NY HEIDI ALLEN: Missing from New Haven, NY - 3 April 1994 - Age 18


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Transcript of the phone call between Tonya Preist and Jennifer Wescott.

Priest: But he [Steen] just told me that him, [Steen],Michael Bohrer and uh Roger had taken uh Mike’s van to the store and that they grabbed her from the store and they brought her to your house and um he said that you did flip out when you guys got there and uh you know I stuck up for you and I don’t blame you for flipping out uh and basically that’s what he had said had happened.

Wescott : Um uh.

Priest: That it’s not your fault you know so I knew a long time ago - I just didn’t want you to think that I thought . . .

Wescott: Right.

Priest: Think less of you.

Wescott: No, I um, I really in my own head dropped that ****. Priest: Right.Wescott: I don’t know . . probably about ten years ago.Priest: Yeah.Wescott: But it took me a while to get it gone.

Priest: How the hell, why did they even involve you, or even do this?

Wescott: I don’t know.

Priest: I mean, you were young.Wescott: All I know is yeah that and the cocaine.Priest: It was for cocaine - yeah sounds like the area. I don’t know kiddo - I love you and I’m sorry that happened to you.

Wescott: Yeah.

Priest: Roger put you through a lot and there is no reason for it Jennifer. You are a good girl.

Wescott: Well, maybe that is why he is sitting in Elmira where he needs to be right now.

Priest: I agree with you 100 percent - what the heck happened with you and Bruce - I thought things were great with you two?

Wescott: Uh no, things were never really good for us.

Priest: Oh really.

Wescott: Yeah, he was arrested multiple times for beating on my kids.

Priest: Oh, I didn’t know that. Wescott: He never beat on me, he beat on the kids, Jacob and Christian. I just had it - I hadn’t wanted him for like three years.

Priest: Right. Did you even know that ....this was Heidi that they brought there and that this is what they were going to do?

Wescott: Nah, uh
Priest: Had no clue, they just showed up with her?

Wescott: Yeah.Priest: What a bad position for you - probably scared the **** out of you?

Wescott: Well it’s not even - they didn’t even bring her in the house, they made her sit in the van.

1592548660764.png Tonya Priest

1592548713957.png Jennifer Wescott.


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Jennifer Wescott claims she lied about Heidi Allen kidnapping in secretly recorded phone call

Updated Mar 22, 2019; Posted Feb 06, 2015

OSWEGO, N.Y. -- Jennifer Wescott explained today why she chose to lie to a friend in a private phone conversation about knowing what happened to 1994 kidnapping victim Heidi Allen.

The friend, Tonya Priest, wanted to be the center of attention, Wescott explained.

"Would you agree you made statements that seemed to indicate you knew about Heidi Allen?" Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes asked. Wescott agreed that she did.

Tonya makes reference to Heidi Allen and the van, and you respond 'uh-huh' or 'yeah,'" Oakes said. He asked Wescott to explain why.

Wescott, who often appeared uncomfortable and annoyed on the witness stand, paused for about 10 seconds.

"I lied to her," she finally testified. "I always gave her the attention. She wanted attention. I was following what she was saying. She always wanted to be the center of attention."

Wescott did not explain how lying in the phone call would put Priest at the center of attention. She said she didn't know what Priest was talking about when Priest first brought up the Allen case in the phone call in March 2013.

Wescott, 38, testified for about two hours. She was the last of 27 witnesses called by lawyers for Gary Thibodeau, the only person convicted of the kidnapping and presumed killing of Allen, 18, on Easter morning in 1994.
The hearing is to determine whether his 1995 kidnapping conviction should be overturned based on newly discovered evidence. Wescott's remarks in the secretly recorded call are among the keys to the case.

In the phone call, Wescott volunteered that Roger Breckenridge, James Steen and Michael Bohrer brought the kidnapped Allen to her home, but kept her outside in a van.

But today, Wescott testified that if she had information about Allen's kidnapping, she would tell police. She cited the fact that she's a mother herself and would want to know.

When she gave that answer, Thibodeau, who has been in prison for two decades, threw his head back and laughed at the defense table.

His lawyer, Lisa Peebles, tried to ask Wescott whether she was afraid of Breckenridge, an ex-boyfriend she implicated in the phone call. Oakes objected and Judge Daniel King agreed that the question was off-limits.

Peebles told the judge she wanted to show that Breckenridge was violent -- that he'd come at Wescott with an ax, tried to "choke her out," and sent a threat to Wescott through his sister to shut up about the Allen case.

Wescott said she didn't start her relationship with Breckenridge until 1995 -- long after Allen's kidnapping. But in her statement to a sheriff's investigator in 2013, she said she and Breckenridge had Easter dinner together on the day of the kidnapping.

She testified that she frequently babysat for Breckenridge's five kids, and that he and his wife Tracy would often pay her with cocaine.

On her 18th birthday, Wescott snorted an eighth of an ounce of cocaine and had sex with Breckenridge for the first time, at the invitation of his wife, she said.

Wescott denied sending a Facebook message to a friend in June saying "I don't want to be the next one dead in a box in the woods." She claimed someone else must've sent it from her computer.

She also denied sending a Facebook message telling a friend to not tell anyone she ever lived on Rice Road.

She claims a text message she wrote about signing a false statement was not about the Allen case, but about a criminal conviction against her in 2008 -- even though the text conversation was about her involvement in the Allen case.

Allen, 18, was kidnapped from a convenience store in New Haven, where she worked. She is presumed to have been killed. Her body has never been found.


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Attorney: Heidi Allen's bracelet was mysteriously returned to family member 10 years later
by Alex Dunbar
Wednesday, September 9th 2015

In a new court filing, Gary Thibodeau's attorney says one of Heidi Allen's cousins found a bracelet she had given Heidi in her mailbox ten years after Allen disappeared on Easter Sunday 1994. Gary Thibodeau is appealing his kidnapping conviction. His brother Richard was acquitted by a separate jury.

Peebles asked the judge overseeing Thibodeau's appeal hearing to allow her to call Melissa Searles as a witness. Peebles says Searles gave Heidi Allen a bracelet that had Allen's name engraved on it and "love missy." Missy is Melissa Searles nickname. In Peebles motion, she says Michael Bohrer had approached Searles and her sister shortly after Allen disappeared to ask about the case. Searles said Bohrer was also present when she and her sister talked about the bracelet she had given to Allen including "questioning whether Allen was wearing the bracelet she had given her on the day she was abducted."

Thibodeau attorney Lisa Peebles says Searles contacted her after reading a defense motion that contained handwritten notes by new suspect Michael Bohrer.

Bohrer testified that the notes reference a meeting he had with a psychic about Heidi Allen's disappearance. In the notes, Bohrer references "three men and a women (sp) holding her feet and beating her." Later in his notes, Bohrer says the psychic "believes Heidi hid something there."

Bohrer's disorganized notes on the meeting with the psychic later say "Heidi hide a bracelet behind the seat of the vehicle real good" and "Heidi hid something wherever she was held and everybody in her family would know it was hers."

In the court filing, Peebles says Searles "discovered a white envelope containing this bracelet in her mailbox some ten years after Allen was abducted." Peebles says Searles never notified law enforcement about it and never told anyone else.

During a 2013 interview with Oswego County Sheriff's investigators, Bohrer suggested that Gary Thibodeau or his wife Sharon had mailed jewelry to Allen's parents to get a reaction from them. Gary Thibodeau has been in prison since June 1995 and Sharon Thibodeau died in 1997.

Gary Thibodeau's attorneys say new witnesses and evidence have identified other suspects including Bohrer. On a secretly recorded phone call, Jennifer Wescott said her ex-boyfriend, another man and Bohrer brought Heidi Allen to her home in a van after kidnapping her. In the 1980's, Bohrer pled guilty to two attempted kidnappings in the Milwaukee area. He was also a suspect in a violent attack on a young woman living in a house he owned in Beacon, New York. During his testimony at Thibodeau's appeal hearing, Bohrer denied being involved with Allen's disappearance.


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Cousin of 1994 kidnapping victim Heidi Allen explains silence over mysteriously returned bracelet
By John O'Brien | jobrien@syracuse.com

This is the gold bracelet that Melissa Adams says she gave to her cousin, Heidi Allen, as a graduation gift sometime before Allen was kidnapped in 1994. Allen's body has never been found. Adams says the bracelet mysteriously appeared in her mailbox sometime after 2008.

OSWEGO, N.Y. - A cousin of 1994 kidnapping victim Heidi Allen kept quiet for years about the mysterious return of a bracelet she'd given Allen because she didn't want to upset her relatives, she said in a new court filing.

The cousin, Melissa Adams, says a gold bracelet she gave Allen more than 21 years ago inexplicably appeared in Adams' mailbox sometime after 2008 -- at least 14 years after Allen was kidnapped from a New Haven convenience store.

A lawyer for Gary Thibodeau, the only person convicted in Allen's abduction and presumed slaying, cited the bracelet two weeks ago as possible evidence that someone else committed the crime.

Adams, whose maiden name is Searles, never told police or her family about finding the bracelet in a plain white envelope in her mailbox.

She was worried about her family's reaction "because it was so many years later and they were convinced the Thibodeaus were guilty and Gary was already in prison and Richard had been acquitted," Adams said in the affidavit.

Sisters Shawnacy and Melissa Searles, cousins of 1994 kidnapping victim Heidi Allen, stand together as reporters question New York State Police officials about progress in the search for kidnapping victim Sara Anne Wood in this 1994 file photo. Melissa Searles Adams told authorities this month that a bracelet owned by Heidi Allen mysteriously showed up in her mailbox at least 14 years after Allen was abducted.

Adams also cited the fact that she didn't know who'd put the bracelet in her mailbox. And she didn't think Oswego County sheriff's investigators would have done anything, she said.

"I was fairly certain that the sheriff's department would simply take the bracelet and not do any followup investigation because I never felt as though they listened to anything I had to say during the initial stages of the investigation," her affidavit said. "I was very close with Heidi and the bracelet was very special to me."

Adams said she wouldn't have come forward if she hadn't seen the notes of a new possible suspect, Michael Bohrer, posted in July with a story on Syracuse.com. Bohrer's notes say a psychic told Bohrer that Allen had hidden a bracelet in the vehicle she was kidnapped in.

Adams contacted Thibodeau's lawyer, Lisa Peebles, about the bracelet after reading Bohrer's notes on Syracuse.com, Adams wrote.

"I was very upset after I read Bohrer's notes because years after my cousin was kidnapped, the ID bracelet I bought her for a graduation gift was left in my mailbox in a plain white envelope," the affidavit said.

The gold bracelet had "Heidi" on one side and "Love Missy" on the other.

It's unknown whether Allen was wearing the bracelet when she was kidnapped.

Bohrer has denied any involvement in the crime and has not been charged. Neither he nor his lawyer responded to requests for interviews.

Adams had refused to sign an affidavit until last week. It was filed with Oswego County Court this week. She initially didn't want to provide an affidavit "for the exact same reasons I never came forward when the bracelet showed up in my mailbox," she wrote.

Adams mentioned the missing bracelet in 1994 to her sister at a bar while Bohrer was listening, her affidavit said. Adams' sister Shawnacy Searles was bar-tending there, Adams said.

Adams and her sister were "very close with" Allen before the kidnapping, Adams said in the affidavit.

Adams told her sister she wondered whether Allen was wearing the bracelet when she was abducted, the affidavit said. Shawnacy Searles died in a motorcycle crash a year later.

Bohrer approached Adams in the bar parking lot many months after the kidnapping, Adams wrote. She didn't know who he was, she said.

"I just remembered some creepy guy who kept inserting himself in my path and lurking around the bar where Shawnacy was bartending, " Adams wrote.

Bohrer wrote notes on the case after he became a self-appointed investigator into the kidnapping, he has testified. He has said he became obsessed with the case.

Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes could not be reached for comment about Adams' affidavit.

Adams' family has stopped speaking to her since her revelations about the bracelet became public two weeks ago, she wrote. The relatives are "very upset," she said.

"I do not have an opinion about the Thibodeaus, but I decided to come forward regardless of the consequences and provide a statement because I am interested in seeking justice for my cousin," Adams wrote.

Her revelation about the bracelet was the first time anyone in Allen's family has offered evidence that could help overturn Thibodeau's conviction.

Allen, 18, was kidnapped Easter morning 1994 while working at the D&W convenience store and has never been found. Thibodeau, 61, is serving 25 years to life in prison for kidnapping.

Bohrer mentioned jewelry when sheriff's investigators interviewed him two years ago. He told the investigators he'd heard that Thibodeau or his girlfriend had mailed jewelry related to another possible homicide to Allen's parents or to Thibodeau's girlfriend's parents to get a reaction out of them.

At the time of that interview, Bohrer could not have known whether the investigators were aware of Adams' claim that Allen's bracelet had been returned, Peebles wrote in a letter this week to acting Oswego County Judge Daniel King.

Bohrer brought up the idea of Thibodeau mailing jewelry early in the 2013 interview with sheriff's investigators.

"Bohrer's immediate statements regarding jewelry appear to be a preemptive strike by implicating the Thibodeaus in a prior jewelry-mailing scenario in a different homicide in an effort to throw investigators in a direction away from him," Peebles wrote.

After Adams' revelation about the bracelet two weeks ago, sheriff's investigators James Pietroski and Carmen Rojek confronted her about it, she said. They wanted her to go with them and give a statement, she said.

"They appeared to be rather confrontational and accusatory when they approached me so I became defensive and refused to accompany them," the affidavit said. Adams gave the bracelet to the investigators.

Peebles has asked King to let her call Adams as a witness in a hearing to determine whether Thibodeau should get a new trial. The judge has not ruled on Peebles' request to let call Adams and other witnesses regarding Bohrer.

Bohrer is one of three new possible suspects in Allen's kidnapping. Thibodeau contends jurors would've acquitted him if they'd known of the newly discovered evidence implicating those three men that has surfaced over the past two years.

Thibodeau also claims his conviction be overturned because prosecutors withheld evidence that would have benefited him.

The hearing has been in recess since April. No date has been set for it to resume.


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This is the bracelet Melissa Searles gave to Heidi before she disappeared. However, it is unknown whether Heidi was wearing it when she abducted. The bracelet mysteriously turned up in Melissa's mailbox sometime after 2008, Ten years after Heidi was kidnapped. It is unknown who sent the bracelet or why.

Melissa Searles talked about the bracelet with her sister at a bar in 1994 while Michael Bohrer was present. Bohrer had previously written about Heidi hiding a bracelet behind the seat of the vehicle she was kidnapped in. Bohrer claims he made the notes about the bracelet after meeting with a psychic who told him that three men and a woman were involved in Heidi's disappearance.
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Michael Bohrer's 1981 victim retells horror of abduction 13 years before Heidi Allen's kidnapping​

Posted Mar 21, 2015

Catherine Schmitt in 1984, three years after Michael Bohrer abducted her in Milwaukee.

OSWEGO, N.Y. -- Catherine Schmitt was leaving an all-night restaurant in Milwaukee at 1 a.m. in 1981 when two men walked right in front of her car, then moved on.

She thought it was strange, but brushed it off. She drove to her apartment complex a couple miles away, being careful about her surroundings as she always was when she was alone.

Schmitt, a 21-year-old waitress at the time, parked at the complex and got out of her car. One of the two men was there, standing right behind her. She hadn't seen his vintage yellow Mustang pull in behind her because he'd turned off the headlights, she said.
"Excuse me, can you help me find someone?" the man asked.

He suddenly wrapped his arm around her throat from behind, choking her, and covered her mouth with his other hand, Schmitt said. He started dragging her to his car, which was blocking hers in, she said.

"As I'm watching this happening, I notice that the guy who's in the passenger seat, he's climbing over to the driver's side," Schmitt said. "He opened the door. It was Michael who had me."

The man who grabbed her was Michael Bohrer, she later found out. He's one of three new possible suspects in the kidnapping of Heidi Allen in Oswego County 13 years after Schmitt was grabbed. Allen's body has never been found and she is presumed dead.

Schmitt didn't know either Bohrer or the other man in the car, his brother John Bohrer.

As Michael dragged her, she tried to scream. He started punching her in the mouth, Schmitt said.

"The whole time he was hitting me," she said. "My mouth was all bruised up and cut up inside. And I was choking. I could hardly breathe. But as soon as I was able to scream, I screamed."

When he got her to the car, Michael tried to push her inside as John was pulling on her legs from inside, she said. They had the front seat of the two-door car folded forward and were trying to get her into the back seat, she said.

She kept screaming and pushing against the roof of the car. The two men had her off the ground and partly in the car. In the midst of it, she had a horrible thought.

"All of a sudden it dawned on me: Are they going to rape me?" she said.

The screaming apparently attracted attention, and someone nearby must have turned on the lights in their apartment, Schmitt said, because the Bohrers suddenly gave up.

"Let go of her, let's get out of here," John Bohrer told his brother, according to Schmitt.


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Oswego DA: Michael Bohrer's criminal past has no relevance to Heidi Allen kidnapping​

Posted Jul 17, 2015

OSWEGO, N.Y. - A judge should not consider the criminal past of a possible suspect in the 1994 Heidi Allen kidnapping in deciding whether to overturn the conviction of Gary Thibodeau, a prosecutor argued today.

Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes opposed a request from Thibodeau's lawyer to introduce evidence about old crimes connected to Michael Bohrer.

Thibodeau's lawyer, Lisa Peebles, last month asked acting Oswego County Judge Daniel King to let her introduce evidence of Bohrer's criminal history into a hearing on whether to overturn Thibodeau's conviction for kidnapping Allen, 18, who is presumed dead. Her body has never been found.

Thibodeau, 61, is serving 25 years to life in prison on the 1995 conviction.

Peebles has presented evidence that she says implicates Bohrer and two other men in Allen's kidnapping from a New Haven convenience store on Easter morning 1994. Bohrer's past crimes are irrelevant, Oakes wrote in papers filed this afternoon in Oswego County Court.

"Rather than trying to establish Bohrer's guilt for the present offense, defendant hopes to undermine Bohrer's credibility by revealing his criminal record and trying to establish his guilt for unrelated, collateral matters," Oakes wrote.

Bohrer was convicted in 1981 of false imprisonment for dragging a woman he didn't know by her throat to his car, and in 1980 of disorderly conduct for running another woman he didn't know off the road and trying to open her car door. Both crimes were in Milwaukee.

He was also a suspect in a vicious beating of a woman in Beacon, N.Y., in 1985, but was never charged.

Those crimes don't have enough similarities to each other, or to the facts known in Allen's kidnapping, to show a common modus operandi, Oakes wrote.


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Heated Exchange Between Attorneys at Thibodeau Hearing

OSWEGO, N.Y. -- Gary Thibodeau's attorney, Lisa Peebles, said for her, the surprises began before entering the courtroom.

She said when the prosecution contacted her defense team on Friday to drop off documents, she expected a requested search report. Instead, they got 2,600 pages worth of information.

"When he came back with that box, my jaw dropped. My jaw dropped. I was dumped on on Friday. It was completely calculated for me to request an adjournment of this case," said Federal Public Defender Lisa Peebles.

Then on Tuesday, Peebles said the prosecution offered to let defense look through boxes of evidence the sheriff's office has on the Heidi Allen case.

District Attorney Gregory Oakes said insinuations have been made about a cover-up by his and the sheriff's office and he wanted to be as transparent as possible.

"My goal as a prosecutor is to get to the truth the best that can be determined. I was not in office 20 years ago. I have no vested interest in the conviction of Gary Thibodeau," said Oakes.

Peebles initially agreed to the offer, then decided it would be too time-consuming and she didn't want to adjourn the case.

"I feel like he attempts to manipulate me into agreements because he tells me he's going to do the right thing. He won't do anything unless I provide him with DNA evidence, and that's not going to happen, because what we're learning through these witnesses is that her remains have been shipped to Canada," said Peebles.
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Video of Gary Thibodeau's Public Defender calling out the District Attorney for dumping a massive amount of evidence which included 3,000 pages of documents, 18 hours of audio and 8 hours of video to Thibodeau's defense team 72 hours before the hearing. This decision by the DA was unprofessional and IMO, totally calculated.



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Exclusive: Thibodeau calls judge, prosecutors 'Satan's disciples' in Heidi Allen case (audio)​

Posted Mar 08, 2016

OSWEGO, N.Y. -- Gary Thibodeau says a judge who denied his request for a new trial in the 1994 kidnapping of Heidi Allen was likely hoping Thibodeau would die and the case would go away.

"That's not going to happen," Thibodeau said in his first interview since acting Oswego County Judge Daniel King rejected his request to overturn the conviction.

Thibodeau, in a phone interview with Syracuse.com, said he expects an appeals court to overturn King's decision. It was Thibodeau's first media interview since King issued his ruling last week.

Thibodeau called the judge and prosecutors "Satan's disciples."

"They're all working together," he said from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. "These are the devil's disciples here."

District Attorney Greg Oakes refused to comment.

Thibodeau accused King of trying to drag the case out as long as he could, knowing Thibodeau was in ill health.

"I knew this guy was brought in here to try to prolong it as long as he could, hoping I'd die in the meantime," Thibodeau said. "He knows that I don't have a whole lot of time left."

Thibodeau, 62, has the use of only one lung.

He praised the witnesses who came forward over the past two years and testified at a hearing about one or more of three new possible suspects admitting some involvement in Allen's kidnapping.

"They risked their lives to do that, and they said so on the stand," Thibodeau said. "I understand the fear in a lot of people, because these detectives are so dirty. There's nothing they wouldn't do to conceal what they've been concealing all these years."


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Woman told deputies her relative killed Heidi Allen, but they didn't investigate​

Posted Jan 09, 2015

Roger Breckenridge sits inside the Mohawk Correctional Facility in Rome, NY. on June 23, 2014. Jessica Howard, a relative of Breckenridge, says she told the Oswego County Sheriff's Office twice, in 2004 and 2011, that other relatives of Breckenridge had told her Breckenridge was involved in the 1994 kidnapping and killing of Heidi Allen, 18. She said sheriff's investigators never questioned her after she provided the information.

MEXICO, N.Y. - It's been a family secret among the Breckenridges of Oswego County for two decades, Jessica Howard says: Who killed Heidi Allen.

After marrying into the family, Howard tried to alert Oswego County sheriff's investigators in 2004 to the information she'd learned about the Allen case, she said.

An investigator told her then it was a closed case so there was no need to bother, Howard said.

She tried again in 2011. She told a deputy that Allen was buried behind a shed and that she "knew who the real killer was," according to an email from the deputy.

That deputy passed on the information, and six months later a sheriff's investigator tried without success to find Howard, according to police reports.

Howard revealed the secret to Syracuse.com / The Post-Standard on Thursday. Roger Breckenridge and James "Thumper" Steen kidnapped and killed Allen because she was planning to turn them in to police for selling drugs, Howard said she was told by Breckenridge's relatives.


Six months later, Pietroski tried to contact Howard without success, according to Oakes' letter.

Allen's body has never been found.

Oakes wrote in the letter to Thibodeau's lawyer, Lisa Peebles, that he was disclosing the email "consistent with my ethical obligations."

Howard was a friend of Allen's, she said. Breckenridge and Allen had been dating, and were breaking up, Howard said.

"She wanted to call the cops on a drug deal (Breckenridge and Steen) were doing," Howard said. "Instead of getting arrested, they took her..., beat her with a bat, took her into the woods and burned her."

The two men burned Allen in a barrel then buried the ashes and clothing behind a shed off Rice Road in Mexico, Howard said.

That's the same general location that another woman, Tonya Priest, says Steen told her that he, Breckenridge and Bohrer hid Allen's remains. Priest said Steen told her they hid Allen's body under the floor of a cabin off Rice Road.

Other witnesses have said Steen and Breckenridge confessed to them that Allen's body was hidden in a crushed vehicle that Steen hauled to Canada.


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Appeals court refuses new trial for Gary Thibodeau in Heidi Allen kidnapping case​

by Justine Marschner and Matt Mulcahy
Saturday, June 10th 2017

The State Appeals court has decided to uphold Gary Thibodeau’s conviction in the Heidi Allen kidnapping case, not granting him a new trial.

Thibodeau is the only man to be convicted in the disappearance of Heidi Allen, but asked for a new trial based on evidence of possible new suspects and new eyewitness testimony in the case.

Allen was abducted from a New Haven convenience store where she worked on Easter Sunday in 1994. Gary Thibodeau was found guilty of kidnapping the Oswego County woman in August of 1995. Gary Thibodeau was found guilty of kidnapping the Oswego County woman. His brother Richard was acquitted of the same charges at trial.

Thibodeau is currently serving 25 years to life behind bars for the kidnapping.

Two years ago Gary Thibodeau's attorney identified new suspects and evidence she believes was withheld from his original defense attorney. Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes disputed claims that any evidence was withheld and said the information pointing at new suspects was not credible. The judge overseeing Gary Thibodeau's appeal in Oswego County did not find the new information compelling enough to overturn his conviction.

While three of the four judges agreed that Thibodeau's conviction stands, one disagreed and pointed to new evidence that shows Thibodeau does deserve a new trial.

Judge John Centra was the lone dissent on the Thibodeau decision. He agreed with most of the majority decision, but not one key point. Judge Centra agreed with Gary Thibodeau, “that he established his entitlement to a new trial based on newly discovered evidence.” Centra wrote that he feels Thibodeau’s conviction should be vacated and he be granted a new trial.

Centra criticized the Oswego County court writing that it “abused its discretion” in denying the motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence.

Judge Centra ruled a witness at the New Haven convenience store the day of the kidnapping was credible and his new testimony should be allowed. That witness identified another man as Heidi Allen’s kidnapper. He also said the van he saw that morning was not Gary Thibodeau’s brothers van.

Centra also gave credence to the new testimony of three other men disposing of Heidi’s body in a van in Murtaugh’s junkyard in Oswego County.

He also ruled the recorded statement of Jennifer Wescott should be admissible in a new trial. Wescott is the one who was recorded saying Heidi was out in the van at her house after the abduction on that Easter Sunday.

Judge Centra concluded, “I believe a new trial should be granted based simply on the totality of the new evidence introduced at the hearing.” “This is not a case where there was just one off-hand remark about Heidi’s abduction."


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This would prove to be Gary's last chance to be granted a new trial. He would pass away two months later, maintaining his innocence.

Divided NY high court rejects Gary Thibodeau's appeal for new Heidi Allen trial​

Posted Jun 14, 2018
Albany, NY -- The state's highest court narrowly rejected Gary Thibodeau's last-chance appeal for a new trial in the 1994 kidnapping of Heidi Allen.

The 4-3 decision was announced at 9 a.m. in a 41-page decision.

Thibodeau, 63, is in poor health and it's not clear if he will survive a possible further appeal to federal court. He is serving 25 years to life in prison for 18-year-old Allen's kidnapping from an Oswego County convenience store Easter morning.

The state Court of Appeals majority ruled today that a local visiting judge, Daniel King, did not abuse his discretion by ruling that newly discovered evidence pointing to three other possible suspects was not credible.

The court also ruled that incriminating statements allegedly made by the three other men -- James Steen, Roger Breckenridge and Michael Bohrer -- were hearsay and would not be allowed at trial. (Hearsay is what the men allegedly told other people.)

The four judges of the majority noted that the various alleged confessions offered different details of what might have happened to Allen.

"...enabled by the speculative nature of the disparate admissions containing few details, defendant pursued more than one theory of complicity at the hearing - attempting to establish that, either singly or in combination, the declarants were involved in the kidnapping or the murder or the disposal of Allen's body," the majority wrote.

The majority called attempts to confirm the alleged confessions -- including by trying to find Allen's remains near a collapsed cabin in the woods -- a "speculative theory."

But three dissenting judges came to the opposite conclusion, saying that the incriminating statements allegedly made by the three men should have been allowed at a new trial and could have swung the outcome.

The lengthy dissent, written by Justice Jenny Rivera, said Thibodeau's lawyers offered an "exhaustive amount of corroborating evidence" to support the alleged confessions. That was enough to allow them at a new trial, she argued.

The dissent also wondered why witnesses who attributed incriminating statements to the three men would lie, noting that they were of various ages, backgrounds and occupations. In total, there were more than 10 independent confessions attributed to Steen, Breckenridge and Bohrer, she noted.

The majority argued that the sheer number of apparent confessions didn't matter: there simply wasn't credible corroborating evidence to support their use at trial.

Thibodeau was convicted after a 1995 trial in Allen's disappearance and presumed death. His brother, Richard, was also tried separately and acquitted.

The two men are accused of kidnapping Allen in a van and taking her to an unknown location. Both men have always denied wrongdoing.

It wasn't until someone came forward a few years ago implicating James Steen that Steen, Breckenridge and Bohrer were targeted as possible suspects. That led to a lengthy hearing in Oswego County Court in which the new evidence was deemed not enough for a new trial.


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'They know I didn't do it': Ailing Gary Thibodeau maintains innocence in Heidi Allen case​

by Matt Mulcahy
Tuesday, July 31st 2018

COXSACKIE, N.Y. — The muggy still air in the prison day room at Coxsackie Correctional was enough to take the breath from a healthy man.

For a convict tethered to an oxygen generator, the undue heat deprived him of fulfilling deep breaths and the ability to maintain conversation beyond short phrases in stops and starts. The air conditioning quit inside this Regional Medical Unit of one of New York's Maximum Security prisons. It would take navigating Albany bureaucracy to order the repair in the midst of one of the hottest summers in memory.

But Inmate 95B1489 has concerns far greater than the temperature.

Gary Thibodeau knows he's living his last days, weeks or months. He's living it as a man convicted of a kidnapping he insists he did not commit.

Thibodeau has served 23 years of a minimum 25-year sentence in maximum security prisons, including Attica, Shawangunk and Clinton correctional, for the infamous 1994 disappearance case of Heidi Allen — a central New York case that has received national attention, including Dateline episodes, over the last quarter century.

His disciplinary record over two decades has dark marks and blemishes. In the earlier years, he had hearings for fighting, disobeying orders and being intoxicated.

The last couple of years, deteriorating health has forced Thibodeau into prison hospitals known as Regional Medical Units. His record at Walsh RMU in 2017 includes loss of privileges for damaged property and vandalism/stealing. He now stays in a hospital bed in Coxsackie.

Partying and playing pool​

The medical staff wheeled Thibodeau into the room. He spends most of his time in his hospital bed. His nails are long, his face unshaven. His skin is breaking down in spots. He turns 65 in October.

His mind still works. He recalls his former self going back 24 years ago. That's before an 18-year-old named Heidi Allen disappeared. Thibodeau liked to go out.

"I liked partying, playin' pool. Darts," he said. "Going out and having a couple a beers."

Gary Thibodeau pre-1994 was strong and unafraid. He worked construction. He tinkered with cars. He enjoyed his favorite bars with his girlfriend, Sharon. She told investigators she was with him on Easter Sunday 1994 when Heidi Allen vanished from the D&W convenience store in New Haven, in Oswego County. Sharon stood by him after his arrest, after his conviction and after he went off to state prison. They married along the way. She died of a heart ailment in 1997.

While remembering those years, Thibodeau lovingly recalls that Sharon "was a pain in the ass. But, so was I."

Video of the day he posted bail after being arrested shows them sharing a kiss and walking arm in arm. Today, he misses her, more than 20 years after her passing.

He met Heidi Allen​

The 64-year-old acknowledges he met Heidi Allen in Oswego County. He says it was just once. However, he vehemently denies being present at the convenience store where the teen was last seen. His brother, Richard "Dick" Thibodeau, was there. He drove his van to the store in New Haven and bought a pack of cigarettes. One of Allen's last customers.

That was how Gary was considered a suspect. Sitting in his prison-issued hospital robe, he explained how Dick's van had a manual transmission. You needed two hands to drive it. The driver could not have been focused on anything or anyone else in the van. Witnesses at the scene said they saw two men with a woman.

"They tried to indict Dick in this," Gary said. "Without somebody else, they couldn't get an indictment."

He has heard the description given by witnesses, but denies they're describing him.

''It wasn't me. I wasn't there. They didn't see me there.''

Investigators impounded Dick's van and searched it for any evidence of the kidnapping. They found nothing. Police search teams scoured a ten-acre area of property where Gary Thibodeau lived. They used highly trained dogs. Cameras. Helicopters. They found nothing connecting Thibodeau to the kidnapping. No evidence of Heidi's presence.
Jury questioned evidence

Both Thibodeau brothers were accused of kidnapping. They were walked in front of the television cameras in May 1994. A grand jury indictment against Gary included citations of the statements taken from his jail cellmates in Massachusetts who claimed Thibodeau admitted to the crime. Gary's trial came first, one year later.

The jury found Gary guilty. His stunned reaction has played repeatedly on the news over the years. Twenty-three years later, Thibodeau explains why he appeared shocked.

"The jury came back a second time, said no evidence against me, twice," he said.

The judge encouraged them to continue deliberations. After they read the verdict, Thibodeau recalls looking at the jurors.

A juror up front was crying. She mouthed to me the words 'he made me do it.'
Brother Richard would go on trial four months later. The same evidence was presented to a different jury with two exceptions. Richard was the brother who told police he was at the D&W convenience store that morning buying cigarettes. And, prosecutors did not have the advantage of the jailhouse testimony that helped convict Gary. Richard walked out of court all smiles. The jury found him not guilty.

Another chance at freedom lost​

Just last month, the New York State Court of Appeals narrowly ruled against granting Gary a new trial. It is the third court to rule against him in his fresh wave of appeals that began in 2014. That's when new information became apparent that developed a different narrative for what happened at that convenience store.

Prosecutors and investigators in Oswego County were not buying the new revelations as enough to change their opinion on Gary Thibodeau's role in the teens disappearance. However, the support is growing for Thibodeau's point of view in the dissenting opinions at both the Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals. Nevertheless, the majority ruled in June: Request denied for a new trial.

When asked whether the narrow court ruling disappointed him Thibodeau said:

Nothing surprises me.


Well-known member
by CNYCentral
Saturday, August 4th 2018

'Miscarriage of justice': Thibodeau trial juror speaks out for the first time

Elizabeth Head had a front row seat for that unforgettable moment in the Gary Thibodeau trial.

23 years later, the jury shattered Thibodeau's courtroom confidence. Head wants a do-over. When asked if she thinks Thibodeau is guilty she said:

''No, I don't think he is.''

She admitted being filled with doubt. She kept waiting for the prosecution to present evidence. She was one of 12 jurors that questioned whether Thibodeau was involved in Heidi Allen's abduction.

"The jury came back a second time. Said no evidence against me twice," Gary Thibodeau said.

From prison, Thibodeau recalls the jury seeming to struggle to reach a verdict. Head said they thought Thibodeau was involved in something illegal, like drugs, but not necessarily a murder or kidnapping.

"All of us felt the same way, base it on who do you believe," Head said.

A few days ago, Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes said he has not called for a new trial because he respects the decision made by the jury in 1995.

"It would be arrogant of me to do that. I say arrogant because twelve jurors heard the evidence. They heard Gary Thibodeau testify, they rejected his testimony, and that of the other witnesses he presented," Oakes said.

Head said the new evidence that developed over the last few years reaffirmed her feeling that Thibodeau was not involved in the kidnapping. She'd like to see him get out.

"A medical parole. He should get that even if he is guilty," she said.

When asked again if she thinks he is guilty she said:

''I think it was a miscarriage of justice.''


Well-known member

Richard Thibodeau's jury: New evidence shows we were right in Heidi Allen verdict​

Updated Jan 04, 2019; Posted Sep 01, 2016

OSWEGO, N.Y. - Jurors who acquitted Richard Thibodeau in the 1994 kidnapping of Heidi Allen are taking solace in new evidence that's surfaced over the past two years.

The evidence, which implicates three new possible suspects, confirms the jury got it right, five of the jurors said.

It's got some of them asking a question that bothered them 21 years ago: What were prosecutors thinking?

"I wanted to ask, 'What the hell's wrong with you guys?'" juror Sharon Doerr said. "'How could you do this?' It was wrong to do this to somebody. They wanted blood."

Thibodeau was acquitted in September 1995 of kidnapping Allen, 18, on April 3, 1994, from her job at a convenience store in New Haven. Her body has never been found.

The verdict came three months after Thibodeau's brother Gary was convicted of the same charge by a separate jury. One significant difference in the evidence was two prisoners who testified in Gary's trial that he'd made admissions to them in a Massachusetts jail.

The brothers were accused of acting together to kidnap and kill Allen.

Gary Thibodeau's hoping the new evidence will win him a new trial. Acting Oswego County Judge Daniel King denied his request to overturn the verdict in March.

Syracuse.com called or sent letters to the 12 jurors in Richard's trial as his brother's lawyers prepare to file an appeal of King's decision.

Seven of the jurors responded. One declined to comment, saying the jurors made a pact in 1995 to never publicly discuss the case.

Doerr lives in Florida and was not aware of the new evidence until she was contacted by Syracuse.com. She said she still can't understand why the Oswego County District Attorney's Office took either of the Thibodeaus to trial.

She remembers the prosecutor, Donald Dodd, asking the jurors shortly after the verdict why they decided to acquit Richard.

"We told him, 'Look, you did not have any evidence that this man was involved,'" Doerr said. The only connection Thibodeau had to the crime scene was that he was apparently the last person to buy something at the store where Allen was kidnapped, Doerr said.

Dodd did not respond to a request for an interview.

The new evidence includes a 2013 secretly recorded phone call, monitored by police, in which a woman says her boyfriend and two other men brought a woman she believes was the kidnapped Allen to the woman's home in 1994.

Four other jurors in Richard's trial agreed with Doerr about the lack of evidence. They wondered how Gary's jury could've convicted him.

"We were just mesmerized how the first guy got found guilty," Thomas Bukowski said. The jury in Richard's trial was aware as they deliberated that Gary had been convicted, the jurors said.

Even though he's always believed the jury made the correct decision, Bukowski said it's bothered him that they might not have.

The new evidence has put those fears to rest, he said. "This verifies that we did the right thing," he said.

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