Elkhart Man Cleared of Murder After 16 Years in Prison

("Jail Cells" by My Southborough, CC BY-ND 2.0)

ELKHART, Ind. — An Elkhart man has been exonerated after spending 16 years in prison for a wrongful conviction.

Court documents say Andrew Royer was interrogated for two days, before he confessed to killing 94-year-old Helen Sailor. Sailor was killed on Thanksgiving day in 2002, inside her Elkhart apartment.

Royer and a woman, Lana Canen, were each sentenced to 55 years in prison for Sailor’s murder. However, Canen’s conviction was vacated in 2012, because a fingerprint used to convict her was not hers.

Royer has a mental disability, which gives him the mind of a child. Now, courts find that Elkhart Detective Carl Conway disregarded Royer’s mental disability, and fed him details of the murder during an interview.

Royer is now the fifth person to be exonerated from Elkhart.

Elkhart Chief of Police Kris Seymore has opened an internal investigation into Conway. Conway has since been placed on administrative leave, without pay, pending the outcome of the investigation.