Perjury Botches Murder-for-Hire Trial

With the growing popularity and accessibility of DNA evidence, convicted criminals are being cleared of their crimes in unprecedented numbers. But sometimes, as is the case with David Hinkson’s murder-for-hire trial, a much simpler piece of evidence can lead to a retrial.

After being sentenced to 33 years in prison for attempting to hire a man to kill three federal agents, Hinkson was initially denied a retrial, even though the chief witness against him was shown to have lied on the stand. Thank goodness he had a criminal defense attorney fighting for him.

According to, here’s what occurred that led to a questionable conviction for such a serious crime.

David Hinkson, a multimillionaire and tax protestor, reportedly ran an Internet company called WaterOz that sold upscale mineral water. It seems some of Hinkson’s marketing claims were questionable, and three federal agents launched an investigation into his business.

Here’s what happened.

The agents apparently found evidence of tax evasion and other related crimes, and charged Hinkson. That’s when things get fishy. Sources indicate that Hinkson then attempted to find a hit man to bump off the three federal agents – an IRS taxman, a federal prosecutor and a district judge – who were in charge of the case against him.

In order for Hinkson to be convicted of plotting a murder-for-hire scheme, witnesses and evidence would have to prove that his intent was serious. At first, it looked like the prosecution was able to do just that.

Elven Joe Swisher, who apparently testified that Hinkson had attempted to hire him to murder the three federal agents, noted during his testimony that he fought and received a Purple Heart in the Korean War. Reports show that he even went so far as to produce a forged document of authenticity for his decoration.

But Hinkson’s criminal defense lawyers later proved that Swisher perjured himself at trial – that is, he never served in active duty in Korea and certainly never received a Purple Heart. Despite proof that the prosecution’s star witness was a liar and a forger, the original judge reportedly failed to grant Hinkson a retrial, and sent him to prison to begin serving his sentence.

According to the, though, an appeals court voted 2-1 to overturn the ruling of the original judge, granting Hinkson a new trial. Sources note that, regardless of the outcome of the retrial, Hinkson will serve 10 years for tax crimes.

It seems defense lawyers have reason to believe that the evidence of Swisher’s perjured testimony could prove “disastrous” to a second criminal trial.