The Wrongful Conviction of Cheri Lynn Dale
On January 25, 1990, 26-year-old Susan Taylor was brutally murdered in a drug house in upper-middle-class La Costa, a suburb of San Diego, California. On a Sunday morning four days earlier, 20-year-old Cheri Lynn Dale had gone to that house to buy drugs. That would prove to be the biggest mistake of her life. Five years later she was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 26 years to life in prison for a crime she did not commit.
The murder of Susan Taylor was an infamous crime that somehow turned into a cold case within a year. Despite the conflicting statements and unsubstantiated alibis of numerous obvious suspects, an active investigation into the killing ceased after three months. Cheri Dale’s story presents a case where every mechanism that is intended to safeguard against convicting the innocent failed. Her case was replete with exculpatory evidence that Carlsbad police narcotics detective Robert Wick and San Diego Deputy District Attorney Thomas Manning either ignored, suppressed, or manipulated for the express purpose of convicting an innocent woman.
I spent six years researching Cheri’s case and I wrote a book that documents her innocence beyond any reasonable doubt. After serving 25 years in prison, Cheri Dale was released on parole due in large part to the dissemination of my book. She now lives a productive and fulfilling life in Los Angeles.