov/communicate-with-offenderssend-money
These documents are all the material Marlo Charles has pertaining to physical evidence as the DNA testing, the blood typing test and the DNA comparison test.
Police Reports (pdf, 16 pages)
Fingernail Clippings (pdf, 1 page)
Clyde Charles’ Trial
Paternity Test, Blood Evaluation and DNA Tests (pdf, 8 pages)
Crime Labs: Chain of Custody (pdf, 8 pages)
Marsha Domangue Rome’s Identification of Clyde Charles (pdf, 3 pages)
Clyde Charles’ Habeas Corpus Petition (1998)
Expert Testimony (pdf, 2 pages)
Clyde Charles’ Trial
Doctor Torres’ Testimony (pdf, 5 pages)
Marlo Charles’ Trial
Arrest Report, 1 Mio.$ Bail, Not-Guilty Plea, Verdict (pdf, 10 pages)
State of Louisiana v. Clyde Alton Charles
Court of Appeal of Louisiana, First Circuit
511 So.2d 1164 (La. Ct. App. 1987)
Suspect In 1981 Rape Returned To La.
April 11, 2000|By DAVID CHERNICKY Daily Press
DNA Clears Man, Convicts Brother
March 02, 2002|From Associated Press
United States District Court – Eastern District of Louisiana
Marlo Charles v. N. Burl Cain, Warden
No. 06-8108, filed July 13, 2009 (30 pages)