When the pastor of Olive Branch Church in Lakeville, Indiana, was found dead along with his wife, two daughters and stepmom in 1989, investigators quickly pinned the murders on their youngest son Jeff Pelley. Pelley's father had grounded him and prohibited him from attending prom activities, including a school-sponsored trip to Great America amusement park on the night of the murders. Prosecutors argued that friction between Jeff and his dad over the prom was motive for the killings, which took place less than 25 minutes after he returned home from the LaVille high school dance.
But Jessica, one of the girls murdered, testified that her mother told her that Jeff would be at the amusement park after the prom. Her younger sister, Jacque, also testified that her mom said the same thing. In addition, the family's shotgun was missing from its rack and remains of a shell were discovered in an upstairs bedroom.
Despite these pieces of evidence, Jeff Pelley was never charged until 2002 and was not convicted until 2006 after a jury deliberated for days. His conviction was briefly overturned on appeal before it was reinstated. He maintains his innocence and has hired Frances Watson, a professor at Indiana University's McKinney School of Law who specializes in wrongful conviction cases.
Watson says she has new information that could help Jeff Pelley's case. She has asked prosecutors to turn over evidence that Jeff Pelley's trial attorney didn't receive in 2006. She's also seeking access to documents related to Bob Pelley's former life in Fort Myers, Florida, where he worked at Landmark Bank, which had ties to drug trafficking and money laundering.