Lewis Fogle Freed After 34 Years: DNA Helps Pennsylvania Man Go Free In Murder Of Teenage Girl

September 16, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

After 34 years, Lewis Fogle is a free man thanks to his family and a group of devoted people from the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Mr. Fogle spent half of his life in prison for raping and killing a teenage girl, which he always denied and recent DNA tests proved that he was telling the truth.

Lewis Fogle

Lewis Fogle has been released after spending 34 years in prison for the brutal rape and murder of a teenager named Deann “Kathy” Long.

Fogle’s sentence was overturned thanks to the DNA evidence gathered by the folks working for the Pennsylvania Innocence Project.

In 1982, Lewis Fogle, who was barely 30 and had just welcomed his first child with his wife, Deb, was convicted of the rape and murder of Deann “Kathy” Long. Miss Long, a 15-year-old girl from Indiana County, was raped and killed via a gunshot to the head in July of 1976. Her body was discovered few miles from her home.

Fogle was convicted in a rather bizarre manner. Three inmates testified saying that he had confessed to the rape and murder while they were all locked up behind bars. The men had no evidence linking Fogle to the killing of the teenager, and he had always denied his involvement in the shooting.

A fourth man, Earl Elderkin, who is claimed to have “severe psychiatric disabilities,” was hypnotized by an unlicensed hypnotist and revealed that Fogle was the killer.

While in prison, Fogle had always stated that he was innocent and said he had a clear alibi. The day of the kidnapping and the murder, Fogle said he was with his parents and brothers the whole time. Moreover, that night, he shared few drinks at a local bar with a group of friends.

Despite the fact that his family and friends confirmed his whereabouts, he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. In August 2015, the Innocence Project provided DNA evidence that Fogle was not the killer, but he remained in prison until September 14, which is when Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty accepted to dismiss the charges.

Karen Thompson, staff attorney for the Innocence Project, said:

“Thirty-four years is an extremely long time to serve for a crime he didn’t commit.”

Dougherty, who believes that Fogle took part in the killing, added:

“I still believe [Fogle] was involved [in the murder].It’s simply a matter of we don’t have the evidence.”

According to Mr. Dougherty, his office will continue to treat the 1976 murder as an open investigation, and they are following “multiple persons of interest at this point.”

Lewis Fogle has been reunited with his wife and is hoping to sell the paintings he worked on while behind bars.

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    1. Esteban says:

      Dougherty, who believes that Fogle took part in the killing, added: “I still believe [Fogle] was involved [in the murder].It’s simply a matter of we don’t have the evidence.”

      So in Dougherty’s mind, as long as he THINKS a person is guilty, why let evidence to the contrary get in the way?

    2. Joseph says:

      The crime took place in 1976. Fogle was convicted in 1982. Yet he had a “confirmed” alibi that he was with his family the day of the murder. How persuasive that must have been five years after the murder! I also wonder how were the “snitches” able to hear his admissions if Fogle was not already in jail for other offenses on or about 1982. Give the prosecutor some slack. The available DNA may not have been Fogle’s, but that does not rule out that he was there. He certainly does not appear to have been a saint.

      • Kathy says:

        And what would make you believe that he doesn’t appear to be a saint? Did you draw your own conclusions to that? If there was no DNA evidence, he the jury should not have found him guilty. There was other DNA, why not his? This DA doesn’t want to apologize for putting an innocent man in prison. This happened a lot during that time. A lot of innocent men went to prison at that time because of the lack of DNA evidence and people saying they saw them at the scene of the crime. I watched 48 Hours show one time and a 17 year old boy was convicted of raping and killing a girl just because she was on his father’s property and they never pursued any other people because in their mind he did it. He was 34 years old before another inmate confessed to the crime and the DNA evidence proved it was the other inmate. And the DA never wanted to reopen the case even after the other inmate confessed. He had to be forced and when he knew he was wrong, never apologized to this man for putting him in jail and withholding vital evidence that would have exonerated him. He missed all the best parts of his life and I’m sorry, if you’re putting someone in jail for life, you better have a crap load of evidence that proves he did it, not some prison inmates who more than likely got a deal to testify against him and get out of prison a lot earlier. I would see that testimony as suspect. This jury apparently wasn’t too bright.

        • Jess says:

          Kathy, the point made by Joseph is that Fogle was in prison when he “confessed” to the other 4 inmates, leading Joseph to correctly assume that Fogle was in prison for some other violation when he confessed to the other inmates. I cannot think of how a person could actually make a jailhouse confession to other inmates without being in prison.

          This DA is not the man that convicted Fogle initially. He did not do anything wrong in the conviction of Fogle. Someone else’s DNA was present at the scene. That is fine, but if you look at the case at all you would see that the information reportedly provided to the other inmates by Fogle proves that he had detailed information of the crime scene and what had taken place. The mere presence of someone else’s DNA does not exclude another from being at the scene. Therefore the DA does in fact have reason to believe that Fogle had some involvement with the case.

          Apparently you aren’t too bright.

          • Henry says:

            Yep information from inmates proves he was guilty.

            And just because Jess’s DNA was not at the crime scene does not make Jess innocent.

            I agree let’s start convicting people using the “Just because there is no evidence that you committed the crime you’re still guilty” approach.

    3. carl says:

      Jess, your “Apparently you aren’t too bright” line proves you were apparently looking in the mirror when you wrote it.

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