Winning with the Waters

Haley Medeiros, Investigative Reporter

How legal is the legal system? In 1983, a corrupt police department in Ayer, Massachusetts threatened and manipulated Kenny Waters’ two ex-girlfriends in order to convict him of the vicious murder of Katarina Brow. Waters’ sister, Betty Anne, worked tirelessly to free her innocent brother-over a period of eighteen years.

At the time of Kenny’s conviction, Betty Anne was a waitress with two children and a GED. Determined to free her brother and unable to afford a costly lawyer, Betty Anne enrolled in Rhode Island Community College and eventually passed the bar exam, all with the purpose of freeing her brother. Betty Anne collaborated with the Innocence Project, founded in 1992, to appeal directly to Martha Coakley, of the District Attorney’s office. Eventually, new DNA testing proved that Kenny was innocent and he was released from prison in 2001.

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Sergeant Nancy Taylor commanded the fabrication to incriminate Kenny. Her actions included threatening his ex-wife, Brenda, into inventing the lie that Kenny had readily admitted the murder to her. According to the National Institute of Justice, it is believed that 10 percent of America’s two million prisoners may have been wrongfully convicted. To date, there have been 259 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the US, including 17 people who served time on death row. If Massachusetts had the death penalty, Kenneth Waters would have been dead long before DNA testing was invented.

The Waters case is a glimmer of hope in a demoralizing area. It causes us to question the American legal system and everything it stands for. How far will desperate police officers go to secure a conviction? Seargant Nancy Taylor was never convicted of any crime because of the Massachusetts Statue of Limitations and Katharina Brow’s murder has never been solved.