The Wrongful Conviction of David Thorne
Help free a man falsely accused and wrongfully convicted
Advocates for Wrongfully Convicted
Case Summary

It is unknown exactly when Yvonne Layne was murdered, however it was sometime during the evening/early morning of March 31 – April 1, 1999.  Yvonne’s own mother, Tawnia Layne, found her daughter in a pool of blood when she went to the residence on the morning of April 1st to pick up one of her grandkids for school.  When the police arrived on the scene, they quickly ruled the death a homicide, due to the blood spatter locations. In addition, the immediate area surrounding the body was in disarray, a dresser, television and several other items lay on top of and around the body.  The immediate investigation of the crime scene was poorly performed and evidence was mishandled.  Despite a valid lead by a neighbor, the Alliance Police Department set their sights on one man, the father of Yvonne’s 2 year old son, David Thorne.  David was willing to help the police in any way he could, however, his grandfather had contacted an attorney upon learning David was asked to go to the station to be questioned and the attorney faxed a letter to the police department stating that David was not to speak with the police without being granted immunity.  Although David had no personal knowledge of this attorney’s letter or a request for immunity, this fact alone made David the number one suspect in the eyes of the police.  After an investigation into David’s life and his vehicle turned up nothing, the police needed more, which is exactly what they got from conflicting statements from two individuals who claim to have seen Joe Wilkes on the evening of March 31, 1999.  Once the police had Joe Wilkes in the interrogation room, it was game over for David Thorne.  Joe was barely 18 years old and a high school drop out.  He confessed to murdering Yvonne Layne and being hired by David to do it.  Joe took a plea deal in order to receive life in prison instead of the death penalty and in turn was the star witness against David in his trial.  Was it really that simple?  Or is there more to this story and did the police zero in on a suspect too soon?