A man who confessed to three murders he did not commit and spent more than three years in prison has died at age 68.
George Whitmore Jr. died Oct. 8 in a Wildwood, N.J., nursing home. The Radzieta Funeral Home in Cape May Courthouse, N.J., said services will be Thursday. His daughter Regina Whitmore told The New York Times that he died of a heart attack.
Whitmore was 19 in April 1964 when he was picked up in Brooklyn for questioning about an attempted rape.
By the time his interrogation ended several days later, Whitmore had confessed to the attempted rape, to the murder a few weeks earlier of another woman in Brooklyn and also to the murders of two young women in Manhattan in August 1963.
Whitmore later recanted the confessions and maintained his innocence, saying police had beaten him and made him sign a confession without knowing what it was.
Whitmore was in an out of prison several times until April 1973 when the last case against him was dismissed.
His case was cited as an example of police coercion when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 1966 ruling establishing protections for suspects like the right to remain silent.
Whitmore moved back to Wildwood, where he operated a commercial fishing boat for a time and was later disabled in a boating accident.
In addition to his daughter Regina, Whitmore is survived by three other daughters, two sons and more than 20 grandchildren.
Regina Whitmore told the Times that her father never held his ordeal against anyone.
"He was always a very sweet man with us," she said. "He wanted us to grow up happy."