Woman Says Mother's Release From Prison 'Blow To Her Heart'


UPDATED: Wednesday December 15, 2010 1:11 PM

Despite an overturned conviction, the daughter of a woman who was released from prison after testimony from her 20-year-old trial said on Wednesday that she still believes her mother is guilty.

Virginia LeFever was released Monday after 20 years behind bars. Her conviction was overturned because a key expert lied on the witness stand.

Sarah LeFever grew up without parents.

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Her father died when she was 8 and, at the same time, her mom was convicted of killing him, 10 Investigates' Paul Aker reported.

"I honestly believe she deserves to be in prison," Sarah LeFever said. "She took my childhood from me. She took my father from me."

Her mother has claimed she was innocent since 1990, when she fainted as the guilty verdict was read.

A claim she repeated during an exclusive jailhouse interview with 10 Investigates.

"No, I didn't (kill my husband)," LeFever, 59, said. "The truth doesn't change."

Sarah LeFever said her mother is lying.

She claims that she and her brother watched her mother set-off poison insect smoke bombs in an attempt to kill her father, Aker reported.

"We witnessed her doing that; beyond a shadow of a doubt, that's what we saw," Sarah LeFever said.

The case against LeFever has serious holes; the biggest because of former Franklin County toxicologist James Ferguson.

Ferguson was a key witness and the man that determined LeFever's husband was poisoned to death.

He lied at the trial about the year he graduated. 10 Investigates first revealed he did not take many normally-required classes in his biochemistry major and he failed other basic classes.

No one from The Ohio State University can figure out how received his degree, Aker reported.

A judge threw out LeFever's conviction and life sentence because of Ferguson's problematic credentials.   For Sarah LeFever, it was a blow to the heart.

"It was like someone knocked the wind out of me," Sarah LeFever said. "It's not fair. My dad deserved justice."

Sarah LeFever's own testimony could make a new conviction even harder.

LeFever's attorney filed a motion that showed she and her brother changed their story since 1990.
Sarah LeFever admits that is true. She said at the trial in 1990 she falsely claimed she did not remember things she really saw.

"I didn't give the most honest testimony because I was afraid of my mom," Sarah LeFever said. "I don't believe for a minute she was ever innocent."

The Licking County prosecutor is still trying to determine whether to seek a new trial. He said a decision should come within a few weeks, Aker reported.

Until a decision is made Virginia LeFever was ordered to have no contact with witnesses, including her children.

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Previous Stories:

November 23, 2010: Evidence In Overturned Murder Conviction Could Be Gone
November 22, 2010: Judge: New Trial For Woman Convicted In Husband's Slaying
November 17, 2010: Investigation Finds More Apparent Deceptions By Toxicologist
September 30, 2010: College Degree By Former Expert Witness Comes Into Question
May 13, 2010:  Former Toxicologist Sentenced For Lying About Credentials
April 28, 2010:  Testimony Of Key Witness Calls Murder Conviction Into Question