In many wrongful conviction cases evidence is often missing, manipulated and/or destroyed by the police. In the case against Michael Clark the weapon that killed Marty Grisham was never found. This was a serious problem for the police because they never had a gun that could tie Michael Clark to the murder of Marty Grisham; there was no direct evidence pointing to the murder weapon. All the police had was circumstantial evidence as to the murder weapon, who owned that weapon and who fired the four shots that killed Marty Grisham. Those who are concerned about wrongful convictions are justifiably wary of convictions based on circumstantial evidence rather than “hard” forensic evidence such as DNA, fingerprints, hair and clothing fibers. After all, a conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt and it takes a leap of faith to treat circumstantial evidence as proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Although circumstantial evidence is used all the time to convict defendants it is frequently used in wrongful conviction cases to convict the innocent. Circumstantial evidence allows the prosecution much leeway to infer that this is how it could have happen and also allows them to twist evidence to suit their particular theory even though that theory may be wrong. After all, a conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt and it takes a leap of faith to treat circumstantial evidence as proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This is what happened regarding the missing gun in Michael Clark's case.
Because the gun used to kill Marty Grisham was never found the police and prosecution had to rely on expert witnesses using a GRC database to try and identify the gun used to kill Marty Grisham. Their results showed that the Bryco Jennings gun purchased by Michael Clark on October 17, 1994 from Dion Moore fit the profile of a gun that COULD have been used to kill Marty. However, that GRC database also produced fifty nine (59) other gun manufacturers that produced guns that also fit that profile; further there were many models within each of the fifty nine gun manufacturers that also fit the profile. Using a conservative estimate of five models per each of the fifty nine gun manufacturers it comes out to nearly three hundred pistols that fit the profile of the gun used to kill Marty Grisham. The Bryco Jennings gun once owned by Mike was just one of three hundred guns that fit the profile of a gun used to kill Marty Grisham.
The prosecution used two expert witnesses, one in the 1994-95 time frame and the other in the 2010-12 time frame. These were complex and lengthy testimonies by these two expert witnesses and their findings can only be considered circumstantial, in that the Bryco Jennings gun could have been the weapon that killed Marty Grisham, NOT the weapon beyond all doubt that did kill Marty Grisham. Remember there were approximately 300 other guns derived from that data base search that fit the profile of the weapon used to kill Marty Grisham.
Sgt. Weyer, a marine recruiter stated when he saw Mike's gun on October 25, 1994 that the gun was loaded with full metal jacketed round bullets. This was critical to the prosecution's case because the bullets found at the crime scene were full metal jacketed round bullets. But on October 26, 1994, a day later.Jamie Uhlir, Michael Clark's friend testified he saw hallow point bullets in the gun Mike showed him; This was critical to the defense because it showed that Mike's gun was not loaded with the bullets used to kill Marty Grisham.The defense brought this up in their cross-examination of Jamie Uhlir and brought it up again in their closing argument that the bullets Mike had in that gun were hallow point bullets and not full metal jacketed round bullets used to kill Marty Grisham. Further more in a police report dated March 16, 2010 Dion Moore stated that Mike had returned the full metal jacketed round bullets to him and that he noticed Mike had hallow point bullets loaded in his gun. This was another indication that the bullets in Mike's gun were not the bullets used to kill Marty Grisham but the bullets in Dion Moore's gun were the same type bullets found at the crime scene.
Dion Moore stated that his friends Vanessa and Summer saw the gun suspected by police to be the murder weapon in Mike’s car on November 1, 1994, the day of the murder. Neither Vanessa nor Summer was ever called to testify by the defense or prosecution. One has to question why the prosecution never called these girls to testify because it could have been another nail in Michael Clark's coffin in that it would have shown he did have possession of that gun on the day of the murder, something Mike has always maintained he did not, because he threw the gun away days earlier. It is believed that these two girls would have contradicted Dion’s Moore’s statement about the gun being in Mike’s car on 11/1/94, destroyed Dion Moore's credibility and showed that Mike did NOT have that gun in his car the day of the murder.
In 1994 the police ruled Mike's gun out as the murder weapon because the bullets collected at the crime scene did not match the unique characteristics and patterns of those bullets fired from the barrel of the type of gun Mike owned which police suspected was the murder weapon (striations - bullet finger printing). But, in 2012, they "broadened" the search criteria and suddenly the make and model of the gun the police knew MIke owned, was a possible fit to the murder weapon. But because the police knew the type of gun Mike owned and that he was the primary, if not the only suspect at that time when the expanded data base search was conducted, the police knew in advance the gun they were looking for. In other words this was NOT a blind search where they were looking for a weapon, based on bullet finger printing that fit the profile of the gun that killed Marty Grisham; they already knew the weapon they were looking for. Was this a predetermined search as they knew the weapon they were looking for? Was the data base manipulated to ensure Mike's gun fit the profile of the gun that killed Marty Grisham? If the police had done a blind search would the results have produced Mike's gun? These are pretty serious accusations, but because of other wrongful conviction cases we've worked where data was manipulated to fit the end results the police were looking for this is certainly a possibility..
In conclusion there is no direct evidence that points to the gun Michael Clark once owned as the weapon that killed Marty Grisham. The circumstantial evidence used by the police and prosecution to produce the gun that killed Marty Grisham is suspect at best. In addition the bullets last seen as loaded in Michael Clark's gun were NOT the bullets found at the crime scene. Furthermore when you take into account the fact that ballistic analysis is more of a theory than a practical science that has a statistical formula behind it, it is not surprising to note that most ballistic analysis ends in an inconclusive result. Given that the gun to kill Marty Grisham was never found, trying to compare the bullets found at the crime scene to a non-existent gun make the results highly suspicious.