BENJAMIN ALDRIDGE - LWOP NORTH CAROLINA
 
 October 10, 2002

Benjamin Aldridge
P.O. box 786
Troy, NC 27371

Dear Mrs. Swiney,

Just a letter to say hello and to let you know that I got the information that you sent me about P.A.T.R.I.C.K.

Let me tell you a little bit about my case.  I was charged and convicted of the first degree murder of my wife, "Gwendolyn Connor Aldridge."  This is a crime that I did not do, a crime that I am completely innocent of, but here I am in prison serving a life sentence without parole.

This murder happened on May 17th 1997 at approximately 4:30 a.m.  I was in my bedroom asleep when I was awakened by a scream from the direction of my wife's bedroom.  When I first heard this scream I thought I was dreaming but then I heard someone running down the hallway past my bedroom door toward the direction of the kitchen.  I got out of my bed, opened the bedroom door and followed the direction I thought the footsteps had taken.  I went into the living room then into the kitchen but saw no one in these rooms.  I then ran to my wife's bedroom and turned on the light and found her slumped over the bed with her knees on the floor.

I immediately cradled her in my arms, and then I laid her down on the floor and dialed 911.

ABOUT THE INVESTIGATION:

The medical examiner took clipping and scrapings from my wife's fingernails, but for some reason they ere never examined by the SBI Laboratory.  Two kitchen knives seized the night of the crime were not analyzed for fingerprints until some ten months later, after having been kept in conditions unknown to the examiner who could find no latent prints on them at that time, although the SBI agent at the scene noted that the knives appeared then to have "blood, tissue, hair ad fiber" on the blades, no analysis of these tings was performed.  The bedding and covers that were seized by the officers had numerous hairs and fibers on them, but these were never examined and remained on the bed covers even at trial.  Other hairs visible on her hand in SBI photographs were not collected for examination, nor was a piece of debris that was visible in the photographs adhering between her fingers.

AT THE TRIAL:

One of the jurors told her mother-in-law that she thought the defendant was guilty just by the look on his face.  This was brought to the court's attention, but nothing was ever done about this juror's conduct even though she was told by the judge not to talk about the trial.

I have no one to turn to for help, the only persons I have contact with on the outside is my sister and brother.  Any help that you could give me to help prove my innocence would be very much appreciated, and I would forever be in your debt.

Thank you very much for reading this and listening to me.

Sincerely,
Benjamin Aldridge


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