CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The friend of a Clarksburg man convicted in 2002 of raping an elderly woman in her home said that investigators questioned him while he was nearly blacking out on a drug overdose and later falsely represented his statements to a Harrison County grand jury.
In May, the Gazette-Mail reported that Andrew Locke, according to grand jury testimony given by a lead detective on the case, told police that Joseph Buffey had confided in him that he broke into a Clarksburg home and that "things didn't go as planned." Police used Locke's statements in the case against Buffey, who eventually pleaded guilty to charges he broke into the home, and raped an 83-year-old woman identified as "Ms. L."
Recent tests indicate that DNA found at the scene of the rape matched an unknown male unique in one in 40 billion profiles and does not match Buffey, indicating that he was not at the scene of the crime the night Ms. L was raped, his lawyers say. The test results have become the driving force in Buffey's effort to reverse his conviction.
Locke, an inmate at the Ohio County Correctional Complex, said in a letter to the Gazette-Mail that he, Buffey, and a man named Ronald Perry had burglarized a local Salvation Army the night of the alleged rape, but denied that he told detectives that Buffey left the group later in the evening.
"The statement about 'things didn't go as planned' was made in regards to the Salvation Army being robbed," Locke said in the letter. "We had broke into the Salvation Army to rob the safe and had only ended up getting nine dollars."
According to the grand jury transcript, former Clarksburg Police Detective R.G. Matheny told jurors that Buffey had taken the nine dollars from Ms. L, and attributed that information to Locke.
Based on the letter, Buffey's lawyers interviewed Locke, who told them that he had taken a large amount of morphine pills before he was questioned, and that the detectives took him to the hospital after the interrogation. Medical records from the United Hospital Center in Bridgeport corroborated Locke's story, Buffy's lawyer, Sarah Wagner Montoro said in a July court filing.
Harrison County assistant prosecutor David J. Romano could not comment on Locke's claims, but said that attacking the specifics of the police investigation distract from the fact that Buffey admitted to the crime in 2002.