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Innocent Woman Sent To Prison For Life

Abused woman convicted of crime committed by her abuser

Too much trust placed in attorney

My name is Byron Cullen, a 27 year old software developer. I am writing on behalf of my 23 year fiancee, Darcy Morrison. She was convicted of Felony Murder on March 10th, 1998 and sentenced to life in prison the next day. She was charged with 1st Degree Murder, False Imprisonment, Assault, and Conspiracy. She was convicted of False Imprisonment and since that resulted in a death she was given Felony Murder. She was found not guilty of conspiracy and assault.

The murder took place about 5 years ago, her boyfriend and another man killed a young man in cold blood and she was there. She didn't come forward and stayed with him until the arrest a year later. She stayed on house arrest for 4 years. Her trial took 8 business days including jury selection, deliberation and sentencing.

Of course the case is complex and a lot of information is involved. She was not properly represented, in my opinion. Mostly based on the fact that her high-priced, high-powered lawyers didn't want her on the stand and didn't even mention the physical and mental abuse this 17 year old girl was going through. As an example, her lawyers never (to my knowledge) talked to her about what did happen that night. Not once. They talked to her about testifying at her trial AFTER the prosecution rested and advised her not to testify. I think the 2 years they were our lawyers gave them enough time talk to Darcy a little more about getting on the stand. They told her that the abused woman defense never worked and they didn't want to try. I will admit that they did a good job with the technical case. The prosecution witnesses were unbelieveable and contradictary with the physical evidence. But they were too confident of themselves and now this girl is in prison for the rest of her life. They didn't give her the chance to get on the stand and tell the jury that she HAD to go everywhere with her boyfriend. She didn't have the chance to tell the jury that she was afraid for her own life. That monster handcuffed her to the fridge for looking for food. He had a bad party one night and decided he was going to kill himself and instead shot at Darcy in the bed.

I have known this loving woman for 3 years. We have talked about the incident many, many times. I know what happened that night. Although she made some bad choices by not coming forward, she doesn't deserve life in prison. She did not kill anyone. She was nothing more than an unwilling and scared witness to the crime.

I never believed in therapy. It was for weak people. I had cancer when I was 18 among other things that people would consider "hard" to go through, but I could handle it myself. I was wrong. She has seen a therapist for the 4 years she was on house arrest and I watched her go through the healing process. She was a scared 17 year old girl at the time of the murder, but she is a stronger woman now trying to heal some horrible wounds. The time we have spent together has been very difficult. She couldn't leave her parents house and keeping a 3 year relationship with the trial over our heads was a challenge. Her understanding and loving has made a much much better person out of me as well.

I couldn't understand why she would stay with this guy after all of this. It just made no sense to me. Until we started talking about it. I even went to her therapist with her and I now realize that many women are abused like that every day and refuse to come forward. They think they can do no better and even resign to the fact that "that's just how love is".

Although we have had this trial hanging over us, I was confident. Because I believe in Darcy with all my heart and soul. I am an intelligent person and wouldn't have gotten involved if I had the slightest doubt what she told me. She was cautious and scared. She was hoping for the best but expecting the worst. However she really felt like the jury would come up not guilty after the DA rested their case.

I was not allowed to attend the trial. Even though she wanted me there so bad her lawyers did not. They even made me sit behind the victims family on the DA's side during the verdict.

Darcy gave total trust to these lawyers. Darcy's mom thinks they did everything they could have and does everything they say. They didn't ask for a retrial. They are going ahead with the appeal. They say nothing can be done and she will be in prison for a couple of years waiting for the appeal. According to Darcy's mom the appeal is the only option. They also said not to "write letters" or make any efforts to bring this to anyones attention. Well it's not the only option. I have talked to other lawyers and know there are many other options. Unfortunatly her parents can't afford another lawyer after the $40,000 for these ones and a new lawyer would be about the same amount. I have a decent but shaky job and am trying to retain a lawyer to go talk to Darcy about other options. We had planned on getting married but didn't want to risk getting her house arrest revoked. Had we planned more for this to happen, we would have been married already so I would have more rights with her lawyers and the prison.

Her lawyers told Darcy not to mention the case, the trial, or the appeal on the phone or in letters. So she won't talk about it with me. She wants to do what her lawyers say. I can't tell her about these options. I won't be able to visit her for another month and I know some things that we could do are very time sensitive.

I believe in Darcy. I know I have found my soul mate after years of searching. I love her with everything that I am. I know she is innocent. I know she can be helped. She is the most kind hearted, loving soul I have ever known and she loves me more than anything.

The arrest saved her life by getting her away from that monster and allowing her to start the healing process. Now that she is a whole person again, the mistakes and bad judgement of a few people have condemmed her to life in prison. That means 30 years here in New Mexico - no parole.

I have been a wrecked man since the verdict. Not getting to go to the trial to support Darcy was torment. In my prayers asking for comfort and hope, I also asked for guidance. I don't know if it is what the good Lord wants, but my mind and my heart tell me that I need stand behind Darcy and help her all I can. Darcy needs to know that there are other options, and just because lawyers have great reputations and a huge price tag doesn't mean they don't make horrible choices. God have mercy on her loving soul.

I can't eat, I can't sleep much. Cancer couldn't keep me down. I was a passenger in car wreck that killed my friend and I had a scratch on my leg and worked through that. I am a broken man now. I have cried myself to sleep every night since the verdict. My heart and soul is screaming injustice. Every fiber in my being tells me that she does not deserve this. My love for her is endless, as is hers for me. I will stand by her side for however long it takes. My prayers include the victim and his family. It was a senseless crime. Life in prison for an innocent woman seems to be legal however. She is a 5'4", 110 lb, loving, caring, wonderfully intelligent girl with no street smarts to survive in prison. Not a murderer.

Her mother and I are not on good terms right now. I am trying to reach out to her and make things right. Darcy needs her mother and I working together. Unfortunatly she believes these lawyers did all they could. I feel so helpless. Finding comfort and hope in the Lord is the only thing that has kept me from going over the edge.

I'm not sure what I am asking for from you. After the verdict, I found the Brandon Hein web page and read about the injustices they had to endure. I know there are people out there who will listen. I want to be able to help Darcy, Brandon and others like them. Unlike Brandon's case, the facts are not clear and certainly were not clear to the jury.

I don't know what to do next. I can only pray for her well being and guideance. But something must be done. Please help me help Darcy.

Thank you for listening and God Bless,
Byron Thomas Cullen

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