Reviewing the investigation conducted by the police it's quite clear they did an inadequate and sloppy job of collecting evidence and investigating the case. Lead Det. Alan Whitehead testified at trial there was NO physical evidence (i.e. tire molds, fingerprints, footprints, DNA, hair, semen, etc.) connecting Hank to the crime.The police had no physical evidence showing Hank was the perpetrator of this alleged crime and no forensic evidence showing a crime was even committed. Any evidence that could have excluded Hank as the rapist of this alleged crime scene was either ignored, not collected, or the police were unable to obtain test results tying Hank to the crime. All the police had was the statement of a very troubled and scared 12 year old girl, and as powerful as this may seem there are countless cases where young victims, for whatever reasons, have been coerced to lie about the commission of a crime resulting in an innocent person being sent to prison; Hank happens to be one of those innocent victims..
Here are the facts showing how the police "botched" the investigation:
(1) Police said they were unable to obtain any latent fingerprints from the 16 ounce Budweiser beer bottles found at the alleged crime scene because according to them there was moisture on the bottles. Fingerprints and DNA evidence can be lifted from evidence submerged in a dirty river several months after discovery. Was this police deception knowing the jury would never question them when they stated that fingerprints couldn't be lifted off those beer bottles because of moisture? Those beer bottles could not connect Hank to the alleged crime scene nor could they show they were NOT Hark's fingerprints.
(2) Police were unable to obtain any latent fingerprints from the knife found at the alleged crime scene because of moisture. Fingerprints and DNA evidence can be lifted from evidence submerged in a dirty river several months after discovery. Was this police deception because they knew the jury would never question them when they stated that fingerprints couldn't be lifted off the knife because of moisture? That knife could not connect Hank to the alleged crime scene nor could it show they were NOT Hark's fingerprints.
(3) Police did not collect any of the broken glass found at the alleged crime scene from the beer bottle Tanya testified she had used to cut Hank's face. Because this evidence was not collected or tested, it could not connect Hank to the alleged crime scene nor could it show that Hank's DNA and blood was NOT on that broken glass.
(4) Police took no plastic molds of the tire tracks found at the alleged scene because they said the ground was too hard even though this was the middle of July and they had already stated there was moisture on the knife and beer bottles. There were photographs of the tire tracks showing lead investigator Det. Alan Whitehead standing over and pointing at them yet the police never compared them to the tires on Hank's car or if they did they never brought it up at trial. At the trial they couldn't compare the photographs of the tire tracks to Hank's car because his car had been given away by the police before the trial to a person they didn't know where he/she was; even though Det. Whithead stated Hank's car was tagged as evidence. Why would the police give vital evidence away? These tire tracks could not connect Hank's car as being at the alleged crime scene.
(5) Police never contacted drive-in theater management to see if they or anyone had heard or saw anything the night of July 18th when Tanya attempted to escape by running to the front of the screen screaming and yelling for help. Tanya stated the movie theater was closed the night of the alleged crime and that's the reason no one heard her yelling and screaming for help; yet in later testimony Police Officer Pacitti said the movie theater was open that night which was later verified by theater management, and Det. Alan Whitehead who had originally stated the theater was closed only to change his testimony.
(6) Police photographs taken at Hank's arraignment showed no cuts on his face. Nothing entered in the police booking sheet mentioned cuts on Hank’s face and the police stated they saw no cuts or marks on Hank's face. There were no cuts or marks on Hank that would validate Tanya’s testimony that she cut Hank when she threw a beer bottle at him. Didn't anyone find this strange?
(7) Police never produced any reports or evidence of the testing of the bathing suit Tanya was wearing during the alleged crime, nor any results of the rape examination done on Tanya by nurses at the hospital after the alleged crime. What were the results of the testing done on the bathing suit? What were the results of the examination done on Tanya; did it show she was raped? Was there any reports written? If reports were written why weren't’ they presented as evidence at the trial? Why wasn't’ the nurse and others doing the examination on Tanya called to testify? Why didn't Hank's lawyer demand to see these results? There was NO evidence presented showing Tanya was raped, only her testimony that she was.
(8) There was no evidence presented by the police showing the blood test performed on Tanya. Remember Tanya testified that Hank forced her to drink two sixteen ounces of Budweiser beer. Were the police concerned that there was no alcohol found in Tanya's blood just a few short hours after the alleged rape?
(9) Police stated they checked on numerous residences at Belmont and Eldridge Ave. at all times during the day and night of July 19 - 21 claiming they couldn't locate Hank; yet Daniel Mastroianni, a friend of Tanya's father driving around in his taxi cab was able to locate Hank and his car on his first try on July 21st? In addition Tanya's next door neighbor Roger Frappier stated he saw Hank at Tanya's house on Monday, July 19, 1982 at 2:30 PM and again on Wednesday July 21st at approximately 10:30 AM talking to Tanya and Michelle. Just how hard were the police trying to locate Hank? Were they trying to infer Hank couldn’t be found because he fled the area so as not to be apprehended and appear guilty?
(10) Tanya stated in her testimony that after the rape Hank and she went to a McDonald's drive-in restaurant for breakfast on the morning of July 19th. Yet the police never checked with the McDonald's waitress to verify that Hank and Tanya were there at the time Tanya stated they were. Wouldn't that waitress have remembered Hank's and Tanya's physical appearance? Were the police so convinced of Tanya's story, in spite of the lack of physical evidence that they didn't feel the need to validate her story?
(11) The police never checked with the clerk at the Citgo store where Tanya had testified that after breakfast she went to get the key to the restroom. Surely that clerk would have remembered Tanya who would have been filthy dirty and smelling of booze and urine. Would Hank have ever let her out of the car under those circumstances?
(12) On Monday, July 9, 1982 Det. James Pacitti took a written police report from Michelle Bushey, who stated that Tanya called her that morning from a phone booth. End of Statement! Why didn't Pacitti question Michelle further? Remember that Tanya was a twelve year old girl that had been reported as never having arrived at home all night. Why didn't Pacitti ask Michelle what phone booth Tanya had called from, where she was and what Tanya talked about with Michelle? Did Tanya tell Michelle that Hank had kidnapped and raped her? Why wouldn't Tanya have called 911 or her mother? Did Pacitti already know where Tanya was and that's why he didn't pursue any of these important questions with Michelle?