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A Sordid Tragedy of Coerced Confession -- The Derek Tice Injustice Story

By Larry Tice

Edited by Kira Caywood

Michelle Moore and William Bosko, both high school students, met one 1994 autumn day on a Pittsburgh school bus. After high school graduation two years later, Billy joined the Navy and ended up in Norfolk, Virginia. Michelle eventually joined him there, where they were married on April 4, 1997. They made their first home at the Bayshore Gardens complex, apartment F111.

While at the apartment complex pool, Michelle met Tamika Taylor, a young mother of twins. She and Billy also met Omar Ballard, Tamika's friend. Omar and Tamika had been childhood friends while growing up in New Jersey.

The Boskos had a neighbor, Danial Williams. Williams' wife was suffering from cancer, which would eventually take her life. Tamika disliked and mistrusted Williams -- she felt he was paying too much attention to the young Michelle instead of his ailing wife.

No one knew the trouble Ballard would bring to the Boskos and others.

In the early morning hours of July 8, 1997, less than 24 hours before Billy was due back from a Naval cruise, Michelle Moore-Bosko was allegedly raped, then brutally choked and stabbed to death. Of eight suspects, only Omar Ballard had a positive DNA match. He later confessed to Norfolk police that he and he alone, had sex with and then killed Michelle Moore-Bosko.

Then another horror began. Detective R. Glen Ford, described as having a very aggressive, threatening manner, somehow persuaded other suspects to sign waivers giving up their rights to legal representation. Interrogations continued for hours, ending only when Detective Ford got a confession.

Detective Ford has a history of coercing confessions. He was suspended from the detective force in 1990 for coercing a confession from three teenagers. In 1997, Detective Ford coerced a confession from a mentally disabled person. A court sealed the records of that incident.

During his trial, Eric C. Wilson testified that he was lying to police when he confessed that he raped Michelle Moore-Bosko. He made up the story in order to stop an aggressive Detective Ford from harassing him. "At that point in time, if they told me that I killed JFK, I would have said that I handed Oswald the gun," he said. Wilson said Detective Ford was "very aggressive, very threatening, very angry."

"I thought I better tell him what he wanted to hear," Wilson said of Ford. "He started hitting me in the forehead with his finger."

During the trial of Derek Tice, the prosecution alleged that eight men forced their way into the Bosko apartment and five of the men held the victim, one each on her arms and her legs with one holding his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming, yet the autopsy showed that the only bruises on the body were on her neck where she was strangled. The fourteen-year-old female raped by Ballard was similarly strangled. If Moore-Bosko was held by her wrists and ankles while being raped by eight men, why were bruises on her neck only?

The two-foot, ten-inch wide hallway through which these eight men supposedly carried a struggling female showed no signs of struggle. No pictures on the walls were disturbed -- even papers at the hallway entrance were untouched. The bedroom measured at ten feet by fifteen feet and contained a double bed, dresser, nightstand and other small items. The eight men allegedly raped and killed Moore-Bosko in this room, but again there was no sign of a struggle. Despite the nine people allegedly involved in a violent act in the small space, not so much as a waste can was overturned.

In Tice's statement, he said that a claw hammer was used to open the door, yet the door showed no signs of forced entry. Derek Tice also said that he ejaculated in the victim during the rape -- yet there was no supporting DNA evidence.

The DNA forensic expert testified that it only requires the equivalent of one billionth of a drop of water to obtain sufficient DNA evidence. According to the Virginia Bureau of Forensic Science, Ballard is the only possible contributor to the sperm fractions recovered from the vaginal swabs and the blanket covering the victim's body.

No physical or forensic evidence linked any of the other suspects to the crime scene -- just Omar Ballard.

On June 24, 1997, Omar Ballard maliciously wounded a young woman, beating her with a baseball bat. He pleaded guilty to this crime on February 10, 1998, and was sentenced to five years in prison. On July 18, 1997, Ballard raped a fourteen-year-old girl. He was arrested, and was found guilty on January 15, 1998. On March 23, 1998, Judge Charles E. Poston sentenced Ballard to 100 years in prison for the rape, though 59 of those years were suspended. Yet the court refused to allow this information to be introduced as evidence in Michelle Moore-Bosko's murder trial because it did not occur in close enough proximity, according to the judge.

Norfolk Circuit Judge Charles E. Poston was also the judge for the plea bargain of Danial Williams and Joseph J. Dick Jr., as well as the trial of Eric C. Wilson and Derek Tice. Judge Poston was also the judge for Omar Ballard when he was tried and convicted of the abduction and rape of the fourteen-year-old female.

Ballard made one oral (see transcript below) and two written statements to police saying that he committed the crime and acted alone. Ballard also wrote a letter to a female acquaintance in which he admitted killing Moore-Bosko (see transcript of letter below).

Next is a precise chronology of events surrounding Michelle Moore-Bosko's murder, and the subsequent trial of Derek Tice.

July 8, 1997: Michelle Moore-Bosko, 18, of the 200 block of West Bay Avenue, is found dead by her husband. She has been stabbed, strangled and allegedly raped.

July 9, 1997: Norfolk police arrest Danial Williams and charge him with the rape and murder of Moore-Bosko.

January 12, 1998: Norfolk police arrest a second suspect in Moore-Bosko murder, Dan Williams' house mate, Joseph J. Dick, Jr.

April 8, 1998: Norfolk police arrest a third suspect, Eric C. Wilson.

June 18, 1998: Orlando Police officers and Orange County Sheriff's deputies in Florida arrest a fourth suspect, Derek Tice, and arrange for his extradition back to Norfolk, VA.

June 25, 1998: Norfolk detectives R.G. Ford and B.E. Wray return Derek Tice to Norfolk.

July 1998: One year after the rape and murder, seven men have been charged in Michele Moore-Bosko's death including Eric C. Wilson and Derek Tice. After Tice provides information, police charge Geoffrey A. Farris, John E. Danser and Richard D. Pauley, Jr.

January 22, 1999: Williams, admitting he was obsessed with Moore-Bosko, pleads guilty in Judge Poston's court to avoid the death penalty.

March 4, 1999: Omar Ballard confesses to Norfolk police that he alone killed Michelle Moore-Bosko.

March 8, 1999: Police charge the eighth and final suspect in the case, Omar Ballard, who is already residing in the Augusta County Prison.

March 11, 1999: Omar Ballard makes a second confession to Norfolk police that he alone raped and killed Michelle Moore-Bosko.

March 18, 1999: New DNA evidence links only one of the eight suspects, Omar Ballard, to the crime scene.

April 13, 1999: In papers filed in court, Omar Ballard admits to police that he committed the crime alone.

April 21, 1999: Joseph J. Dick, Jr. pleads guilty to Judge Poston's district court to avoid the death penalty.

April 28, 1999: Judge Poston sentences Williams to two life terms without parole, after a plea agreement with prosecutors.

May 7, 1999: Derek Tice pleads not guilty to Judge Poston in district court to the rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko.

May 14, 1999: Prosecutors withdraw charges against Danser, Farris and Pauley. After Tice's decision to plead not guilty, prosecutors' cases against the three men, which depended on Tice's cooperation and testimony, begin to crumble. Prosecutors laid out two choices for Farris, Danser and Pauley -- plead guilty to rape and the murder charges will be dismissed, or walk free today but face the possibility of being charged with capital murder again.

June 2, 1999: Charges against Omar Ballard are changed to capital murder, rape and robbery.

June 14, 1999: Trial of Eric C. Wilson begins, with Judge Poston presiding. Wilson is found guilty of rape but is acquitted of murder. The jury recommends a jail term of 8 years.

September 8, 1999: Judge Poston sentences Eric C. Wilson to 8 years' imprisonment.

September 8, 1999: Judge Poston sentences Joseph. J. Dick, Jr. to two life terms without parole.

November 22, 1999: Judge Poston grants a change of venue to Derek Tice. The trial will be held in Arlington, Virginia.

February 11, 2000: Jury returns a verdict of guilty on the charges of both rape and murder against Derek Tice. The only item of evidence the prosecution had was Derek Tice's signed statement to police.

March 22, 2000: Omar Ballard pleads guilty to the rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko and is immediately sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment by Judge Poston.

June 7, 2000: Motion to set aside verdict denied: Derek Tice sentenced to two life terms in prison by Judge Poston.

July 25, 2000: The Virginia Court of Appeals declined to overturn the conviction of Danial Williams. The Court ruled that Williams had entered his guilty plea knowingly and voluntarily, and therefore Judge Poston had correctly sentenced Williams to two life terms. Williams attempted to change his plea at his sentencing hearing, but was denied by Judge Poston.

Norfolk Police Legal Right's Form PD 381. Each question is followed by Omar Ballard's written responses.

(1) Do you understand that you have the right to remain silent? Yes

(2) Do you understand that any statement you make may be used as evidence against you in a court of law? Yes

(3) Do you understand that you have a right to talk to a lawyer and to have the lawyer present during all questioning, if you so desire? Yes

(4) Do you understand that if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, a lawyer will be appointed to represent you and be present during all questioning, if you so desire? Yes

(5) The above rights have been fully explained to me, and I sign this paper with complete understanding of them. Yes

(6) I further state that I waive these rights and desire to make a statement. Yes

(7) This statement is completely free and voluntary on my part without any threat or promise from anyone. Yes

Investigator Ford:

Q. State your full name.
A. Omar Abdul Ballard.
Q. Date of birth?
A. 06/14/78
Q. Social Security number?
A. 222-48-1413
Q. You're currently in the August County Penitentiary?
A. Yes
Q. How far did you go in school?
A. Tenth grade.
Q. Can you read and write?
A. Yes.
Q. I want you to tell me in your own words -- wait a minute, back up a second. I show you Norfolk Police Legal Rights Form PD 381 and ask you if you read and understand this form?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you mark yes to all seven questions on this form?
A. Yes.
Q. Is this your signature at the bottom of the form?
A. Yes.
Q. Understanding these legal rights, do you desire to make this statement?
A. Yes.
Q. Tell me in your own words what you know in reference to this offense. Start out at the beginning, go all the way through it.
A. All right. I was at Karen and Kumani's house and I left to go to Tamika's house. Well, that was my intentions. I stopped at Michelle's house. You know, she told me that it was drinks in the refrigerator, and the phone was over in the corner if I needed to use it, and she went to the bedroom. I don't know what she was doing in the bedroom. I was sitting down drinking, so she came back out. We was talking. About half an hour, 45 minutes later, we went in the bedroom. We had sex. All right. I was getting up to leave, but she was still in the room, so when I was leaving, I don't know, I guess something just ticked in my head, and I went to the kitchen, got a knife, went back to the room. She was getting up off the bed or she was already up off the bed when I stabbed her in the chest one time. Then when she got on the floor, I think I stabbed her about two or three more times. I'm not quite sure. After that, I left the house and went to Tamika's house.

Q. Describe the knife you got out of the kitchen.
A. Brown handle with ridges on it about four or five inches long.
Q. You had been to Michelle Bosko's house before?
A. Yes.
Q. When did you first meet Michelle Bosko?
A. At the swimming pool in Bayshore Gardens.
Q: About how long before this night?
A. About two months.
Q. How many times had you been over her house in that two months?
A. One time with her and Tamika and one time with just her and her husband, and the night it happened.
Q. So Michelle knew you, and that's why she had no problems when you came and knocked on the door?
A. Yes.
Q. She invited you in?
A. Yes.
Q. What -- you say at that point, you drank -- what did you drink?
A. At her house?
Q. Yes.
A. A beer.
Q. And then you all just talked for about 45 minutes?
A. Yes. We were sitting talking.
Q. Then you end up in the bedroom. She willingly goes in the bedroom?
A. Yes.
Q. And she willingly has sex with you?
A. Yes.
Q. If she willingly had sex with you, what made you snap and go get a knife?
A. I don't know. I guess I was just drunk and thinking about my mother.
Q. Do you resent your mother?
A. Yes, a lot.
Q. For what?
A. She gave me up when I two years old.
Q. So this night, you just snapped and went back and got a knife and came back and stabbed Michelle?
A. Yes.
Q. Did she say anything to you?
A. No. She was in a daze when I came back in the room with the knife.
Q. After you stabbed her, what did you do?
A. After I stabbed her, I'm not sure. I think I dropped the knife and walked out of the apartment.
Q. Did you remove anything from the apartment?
A. $35.00 That's it.
Q. Where was the $35.00?
A. On the table in the dining room/living room.
Q. Do you remember the denominations of the money?
A. I know it was all $10's and a $5, three $10's and a $5.
Q. You were banned from this apartment complex; correct?
A. Yes.
Q. Why was that?
A. Because a resident there said I robbed her and beat her, me and another man.
Q. Did Michelle Bosko and her husband stand up for you during that?
A. Yes, they did.

Investigator Peterson:
Q. Was anybody with you during this offense?
A. No.

Investigator Ford:
Q. Did you see anyone outside when you -- before or after this offense?
A. No.
Q. Did you talk to anyone about this offense?
A. Never.

Investigator Peterson:
Q. Do you remember if you locked the door when you left?
A. I'm not quite sure if I did or didn't.
Q. When you initially went to the apartment, did you know if Michelle was alone or not?
A. No, I didn't.

Investigator Ford:
Q. You know there's seven other people charged with this offense. Were they with you?
A. No.
Q. Do you know any of them?
A. Just one, Eric Wilson, and that's from the jail only.
Q. And how do you know him?
A. Because we was in the same part in the jail.

Investigator Peterson:
Q. Do you know if Michelle had any problems with any of the seven?
A. No. I don't even know if she ever had physical contact with them.

Investigator Ford:
Q. Did Michelle ever tell you anything about Danial Williams who lived across the hall?
A. Yes.
Q. What?
A. That he was stalking her.
Q. But he wasn't with you that night?
A. No.
Q. Have you ever talked to Danial Williams?
A. Never.

Investigator Peterson:
Q. What type of sex did you have with Michelle?
A. Consensual sex, you know.
Q. Vaginal, oral, or anal?
A. Oh, vaginal.

Investigator Ford:
Q. Did you ever hit her?
A. Never.
Q. Did you ever do anything other than just stab her?
A. Never.
Q. When you left the apartment, was she dead or do you know?
A. No, When I was leaving out, she was moaning.

Investigator Peterson:
Q. Are you sorry now for what happened to Michelle?
A. I mean, yes, I guess. I don't know.

Investigator Ford:
Q. When these people were being arrested, why didn't you come forward?
A. I don't know. I'm not sure.
Q. But you don't recall when you left the apartment if you locked the door or left it unlocked?
A. No. I'm not sure -- well, really I was in a rush to get out, so I couldn't have locked it, but I'm not sure if I did or didn't.
Q. About what time of night was this?
A. About 2:30, 3:00 o'clock.
Q. In the morning?
A. In the morning.
Q. Did Michelle tell you anything about her husband, where he was?
A. No, she didn't.
Q. Did it seem strange to you that he wasn't there that night?
A. Yes.
Q. And you never asked where he was?
A. Nope.
Q. Why did you take the money?
A. I don't know. I just took it to get drunk, I guess, or to get some weed or something.
Q. Have you ever had sex with Michelle Bosko before?
A. Yes, one time.
Q. Where at?
A. In her apartment.
Q. And who was in the apartment then?
A. Just me and her.

Investigator Peterson:
Q. How long before this offense did you have sex with her?
A. About a month.

Investigator Ford:
Q. Is there anything you wish to add to this statement?
A. No, just them four people that opened their mouths is stupid.
Q. Is this statement true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
A. Yes, it is.
Q. Was this statement given without any threat or promise from any member of the Norfolk Police Department or myself?
A. Yes, it was.

Statement ends at 15:32 hours.
Homicide Section/Detective Division
03/05/99-KPJ-TAPE (Ballard)

Following is a transcription of a letter that Omar Ballard wrote to a female acquaintance, in which he admits murdering Michelle Moore-Bosko. Please be warned -- this letter is graphic and may be considered obscene.

Dear Karen & Kumani & family Whats up? Well yeah i decided to write, i wasn't going to but i was thinking about yall & nothing more just thinking. Hows the kids doing? Yall could have wrote me or something, but i forgot yall to buys. Yall know what yall buggs me out, i read old letters yall wrote me and i just threw them all away. Aint no need to hold on to something that aint there no more or if it was ever there cause if it was i wont be saying this. You know i dont even feel for nobody no more, i knew i was going to do this bid alone from the start, i just was denying myself of what i was feeling, but heh reality is real and aint nothing fake about this. Know what Karen this Is to you i have another family, people who will save my life, who will die for me if neccasary, who give me what i want, who never front on me, who don't deny their feelings towards me, who talks to me constanly, whose always with me, the nation that is 5%er nation, that's right, you said i do things for every body else well im doing this for me, cause i want and you or nobody else can change my mind. You wanted to know how i really felt about you & i told you, you never even wrote back to say f*** you or nothing. I was keeping it real with you, but you know what it don't pay to keep it real with nobody that don't keep it real with you. Hatred in my heart is thick, Aint no forgiving you or nobody else. im glad im in here for real cause i aint got time for four people and yeah this from my mouth nobody pushed me to say it. Nobody know what im going through so don't try and understand me, And one last thing you remember that night I went to mommies house and the next morning Michelle got killed guess who did that, Me HA, HA. It wasn't the first time. Im good aint i. I don't give a f*** about nobody, if i was out i would have killed that bitch down the street from you too. Cheek i know everything that happens out there even before you tell me, about you -- whoever else i want to know about. Yo dealing with a person in me you don't even know about. Tell the police, tell the FBI, tell anybody who gives a f***, not me. You thought you knew me, you don't Karen, trust me yall don't. Nobody knows me Im untouchable Karen. And im coming. When you think about me do your p**** get wet, Hot, do your nipples get hard to you want for me to touch you, to kiss your nipples to rub your c*******, to sink my 10-1/2 inch d*** in your wet p****, do you Karen, If i would have stayed 3 more months Karen it would have happened me you, having sex. Do you think about me licking your p**** Karen, stroking you from the back, Do you think of me rubing your a** Karen, stroking my fingers in and out of your p**** making you come didn't you want me to do that, To push you against the wall, wrap your legs around my waist grab your hair and f*** you Karen. Hell yeah you wanted it, cause you know i was f***ing all them bitch, yeah the d*** is big Karen, big enough for you to sit on and ride, up and down, back and forth to put between your t******, to suck in your mouth with those big pink lips. That's what Michelle did, sucked that big d**** and sat on it Karen you don't know who you f***ing with boo Im going to give you I week to write me and send me some nasty pictures of yourself or money or im going to put you in checkmate, its your move don't f*** you or your lucks up, cause im locked up don't mean sh**, I call or letter and you gone boo, don't think im playing cause you will be sorry, don't tell nobody cause ILL find out, save pictures of you in panties-bra and a nasty letter and money or you'll be with Michelle in hell Two face "AB"

Comments written in the margins:

The word is already out on you Karen and if i don't write my man back in 1 week you Dead bitch, slowly, The you gone get f***ed in ya a** & p**** the t****** cut off, Don't tell nobody not ABB not nobody do what i say and live do not and die. talk to you later HA - HA

If my partner don't get a letter from me you dead in 1 week so please do you a favor send the pictures & money

No fun when i got the gon

Baw bitch you dead.

End of Omar Ballard's letter.

Most of the information above was obtained from articles published in the Virginian Pilot newspaper. Some facts were obtained from defense lawyers, and some from personal experience. I am the father of Derek Tice. After contacting over 79 people and organizations about this, I have come to the realization that people and organizations are not likely to help or even give advice, until it affects them personally. I will continue my efforts to make a difference, but who will be the next victim of a system gone awry?

Email Larry A. Tice: LTice22433@aol.com

Justice Denied

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