Ken Marsh was convicted in 1983 of killing his girlfriend’s toddler son in San Diego, despite Marsh’s contention that the boy fell and hit his head. For two decades he fought to prove his innocence. The Los Angeles Times tells the story of his exoneration.
Marsh, sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for second-degree murder, contended that he was caught up in the child abuse witch hunt of the 1980s, a time when child abuse investigations were escalating nationally, when doctors and prosecutors newly alerted to the danger searched for its signs, and when the media grabbed the issue and the sensational cases it produced. The McMartin Pre-School child sex abuse scandal would explode only months later in California. In 2004, the state admitted it made a mistake in prosecuting Marsh. He was freed. This year, the state victims compensation board found Marsh innocent and awarded him a record $756,900 for the 21 years he spent behind bars.