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On April Fools Day 1999, 26-year-old Yvonne Layne was found murdered in her Ohio home. David Thorne, her ex-boyfriend and father of one of her children, was instantly a suspect. David had a solid alibi, but then the police found Joe Wilkes, who confessed to the murder and said David had hired him to do it. Despite no evidence other than Joe’s confession, David was sentenced to life without parole for the murder of Yvonne even though the entire investigation may have been botched, or even possibly covered up. Now, after David has been in prison for over 20 years, host Maggie Freleng investigates Yvonne’s murder alongside Jason Baldwin (himself wrongfully convicted as a member of the West Memphis Three) and his organization Proclaim Justice. Is David actually innocent? And if so, who did kill Yvonne Layne?

Maggie Freelang


Maggie Freleng is an investigative journalist focusing on criminal justice and wrongful convictions. She is the host and producer of "Suave" on PRX about juvenile lifers and was formerly a public radio producer at WYNC and Producer-at-Large for NPR’s Latino USA. She is an Adjunct Professor at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. She was an NPR Next Generation Radio fellow, mentor and one of the 2019 Ford Foundation’s “50 Women Can Change the World in Journalism” fellow. Maggie was also a TV documentary host for VICE and Oxygen’s “The Disappearance of Maura Murray.” Her work has been featured in the LA Times, Democracy Now!, MSNBC, People, HLN, WNYC, NPR’s Code Switch, NBC New York, WHYY, Dr. OZ, Boston Globe, and The Huffington Post.

proclaim justice

Dedicated to winning freedom for victims of wrongful conviction, Proclaim Justice is partnering with Maggie Freleng on this investigation. As one of the West Memphis 3, Jason Baldwin spent 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. John Hardin, who has years of experience in public affairs communications, played an important role in bringing media and public attention to the WM3 case. After Jason’s release, they began planning how they could most effectively advocate for other victims of wrongful conviction. Proclaim Justice is the result of those dreams and conversations.

David Thorne's case was first profiled by Maggie Freleng as part of Season 1 of Unjust & Unsolved, a podcast that tells the stories of persons who we believe have been wrongfully convicted of crimes they didn't commit. Learn more about all their stories and listen to Unjust & Unsolved.

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