18-Year-Old Murder Conviction of Lawrence Paine Raises Doubts: Suppressed Video, Hidden Gun, and Controversial Witness Cast Shadow on Wisconsin’s Case

Frank Report is investigating the conviction of Lawrence C. Paine, currently serving life in prison for the first-degree murders of Janari Saddler, 28, and Aaron Harrington, 22, on April 10, 2004.

The murders were two of 103 homicides in 2004 in Milwaukee, about half of them in a single zip code – 53206 – one of some 30-plus zip codes in the city.

Zip code 53206 – 95 percent black – is less than 10 percent of the city’s population, with thousands of vacant homes or empty lots where homes once were. It is the “most incarcerated zip code” in the state, with most of its men having spent some time in jail or prison, mostly related to their principal business: cash sales of illegal drugs. 


Saturday, April 10, 2004

Around 4:19 am, two 911 calls from nearby payphones reported a shooting at a duplex at 3011A North 24th Place, Milwaukee, zip code 53206.

Neither caller provided details of the shooter.

Milwaukee police arrived at the duplex, went down the driveway and through the side door, went upstairs, and found the slain — Saddler in the bathroom, on the floor, and Harrington on the floor in the back bedroom. 

3011 N. 24th Place, where Harrington and Saddler were murdered

There were no signs of forced entry. No one else was inside the home. 

The police took photographs of the crime scene and dusted for fingerprints. They began collecting evidence: in the living room, they found, recently consumed, three Sprite cans, two Minute Maid bottles, two water bottles, six Miller beer bottles, three Miller beer cans, and three cigarette butts.

Police also recovered five fired silver “WIN” cartridge cases and one gold “WCC” bullet casing scattered from the kitchen to a bedroom and the bathroom.

The famous homicide detective Gilberto Hernandez led the investigation with his partner Detective Katherine Hein.

There were 9 DNA samples found at the apartment. DNA evidence identified six men at the scene of the crime – Donta Caprice Weddle, Eric D Howard, Ronald Q Terry, Wiley D. Malette, Victor Donte Lee, and Ronald Banks.

Police did not question all of them.

Lawrence Paine’s DNA was not found at the scene.

The bullet examination showed the type of gun:


Sherika Ray

Sherika D. Ray lived on the downstairs floor of the duplex. She told police that between 4 and 4:15 am, she heard voices arguing, then louder noises on the ceiling. She believed people were physically fighting.

After hearing gunshots, she looked out her bedroom window and saw maybe ten people running from the house, out the side door, down the driveway, headed down the street, fleeing west, which is to say that at the end of the driveway, they turned right. 

She was afraid for her children and her life. Someone tried to kick her door in. And some people came to her residence, and when she said she did not know who did the killing or anything else, they accused her of knowing more about the incident than she told. 

Though police did not accuse her of the same, it turned out she knew more than she told them.

Weddell Statement

April 10

That evening, police found and interviewed a man they learned was at the house – Donta Caprice Weddell.

According to Weddell, he arrived around 2:30 pm on April 9. About 30 minutes later, someone with a nickname that started with a ‘C’ came. The three began smoking marijuana and drinking together. 

He told police that around 4 pm, George ‘G’ Donald arrived and took Weddell to buy beer. They picked up a woman and brought her to the home. When they got back, Donald left, and the woman went into the duplex with Weddell.

Weddell said the woman then went with Harrington to the back bedroom, the one where he was found slain, and the woman and Harrington had sex.

Afterward, Weddell himself and the woman had sex. Then Harrington and the woman returned to the bedroom again. 

At about 7 pm, Weddell said, “C’ and Saddler began arguing about a woman in the kitchen. Weddell decided to leave. 

He recounted a story that later proved false: He said he met up with George Donald and drove around town until 3:20 am.  Then he went home and was let into the house by his mother. 

That Donald left and spent hours with Weddell contradicts others’ statements, including Donald himself.

At least one person did not believe Weddell left when he said.

Harrington’s cousin, Victor Lee, who used the duplex as his base for drug sales, confronted Weddell about his claim that he was not at the scene at the time of the murders.

Weddell and the two men got into a physical altercation. Weddell told police that this trial by combat demonstrated to Lee that he was telling the truth. Others say Weddell was beaten and changed his story.

April 12

Police interviewed Derek Reed, a neighbor, who told them he had seen the late Saddler and Harrington on April 9. 

Reed provided Harrington with a ride, picking up Harrington and dropping him off. He also saw Rodney Hudson at the house.

April 15 — Hudson Interview

Police met with Hudson five days after the murders. He admitted he was at the murder home the night of the double murders. 

Hudson said Lawrence Paine arrived at 5 pm and stayed the whole evening, never leaving – something we now know is a lie.  

Hudson said he stayed until 2 am, then went to the gas station to get soda and blunts. When he returned 10 minutes later, Sadler, Harrington, Weddell, Paine, Donald, and a man named Johnny were talking and smoking marijuana. “Everything was cool;” there were no arguments. 

Later, Paine and Saddler got up and went to the kitchen. Hudson heard a gunshot, followed by a 30-second pause. Hudson said he heard more shots. Paine was the shooter. Everyone fled. 

He and Donald drove to a house around the corner, where Donald called the police. Then they fled the scene. 

For reasons best known to the State of Wisconsin, the prosecution never called Hudson to testify.

April 16

Donald’s Statement

The following day, police located George ‘G’ Donald. He admitted to  police that he was in the murder residence when the victims were shot. He contradicted Weddell’s claim that he had left and said Weddell was present. [the State never called Weddell.]

More significantly, Donald put the finger on Paine. He also lied about Hudon being at the murder home. When confronted with the fact that Hudson admitted he was there, Donald lied again and said he may have been in another room  in the small apartment. 

Weddell said Donald was with him and not at the murder house.

Donald said he was there and he said Paine was there the entire evening, never leaving into the morning hours.  We now know that this was a lie.

Donald then told police the story they would use to convict Paine.

Donald said he observed Saddler and Paine discussing where Paine’s station wagon was parked. Saddler did not want the station wagon, which Saddler believed was stolen, to draw attention to the drug house. 

Donald said he saw Paine “out of nowhere” pull out a black semi automatic handgun and fire it, killing Saddler. Then he killed Harrington. 

Donald admitted he called 9-11 after fleeing the scene.

This strange story – of a suddenly angry Paine [whose DNA is nowhere to be found despite his presence for hours – drinking and smoking as the witnesses said] killing two men in front of a group of 8 or more men – men who were drug dealers and gang members-  was bought wholesale by Detective Hernandez and his partner Detective Hein.

And as we shall see, the State was not interested in calling any other witnesses, but Donald and his tight companion and fellow gang member Eric Howard, who coincidentally was the other man who called 9-11, almost as if they had it staged.

April 29

Howard’s Statement

Police learned from Saddler’s brother that Eric Howard was present.

Detective Hernandez interviewed Howard. It was 20 days since the murders, and whether Hernandez rehearsed Howard or he collaborated with Donald, his story was spot on.

Howard stated that the late Saddler and Paine got into an argument over a parked car and Paine suddenly pulled out a weapon. The shooting happened fast. Howard ran outside. He believed Rodney Hudson and LZ ‘Meaty’ Jolly [fellow gang members] were there and also fled the scene.

It never occurred to Hernandez and Hein, or maybe it did, but they did not want to pursue it. Perhaps they were taking a cut of the profits – that this smelled much more like a robbery than a crazed man who came in and murdered over a temper tantrum in front of the gang and managed to leave without any fingerprints or DNA evidence.

But it was good enough for Hernandez.

Paine Learns He is Suspect

Lawrence Paine said he was in Minnesota when a man whose nickname was Skin called him about the murders. Paine later testified he remained in the Minneapolis area until May 2. 

He traveled from Minneapolis to Whitewater, Wisconsin, to stay with Zenobia Davis, a woman he met in Minneapolis.

In Whitewater, he heard from his mother that he was on the news – wanted in connection with the murders. 

He returned to Milwaukee and went to the police.

May 9 Mother’s Day

Lawrence Paine

Paine turned himself in. He would never leave custody from that day.

He told police in a series of eight-hour interrogations that he did not commit the murders and presented many details to support his alibi. 

Paine explained that on the evening of the shooting, he was not at the murder house- though he knew the two dead men. 

He was at Club Paradise, a strip club, on the south side of the city. He was with Skin Blackman (Paine did not know his first name at the time, but knew him as Skin Blackman). 

At the club, Paine gave details. He said he spoke with a delivery driver to ask if he could order a pizza. Paine said he left the club around 1:30 am with Skin, came back to the club to get the phone number of a dancer and then decided to drive to Minneapolis – not in a stolen car but in his own junker – an old station wagon.

It was the Easter weekend, and he wanted to see his young son, who lived there with his son’s mother.  

He made the five plus hour drive. When he reached the city, it was early morning. He went to a Super 8 hotel, where he had stayed before and checked in.

Three weeks later – on May 2, he went from Minnesota to Madison, Wisconsin, to visit a romantic interest, Zenobia Davis. He was there about a week before learning he was the main suspect of the double murder.

Paine provided police with Skin’s cell phone number. Police did not find Skin. How hard they looked is open to debate. 

It was curious. While the prosecution did everything in their power to convince the jury that Skin was a fictional character, and Paine had no record of his existence — he did not even know his first name, the police — and the prosecutors in their files knew well that he was real. Their files show they knew his first name, and his middle name — Anthony Mendez ‘Skin’ Blackman.

Zenobia Davis Interview

While police never found Skin, Hein and Hernandez interviewed Zenobia Davis, the woman Paine had stayed with for a week before his surrender to police.

Davis told Hernandez that she knew Skin from “a long time ago” and provided Skin’s cell phone number, although “Davis also explained to police that Skin had told her he was not answering the police calls and had changed his cell phone number because he had outstanding warrants and was afraid of going to jail.”  

Davis said Skin telephoned Paine when he discovered police believed Paine was involved in the shootings. Skin saw Paine’s photo on television as wanted by police.    

Zenobia Davis

Davis told police that although she only heard Paine’s side of the phone conversation, she heard Paine tell Skin, “Dog, I was at a club on the south side, Dog, wasn’t I with you? Yeah, yeah, okay.”  

Davis told police that after Paine turned himself in, Skin telephoned, telling her not to worry, because Paine “would probably be out in a couple days.”  

Club Paradise Tape;

May 11

Detectives Hernandez and Hein went to Club Paradise to try to obtain the surveillance tape for April 9. They spoke with the manager, Lloyd H. Geske, who said Club Paradise had only 31 tapes numbered for each day of the month, and they taped over the last one each month. 

Geske thought the April 9 recording would likely be taped over. He checked, and by a stroke of luck, it was not – because security failed to replace the tape on May 9, 2004.

Detectives Hernandez recovered the VHS tape of the security footage in the Club for April 9, but did not report its contents. 

As we shall see, he never allowed the defense to view its real contents.

October 19

Ronald Q. Terry Arrested

About six months after the murders, Milwaukee police raided a suspected drug house, purportedly run by the Brothers of Struggle, a street gang, at 3434 N 22nd, Milwaukee, WI, 53206.

3434 N 22nd, Milwaukee, WI, 53206

As police arrived, they spotted two individuals outside. Both fled, one to the front of the house, and the other, wearing a black T-shirt with a large Al Capone photo on the front, threw away a bag of cocaine and ran into the house through the side door.

When officers entered the residence, the man with the black Al Capone t-shirt ran up the wooden stairs. The reporting officer heard the distinct sound of metal striking wood. 

In the staircase, officers found a 9mm Luger caliber, semi-automatic pistol manufactured by Sturm Ruger, with one round in the chamber and nine more in the magazine -brass and stamped “WIN” – the same as those identified by the crime lab months earlier in the shooting deaths of Harrington and Saddler.

Ronald Q. Terry was the man with the Capone t-shirt. Police arrested him.

By a singular coincidence, not only was his gun the same kind as was used in the double homicide of Saddler and Harrington – but, as testing proved, his DNA matched one of the nine DNA samples at the murder scene. Q Terry’s DNA was found on a beer can, a soda can, and a cigarette butt on the morning of the murders. 

Note one more oddity: One of the other men at the October drug house bust – Ronald Banks  – was connected to the double homicide. Banks DNA was also found there.

What are the odds of finding the same kind of gun at a drug raid that killed two people and two people at the drug raid happened to be at the murder house the night of the murders?

And what are the odds that police and the prosecutors would know this and not call these men. Or better yet properly test the gun?

Officers recognized Q Terry’s firearm should be tested against the evidence at the double homicide crime scene, and even recommended it.

FR could write a whole story on what happened to that gun, of how it changed hands nine times in the chain of custody, and how police suppressed, never shared with the defense, and/or never made a report on whether it was/was not the murder gun. 

They only issued a report without any supporting evidence that it was not the gun, and got rid of it – handing it back to the police officer who actually owned it and reported it stolen.

And to make things just a hair more suspicious, the officer who heard the gun, Ala Awadallah, was later arrested for planting evidence on innocent men to convict them.

Ala Awadallah, one of the officers who made Milwaukee famous….

As we hall see, long after the trial, a forensic examiner made a ballistic report, and the bullets fired from this gun matched the bullet recovered at the Harrington and Saddler murder scene.

That and the fact that Q Terry’s DNA matched DNA at the murder house [along with Banks] should have made police wonder if they had the right suspect – presupposing they wanted the right suspect. 

But there is more.

As the trial of Lawrence Paine approached, Detective Hernandez went to see the downstairs neighbor Sherika Ray, the woman who had told police shortly after the shooting that she witnessed 10 men fleeing the scene.    

February 1, 2005

Detective Hernandez went to Sherika Ray to serve her with a subpoena. She began “crying and shaking” due to the fear of testifying in court. 

Now, Ray told Hernandez more than she had previously, and it contradicted the whole State’s theory that the motive of the shooting was Paine acting in a fit of anger over a parked car. 

Ray described the events of the evening in more detail. The music was loud. As she said before, she heard loud voices arguing and sounds on her ceiling like people “wrestling” upstairs. 

Then she told the police something altogether new.

She heard a confrontation in the kitchen and someone saying, “Are you going to rob me? Are you going to shoot me?” 

Ray smoved her stove to block the doorway and heard a gunshot. A group of people fled the premises, including at least one woman. 

Then she heard through the vent someone begging for his life saying, “Don’t shoot me” and another shot rang.

Then a second group ran out. Three or four people got into a station wagon and another individual entered a newer vehicle. She heard a passenger screaming, “Are you going to leave me? Are you going to leave me?”

The robbery angle was bad enough for the State’s ready-to-go case against Paine.  This case was wrapped in a box with a tidy bow – angry Paine shot and killed in a fit of rage.  

Now she heard it was a robbery?

But it got worse. Ray, fearful but trying to do the right thing, told Detective Hernandez probably the last thing he wanted to hear.

It was about Ronald Q. Terry, the man in the Capione T-shirt, who had the matching gun and whose DNA was at the murder scene.

She said after Q. Terry was arrested and police took his gun, while he was in jail – in October 2004 – Terry called her to ask what she knew about the double homicide. 

This call was obvious to Ray. He did not have to say more. She understood that something would happen to her if she cooperated with the police. 

Ray told Q. Terry on the phone that she did not witness anyone. 

Sometime after Q. Terry got out of jail, around Thanksgiving, he came to see her and he drove her to a residence around 22nd Street. 

Terry brought her inside. There she recognized Rodney Hudson, LZ ‘Meaty’ Jolly, and George Donald – all men who had been at the house the night of the double murder.  

LZ ‘Meaty’ Jolly was later shot and killed in 2019

They managed to let Ray see the weapons on their persons – a not so subtle non-verbal message.

Hudson questioned Ray about what she knew about the shooting and what she told the police. 

Ray told the four gangsters that she never said anything other than people were running out of the house after there were some gunshots. 

Meaty said, “There are some people here that are playing both sides,” which Ray understood to mean her, and that they thought she was ratting them to the police. 

Ray felt intimated, and Q. Terry and his associates felt they had delivered their message. They allowed her to walk away. 

After hearing her story just days before the trial, one would assume that Detective Hernandez would have blown the whole case against Paine up. and gone after these men.

Why Paine’s DNA was not at the crimes scene. Only these men [counting gang member Eric Howard] were the witnesses.

He must have known that Paine, might not be the murderer. Her must have known that Sherika Ray would hurt their case, especially if she testified that Q. Terry, Donald, Hudson, and Jolly – all at the murder scene -[as she likely knew] and that they tried to intimidate her into not cooperating with the police in finding the real murderer and the real motive – robbery not temper tantrum.  

Happily, Paine was in jail and could not do much in his own defense, and he only had a public defender. This was a Wisconsin special – made to order frame up.

No need to intimidate Sherika Ray. No need to disclose to the defense that police found Q. Terry’s DNA at the murder scene, and that he was arrested for drugs and a firearm obtained at his arrest matched the characteristics of the crime scene evidence.

Hernandez did not investigate Ray’s claims or charge Hudson, Terry, Jolly, or Donald for intimidating a witness.

He did not want the witness.

The good detective did not keep this secret from the prosecutors, as records show, but the prosecution worked hard to ensure that the defense and, most importantly, the jury, did not have this information.

Evidence that presented reasonable doubt as to the guilt of their target was conveniently ignored, even avoided. 

The prosecution planned to present Donald as a witness against Paine – one of only two people – out of a dozen witnesses who were there but not called – to testify that Paine was the shooter.

Imagine the irony – the man who points the finger at Paine is the same man who is part of a group of gangsters – who were there at the murder scene – who intimidate a woman into not telling all she knows.  

Sounds legit.

Paine’s First Trial; February 2005

Charged with two counts of first-degree reckless homicide for the shooting deaths of Saddler and Harrington, Paine was tried before a jury, with Judge David A. Hansher presiding. 

Paine’s public defender was Richard Paulson. 

The central question was identification. The State had no scientific evidence to show the shooter was Paine. Despite extensive DNA testing at the crime scene, among the several DNA profiles found at the scene of the shooting, none of them matched Paine’s DNA. 

The State could not locate Donald. They chose not to call Sherika Ray or any other witnesses to the killing except Eric Howard, who said Paine killed the two men. 

Paine did not testify in his defense.

Zenobia Davis attended the trial, but the defense did not call her as a witness.

The trial ended in a mistrial, when the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Paine’s Second Trial; June 2005

The State decided to retry Paine.  Judge Hansher presided again.

Judge David A. Hansher

The theory the State presented was that Paine had a temper tantrum when challenged about where his car was parked and decided to shoot two of his friends in front of as many as a dozen witnesses, only two of whom were called. 

The State relied on the testimony of George Donald and Eric Howard. 

The jury did not hear that Donald was with Q. Terry when they intimidated Sherika Ray. 

But Donald and Howard were clear about one thing: when the shots were fired, everyone fled immediately.

The absence of Paine’s DNA was a problem for the State the last time. This time the State called an evidence technician who testified that fingerprints might be lost if they were wiped away.

Then the State called Howard, who testified to something he had never said to the police or during the first trial.

He testified to Paine “saying something like wipe off something.” 

Paine’s defense counsel did not challenge Howard like everyone fled fast and no one stopped to wipe off anything.

Then the State called Donald, but he did not testify live. The judge gave the State permission to take a video of Donald’s testimony and play it for the jury. 

Donald, in the video, said Paine was there all night and left after he killed the men. 

Donald contradicted Paine’s claim that he was at Club Paradise that night. He lied of course,

Then came the State’s gun expert, Mark Simonson, who testified the murder weapon would likely be a 9mm Luger semi-automatic caliber pistol manufactured by Sturm Ruger [the same type of firearm taken during the Q. Terry arrest]. But he testified that no gun was ever given to him to examine.

State expert, Mark Simonson of Forensic Firearm and Tool, LLC

Skin did not testify, because police either could not or did not wish to locate him. 

Instead, the prosecution sought to have the jury infer that he was a fictional character. 

No one called Zenobia Davis. Her testimony would have corroborated Skin’s existence, as opposed to Paine having made Skin up to provide himself with an alibi, corroborated Skin’s fear of talking with police, and bolstered Paine’s credibility. 

Paine’s Testimony

Paine was it and his whole alibi was Skin.

He could not produce Skin. Consequently, Paine had to tell the jury about Skin by himself.    

He told the jury, as he told the police in numerous interrogations, that he and Skin were at Club Paradise on the night of the murders.

Paine picked up Skin around 8:00 pm. They drove around, then “a little bit after ten o’clock [they] went to the Paradise Strip Club.” 

Inside the Club, Paine asked a pizza delivery man, a white man, slim, about six feet tall with brown hair – if he could order a pizza from him, but the driver said this was the last delivery of the night. 

He and Skin stayed until the “last call,” which Paine guessed was probably 1:30 am. He left the Club, but a few minutes later, he returned to ask one of the dancers for her phone number. 

Paine testified they stopped for gas, after which he dropped Skin off.

Later, around 2:30 to 3:00 am, Paine left Milwaukee and drove to see his young son, who lived with his son’s mother in Minneapolis. He arrived at the Golden Valley Super 8 hotel in the morning of April 10 – about four hours after the murders. 

Super 8 Hotel Alibi 

Paine told police he checked in at the Super 8 hotel in Golden Valley, Minnesota, around 8 –8:30 am. 

If Paine checked in at 8:30 am on April 10, it would not have likely given Paine time to drive from the murder house in Milwaukee to Golden Valley if he had killed Harrington and Saddler at around 4 am. 

The trip without making any stops is at least five hours. 

Paine’s story sounded suspicious. He said when he arrived at the Super 8, the front desk clerk told him he could only have the room for a few hours before he would either have to leave at 11:00 am or pay for another day. But the man cut Paine a deal and listed his check-in time at 11 am, so he would not be charged for the morning of April 10. 

To demolish his alibi, the State called the current hotel manager of the Super 8. The hotel manager was new. In fact, she did not work there when Paine checked in more than a year before.

In fact, she had only begun working at Super 8 after a new hotel group purchased the hotel from the group that owned it when Paine was a guest on April 10, 2004. 

She could not factually testify how the hotel operated under the old company, which managed the hotel when Paine visited. But she interpreted the records the state obtained and showed her.

She misinterpreted the records and testified that another man occupied Paine’s room until 9:33 am – contradciting Paine’s story that he checked in at around 8 am. 

She also claimed that letting someone in early and marking them as arriving later was not her hotel’s policy.  

She said, based on the hotel’s policy, if Paine came there today, if it said he entered the room at 11 am, it meant he checked in at 11. 

{In the presentation of the case, the State was smart in not calling Michael D. Humphrey, the hotel manager when Paine stayed there. In fact, he checked Paine in. Paine’s post-conviction team talked to Humphrey some four years after the trial. He reviewed the records the State presented to the jury. In an affidavit, Humphrey asserted that the records revealed that the man the State presented as having been in Paine’s room [#249] until 9:33 am, did indeed check out at 9:33 am but was not in room 249, but room 309. Paine’s room was empty that morning. 

A room at the Golden Valley Super 8

Humphrey saw his handwritten checkout of the man.

If the State called Humphrey would have also told the jury that, when he was there, the hotel often accommodated early arriving guests – if the room was empty – to avoid double charging a guest who comes only hours before checkout time – by handwriting in 11 am. He had done it many times.

But the jury never knew this, and Detective Hein, who sat at the prosecution table, presented a detailed account of Paine’s alibi during the State’s case, even acting as a continuous witness, getting  up in between witnesses to supplement her testimony, which had but one purpose: to destroy Paine’s credibility. 

Hein did something more to bury Paine – and though the good woman is dead and buried herself [and hopefully she rests comfortably while the man she railroaded suffers] she killed his alibi that he was at Club Paradise when she testified there was no evidence from the surveillance footage that Paine was at the Club that night.

July 1 

The jury found Paine guilty of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. Judge Hansher sentenced Paine to two life sentences with no parole. 

Post Conviction: The Gun

It took Paine 13 years to have the Ruger P85 taken at the arrest of Q. Terry analyzed. Paine’s family saved money and retained attorney Michael Soukup, who located the owner of the gun, Glen Hanson, a retired police officer, who had reported it stolen.

Milwaukee police had returned the weapon to Officer Hanson before Paine’s second trial – ensuring it was not in the State’s possession at trial.

In June 2018, Hanson allowed Paine’s attorney to have bullets fired from the gun and tested by a forensics examiner.

The testing showed the firearm shared the characteristics identified in the original Wisconsin lab report: six lands and grooves with a right-hand twist.

This does not prove the gun was the murder gun, but it proves is could have been. 

When you consider the man and his posse were at the murder scene the night of the murder and felt the need to intimidate at least one witness, it does give one pause.

‘Lost’ Video Tape

But perhaps not as much pause as the most recent discovery in the Paine case.

After 18 years, the unedited videotape of Club Paradise on April 9, 2004 came into Paine’s possession.

By a stroke of dumb luck, Paine lost his discovery. When he reordered his discovery, the Milwaukee Police perhaps inadvertently released the original VHS tape, not the edited version made by Hernandez, which did not show Paine at the Club.

At Paine’s trial, the prosecution did everything in their power to discredit Paine’s alibi and the witnesses pinning Paine to the killing – Howard and Donald – both said Paine was there steadily at the murder house and did not leave the scene until he killed the two men. 

But the original VHS tape on April 9 of Club Paradise shows Paine was not lying about being at the strip club.

The original tape – suppressed for 18 years – shows Paine and Skin Blackman enter Club Paradise at 11:33 pm on April 9, 2004.

They approach a counter under a neon sign reading “fine cigars” and stand at the counter.

A few minutes later, a slim white man, about 6 feet tall, is seen carrying a pizza delivery bag. He enters the front door at 11:37.

Paine is seen speaking to the man. 

The footage from the interior of the club was darker than that collected from the parking lot and interior entrance.

Due to the poor quality of the footage, it is not possible to track the movements of Paine and Skin inside the strip club. 

At 1:31 am, however, Paine is seen leaving the main interior room and Skin follows him out the door a few seconds later. 

Parking lot footage moments later shows Paine and Skin walking toward a station wagon. The station wagon can be seen reversing out of the parking lot 19 seconds later and leaving the strip club.

About eight minutes later, at 1:40 am, the vehicle returns to the strip club parking lot. Paine exits the car and enters the club alone. He can be seen walking through the club through other camera footage and approaching a woman sitting at the bar. 

He speaks to the woman for several minutes, then exits the club through the same door. 

The station wagon backs out of the parking space and proceeds out of the parking lot at 1:45 am. 

Legal Remedy

Jason D. Luczak and Nicole M. Masnica of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP represent Paine.

Attorney Jason D. Luczak
Nicole M. Masnica

They are seeking an evidentiary hearing to grant Paine a new trial. 

Detective Hein is dead. Before her death, she was implicated in several wrongful convictions. And the lead detective Gilberto Hernandez, who perhaps should swap places with Paine, was involved in several more wrongful convictions, including coercing witnesses to make false statements and lying about confessions he strangely never recorded.

Milwaukee Police Department detectives Gilberto Hernandez, left, and Katherine Hein…

One case where Hernandez railroaded an innocent man into prison cost the City of Milwaukee $2 million, but only after the man spent six years in prison.

In another case, a man spent 13 years in prison. It cost the City $6.5 million.  In both cases, DNA evidence exonerated them.

Paine has spent 18 years in prison so far, so I would expect the city will fight hard to keep him there rather than pay. 

How many others did Hernandez railroad into prison?

When the last two were exonerated — instead of jailing the criminal Hernandez, he was promoted and went to work for the Wisconsin Department of Justice — such a strange, inappropriate, even Orwellian name.

Such a strange sense of justice in America. Watch now how hard Wisconsin will fight to keep an innocent man in prison, like they did in the past.


Lawrence Paine

About the author

Frank Parlato


Click here to post a comment

  • I once read a statement that if a police/detectives are known to have lied to get someone convicted it dilutes their credibility in other cases & makes them less effective as a officer so why were these same detective still on the force that cost the city of Milwaukee millions of dollars due to Wrongful convictions of innocent people how are they able to make a sworn oath in front of the prosecutor that’s known to look out for cops when they are corrupted evidently it doesn’t matter that corrupted officers are allowed to stay on the force it’s been proven! Milwaukee has a horrible record of keeping corrupt employees on their payrolls an end need to come to practice of Wrongful Convictions! I liken it to illegally kidnapping human being even in some cases people have been exonerated and the system is slow about releasing them!

  • I read the entire case and they allowed these guy’s to change they statements at will even when they tried paine again they impeached him at his second trial over a basketball team color mix up real petty that detective HEIN sat next to the DA and rode the stand like a surf board it’s really amazing that this is allowed to go on when it’s no camera’s I bet this situation is where they don’t speak about it to the media if they thought he was guilty why wouldn’t they want to record him in those 48 hours of interrogations ?

    • Hello Bernice,

      The petition to “Free Lawrence Paine” asks at the end of the petition for “lawmakers and criminal justice officials to prioritize these reforms in order to prevent future wrongful convictions and rectify past injustices”.

      Is there a shorter petition asking one individual, one state office or one federal office to review the case?

      Have you, your friends, family or attorneys contacted The University of Michigan Law School, Michigan State University College of Law and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law?

      They seem like a great resource.

      “The National Registry of Exonerations is a project of the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law. It was founded in 2012 in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence. The Registry also maintains a more limited database of known exonerations prior to 1989 …

      Please note that the National Registry of Exonerations is a research organization. We do not practice law, provide legal advice, or investigate cases. If you are seeking legal assistance, check the Innocence Network list of member organizations in each state that provide legal advice and represent those seeking to prove their innocence.

      Please contact us:

      To tell us about an exoneration that we may have missed

      To correct an error or add information about an exoneration on our list

      For other information about the Registry

      Get Data as Spreadsheet

      Email: NationalRegistryOfExonerations@umich.edu …”

      Catrina Engram wrote, “He needs a new trail and for all the evidence to be looked at.” It seems like that’s what it will take to free him, right?

      • The court extended their reply until August 11 2023 so I am thinking that the judge is now really taking some interest in Lawrence’s case!

      • Thank you so much I will send the Frank Report to all places mentioned above today and welcome all suggestions of delivery and also please feel free to send the Frank Report to anyone who could possibly help us bring this situation to light as Wisconsin has been keeping this hush hush for years denying an innocent man freedom while they eat dinner at night with there family and tuck there kids in bed Mr Paine missed out on all those things and was still a better father to my children from prison than there own father’s who loved close by. This man is innocent and tho our relationship could not survive prison our bond will be locked forever please sign the petition made by Katie Carrow spread the frank report let’s band together and free Laurence Paine

  • How does the same judge continuously deny this hard core evidence? How was Hernandez promoted after costing Milwaukee millions of dollars in wrongful conviction lawsuits? How do we get this into the right place in order that justice may be served because Wisconsin is serving innocent black men with life sentences turning a blind eye to the truth denying all appeal requests shutting it down with non factual excuses as to why they do not want to revisit this!!!

    • We have the same problems down her in Racine Wisconsin, Where the judge’s or DA’s will abuse their power and deny you a new trial even if you have concrete evidence to prove your innocence.
      It has happened to me, I was wrongfully Convicted of domestic abuse against my unfaithful wife of twenty-two years,
      I was Incarcerated for seven years, after the trial I had family witnesses come forward for my wife’s lying motive, the sentencing judge and the prosecuting ADA found out from my Appellate Attorney. They were threatened and Intimidated, even my Appellate Attorney by the Judge, to make it go way to hide the evidence and to this day my children and I still suffer the consequences after serving the time for something I did not do.

  • What were Milwaukee detectives’ recording rules for interrogations in 2004?

    Were there ANY recordings of ANY detective interviews with Lawrence before, during or after the 2004 interrogations?

    Aren’t all police interrogations in murder cases supposed to be recorded?

    Non-Electronic Record Item









  • FR: “He told police in a series of eight-hour interrogations that he did not commit the murders and presented many details to support his alibi.”

    Bernice Paine: “NAACP and the Urban league did nothing these detectives held my son for 48 hours in interrogations rooms and cells with no video footage or recording of what was being said it’s never been no evidence or a
    independent witness.”

    Two days of interrogations in 2004 with video footage and no recordings?

    Milwaukee police detectives didn’t record interrogations in 2004? 🤔

    NAACP: “The NAACP Milwaukee Branch, launched in 1924, is one of the oldest branches in the nation – working in the forefront of the civil rights movement.”​

    Civil rights has to do with justice and freedom. Email addresses at the Milwaukee NAACP:

    President: Clarence Nicholas | president@naacpmke.org

    1st Vice President: Fred Royal | vp1@naacpmke.org

    2nd Vice President: Paul Blackman III | vp2@naacpmke.org

    3rd Vice President: Frederick Nelson | mailto:vp3@naacpmke.org

    Labor, Industry & Criminal Justice: Frieda Webb | labor@naacpmke.org

    Legal Redress: William Sulton Esq. | legal@naacpmke.org

    Religious Affairs: Dr. Genea Williams | religion@naacpmke.org

    The Urban League: The Greater Milwaukee Urban League’s landing page features a full page advertisement for Bill Gates. Unfortunately, the link at the top of The Urban League page to “About GMUL” doesn’t work. The link at the bottom of the page to “About GMUL” doesn’t work, either.

    Here’s contact information on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/urbanleaguemke/

    is responsible for this Page

    435 W North Ave, Milwaukee, WI, United States, Wisconsin

    (414) 374-5850


    If you’re reading this, please send this FR article to the Milwaukee NAACP and The Urban League: https://frankreport.com/2023/07/09/18-year-old-murder-conviction-of-lawrence-paine-raises-doubts-suppressed-video-hidden-gun-and-controversial-witness-cast-shadow-on-wisconsins-case/

    Let’s follow up with phone calls.

    If enough FR people ask the Urban League and the NAACP people to read Frank’s article, what could FR readers accomplish?

    There should be at least one contact person in each state senator’s office to help FR readers work on the case: https://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/14/ballweg

    We can do this.

    It takes one good email, one good phone call, and one good response to get the ball rolling.

    • Hello Beatrice- I couldn’t get the link to open even when I copied and pasted it. Hopefully it’s just my phone but you might want to check.

  • The State on appeal against my son stated boldly that he and his
    alibi was not on the footage which led to him being decided against multiple time’s they lied to the higher court and got away with it ) Frank Parlato is the only one who has brought this violation against my son forward Black lives matters did nothing the
    NAACP and the Urban league did nothing these detectives held my son for 48 hours in interrogations rooms and cells with no video footage or recording of what was being said it’s never been no evidence or a
    independent witness.
    Please help free my Son
    Lawrence Paine.

    • Frank Parlato’s article needs to be submitted to everyone you’ve spoken to in the past and going forward.

      He did all the work for them to easily take it on. I’d contact again- it can’t hurt and you’ll have a record that they ignored what is clear to see.

      Thank you for contacting FR and getting your sons story out. I’m so sorry but believe he will be freed.

    • “DETROIT, MI — Fires, looting, and violence broke out across the city last night, as the Black Lives Matter movement marked the 10-year anniversary of its inception by setting fire to 10 more predominantly black neighborhoods.

      “Why light candles on a cake when you can torch entire neighborhoods?” asked the movement’s co-founder Patrisse Cullors when reached for comment at one of her palatial mansions. “We really want to use this momentous occasion–not only to show the world we’re still here but to remind everyone of the effect we’ve had in black communities for the last 10 years.”

      As dozens of buildings were set ablaze, celebrants engaged in mostly peaceful destruction of property, smashing store windows, overturning vehicles, looting local businesses, and firing celebratory gunshots into the air. “It’s such a historic moment,” said MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. “There’s so much revelry going on out there, you’d think the Pistons just won the NBA Championship. Truly beautiful to see this outpouring of emotion.”

      City and state officials welcomed the celebration. “These raging infernos burning parts of cities to the ground perfectly illustrate the burning desire in our hearts for racial equality,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Nothing declares an undying commitment to raising the black community up to greater prosperity than utterly destroying their neighborhoods. I stand by the BLM movement in their efforts to make life more difficult for black citizens.”


  • Will the unassuming intrepid detective or as I like to think a true equalizer write one more heroic chapter? Not truly heroic – more like the man with no name…..


    What do you say Frank do you got one more chapter in yah or are you done?

  • Democrat run cities are the absolute worst. Most corrupt governments, police forces, prosecutors, judges,etc. Every Frank Report story of corruption, child-trafficking, etc. are all Democrat strongholds. Not to mention all the child sex-trafficking the Biden Administration is facilitating.

  • “He told police in a series of eight-hour interrogations that he did not commit the murders and presented many details to support his alibi.”

  • This article is so well written. He has to be freed! Frank and friends please save this guy. I’m afraid for his life. I hope Hernandez chokes on a peach pit.

  • Hernandez and Hein are criminals – or at best incompetent and reckless – their “errors” took years from lives of the innocent and cost millions of taxpayer money.

    How is it they maintain their job with such records?

  • Can Paine take your article and submit to the Innocence Project? They’ve got the power and it looks like a great deal of the work had been done for them.

  • Hein is the criminal here. No conscience whatsoever.

    Clearly Paine is innocent. Brilliant job deciphering the truth of what occurred and laying it out so carefully.

    Paine must be freed. Unfortunate it’s going to come down to money. Much easier to protect state interest.

    • It’s not easier.

      It’s always eventually infinitely more difficult for everyone in every way when we keep allowing these cases to go unnoticed and uncorrected. How many local tax dollars are spent mismanaging those cases?

      How much damage and how “much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid”?

      • Every year from now on, some of those billions
        must be sent to repair every inner city gangsta rap destroyed
        until all of those inner cities and all of those beautiful families are made whole again.


About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com


Discover more from Frank Report

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading