- Prosecutors and law enforcement strive for a confession in murder cases. The new original series Criminal Confessions looks into the fascinating world of crime confessions. The series, which debuts Sunday, October 1 at 7pm ET/PT, follows actual police interrogation techniques between real investigators and suspects. But confessions aren't always necessary to punish a crime. These five murderers were convicted but refused to confess.
Scott Peterson is on death row for one of the most high-profile murders in recent time. He was convicted in the disappearance and death of his wife Laci, who was eight months pregnant with son Connor, back in 2002. Her body washed up in the San Francisco Bay and details of Peterson's sordid affair surfaced. Law enforcement to this day believes that he was involved, citing his strange behavior at the time of crime. He was found guilty in 2004 and given the death sentence but he has maintained his innocence.
The case of Adnan Syed took over the world in the podcast Serial. The teen was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Hae Min Lee their senior year but never confessed to the crime. With the immense popularity of Serial, Syed's case was re-examined by legal experts who poked holes in the original case, including a never-before-heard alibi. 15 years later, Syed may have a second chance at freedom.
Just like Serial, Netflix's Making a Murderer brought to light the conviction of Steven Avery. The 2015 docuseries probed the innocence of Avery, something he has maintained, in the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. Millions watched and discussed the possibility of Avery (and his nephew) being set up, framed and convicted by a crooked sheriff's department. Avery was sentenced to life in prison and has appealed that ruling.
The sports world was shocked when former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of first-degree murder. The New England Patriots player, worth millions at one point, was convicted in 2015 of killing friend Odin Lloyd. An accomplice claimed that Hernandez confessed that he fired the shots that killed Lloyd. Hernandez, Lloyd, the accomplice and another man were believed to be in the same car at the time of the incident. The athlete never officially confessed. He committed suicide earlier this year while incarcerated.
Not all convictions need to be high-profile. Every year, the Innocence Project takes on cases of those that feel they were convicted unfairly. Lamar Johnson never confessed to murder because he never committed the crime. 13 years ago, he was convicted of the first-degree murder of 31-year-old Carlos Sawyer of Baltimore. The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project spent years re-examining Johnson's case. Ultimately, they found three new witnesses that swore Johnson wans't the gun man. After two failed appeals attempts, he was released this month. "First I want to thank God for blessing me with my freedom, then I want to thank my mother for always having my back and believing in my innocence," the 34-year-old said after being released. "Then I would like to thank the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project for believing in my innocence and taking my case."
[Photo: Oxygen, Netflix, Getty Images]