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Lethal Confession

"All the makings of a John Grisham bestseller: There are shadowy characters, official cover-ups, perjury, drugs, insanity, mysteriously disappearing police files, a wrongly accused man, and loads of corrupt cops, bumbling defense attorneys, and arrogant, God-fearing prosecutors."   Killing Time: Tennessee prepares for its first executions in four decades  by Jeff Woods September 23, 1999 - Nashville Scene cover story


Research of a crime

Cary Ann MedlinCary Ann MedlinCary Ann MedlinCary Ann MedlinVolunteers search for Cary Ann MedlinCrime Scene Location

Thirty years ago, Labor Day Weekend 1979, eight-year-old Cary Ann Medlin was abducted near her home in west Tennessee.  Robert Glen Coe, after giving a Lethal Confession, was arrested, convicted, sentenced to die, and executed. But,  that's where the story begins. The confession was the only evidence the state had against Coe.

The case of Cary Ann Medlin is as unthinkably horrendous as any crime can be. It’s as atrocious a crime as any person can imagine, stemming from the fact that it was the totally uncalled-for death of an eight-year-old child. But, the cruelty continues with twenty years of waiting, no closure in sight. The victim’s family unremittingly pleading for justice, while the family of the condemned begs to save his life. Even as, the true killer walks free.

All physical evidence reported in this case points to one man. Not Robert Glen Coe, but another man. Details of the criminal evidence presented to and withheld from jurors, along with important facts not allowed by the courts and overlooked by the public are all established in this writing. The only evidence implicating Robert was his confession; a confession containing information attainable from media outlets in a highly publicized crime; a confession, which proves to be inaccurate with police details; a Lethal Confession, obtained from a medically diagnosed and legally certified mentally ill man.


Robert Glen CoeRobert Glen Coe Mug ShotRobert Coe's gray-silver car with brown vinyl topJudge orders Coe gagged in courtCoe gagged during Mental Competency Hearing

The photograph of [Robert] at age seven (left), smiling in what appears to be a class photo from Gleason Elementary School. It's believed [that] Coe’s maturity hadn’t grown much since that photograph was taken. He was believed to be the most hated person in Tennessee. The press didn’t help much, always referring to him as “convicted child-killer" Robert Glen Coe. As if child-killer was part of his name. Robert was nothing more than a misguided boy in a man’s body. The public didn’t appear to know much about Coe’s mental history, his wrenching childhood or evidence that could cast doubt on his guilt.

Most Tennesseans have never even heard of Donald Gant, the Greenfield man, reported as the number-one suspect by criminal investigators in 1979, questioned shortly after the crime and identified in a lineup by three eyewitnesses, Cary Ann’s brother and grandmother and a man who had known Gant for years—also identified Gant as the person he saw in the car with Cary Ann. Most didn’t know that police found scratches on Gant’s neck—and bloody sheets and clothing in his home—what one might expect following the rape and stabbing of a young girl. That Gant had a history of making inappropriate advances to young girls. Gant kept changing his alibi about what he did the night of the crime. Gant’s car matches the car used in the abduction. Tire tracks at the muddy scene where the body was found, are consistent with tires on Gant’s car. In contrast to this evidence implicating Gant, there was no evidence in Robert Coe’s car of any sexual assault.

Authorities said Gant’s alibi was questionable and since no murder weapon was found, he was released.

Robert’s jury hadn’t heard about any of this evidence including the bloody sheets and clothing—evidence now unavailable. Evidence—critical to proving Gant’s guilt—was either lost or destroyed by state agents sometime after Robert’s confession.

Data collected through a triangulation of public documentation in the life of Robert Glen Coe presents an in-depth explanation of the truth in his case. Thousands of pages of data for this sociobiography has been collected from: news media, newspaper articles, letters to the editor, editorials, and online discussion forums from sources such as the Dresden Enterprise, Jackson Sun, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Nashville Banner, Tennessean, and the Union City Daily Messenger; court transcripts, legal papers and documents; Tennessee statues and case law; United States code and case law; and United States Constitutional law. Coe case data covers the twenty-one-year period of just prior the Medlin abduction through October 2000.

To be continued:

Lethal Confession

André Trivette with Mike Farrell and James CromwellJames Cromwell and Mike at a Death Penalty Protest in 2004

We here at The Death Penalty Research Center have relocated the West Coast. Along with the 2400 mile move, issues of a death in the family,  a new job, and finishing up on my graduate degree, I have been helping my dad with his music ventures. So from the bottom of my heart, I apologize for the lapse in death penalty research from us. I sincerely hope to get more updated information on this website in the near future. In the meantime, checkout information on Reports and on the links page.

Thank you for your continued interest and support,

André Trivette


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