Star Witness

Aug 27, 2003 on CBS at 10:00 PM


For Melinda Elkins, the years go by, but the pain and the questions linger. She can’t stop asking herself, “Who could have been so cold-blooded as to want her mother dead?” "I miss her, and I know she's not at rest,” she says. It was a violent d... (more)eath. Judith Johnson, 58, and her 6-year-old granddaughter, Melinda's niece, were at her modest home outside Akron, Ohio, one night in June 1998. Melinda's brother-in-law found the body the next morning. Judith Johnson had been beaten, strangled, and sexually assaulted. The little girl was also assaulted, but she survived and lived to tell a shocking story – that the man who’d killed her grandmother was none other than her uncle, and Melinda’s husband, Clarence Elkins. Within hours, police arrested Elkins and charged him with the murder. Today, Elkins, 40, sits in prison for life, convicted largely on the word of his own niece. But there never was one shred of physical evidence linking him to this bloody crime. Correspondent Susan Spencer reports. Wrongfully Accused: Gloria Killian has waited a long time for this moment – 16 years and four months, to be exact. It’s hard to believe that she’s been locked away for that long in a California state prison. “I would rather die than go back to prison,” says Gloria, who was sent away for a robbery-murder she claims she didn’t commit. “I’m innocent. I did not plan the robbery. I did not know those people. I was not involved. I am not the perpetrator.” But Lana Wyant, with the District Attorney’s office in Sacramento, Calif., wants Gloria back in jail: “We’re convinced that she was the mastermind of this murder.” Correspondent Peter Van Sant reports for 48 Hours Investigates.

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