Most reporters spend days, maybe a few weeks, on an important story. Erin Moriarty worked more than 16 years.
Moriarty will present new information on CBS’ “48 Hours” Saturday night that she hopes will prompt officials to take a new look at the case of Crosley Green, a Florida man convicted of murder who has spent 26 years in prison.
“What we uncovered in the last year has both shocked and saddened me,” Moriarty said in an interview this week. She and “48 Hours” started to follow Green’s case – he was convicted for the murder of Charles “Chip” Flynn in Titusville, Fla., sentenced to death in 1990 and has been in prison ever since – in 1999.
Viewers will this Saturday see two police deputies who were involved originally in the case acknowledge for the first time in public that questions exist about one of the chief sources in the case, a woman who called 911 at the time of the Flynn killing and who was Flynn’s ex-girlfriend. And the original prosecutor in the case, making revelations that have not been made in the past, “admits the actual lineup that led to the investigation was flawed,” said Moriarty. “He admits he wouldn’t do it again today and that it might have unduly influenced the witnesses.” The comments, she said, are “astounding.”
Moriarty has a history uncovering details about prosecutions gone awry. In 2013, her “48 Hours” work covering the case of Ryan Ferguson, a Missouri man convicted of killing a sports editor for a newspaper, was credited as keeping a spotlight on the case. The verdict was eventually vacated. “48 Hours” did three separate stories on Ferguson’s case, starting in 2006, and its reports spurred new witnesses to testify and brought a new attorney to help Ferguson.
She first began to examine the Crosley Green case after hearing from private detectives looking at evidence. “They were convinced this man was innocent,” she explained. Joe Moura, a private detective who has worked the case, served as a consultant for the “48 Hours” report, which is produced by Gail Abbott Zimmerman and Doug Longhini. Susan Zirinsky is senior executive producer. Moriarty stayed with the case even as attorneys from an elite practice in Washington, D.C. took it on a pro bono basis.
“This case had been bothering me,” said Moriarty, who is also an attorney. “I realized that this man had been put on death row, and yet there as no physical evidence at all to tie him to the crime.” Moriarty also discovered through those Washington lawyers that other cases in the Florida region that prosecuted the Green matter that took place around the same time had been overturned. “We had to do this story,” she said.
This episode of “48 Hours” will air Saturday at 10 p.m. on CBS.