As Holmes described that case: “The mayor’s secretary was murdered. Emmitt Spencer made 47 confessions of murder and was duping the police department. He said his girlfriend had killed two [people] in New Orleans to get even with her. I went to Louisiana to test Mary Catherine Hampton and found she was innocent.
“F. Lee Bailey and Gene Miller worked together to get her out of prison.’’
When awarded the prize, Miller said: “My good fortune is directly attributable to my partner, Warren D. Holmes, an honest man.’’
Phillip A. Hubbard, Pitts’ and Lee’s public defender, recalled Holmes telling him that Curtis Adams confessed to actually committing the murders.
“I was just stunned,” Hubbard recalled. “I knew these guys were not treated right but it was really shocking that someone else did it. Warren got permission from the local judge and the sheriff to see Adams, and it was the most dramatic confession I’ve ever heard.’’
Holmes “got very little money — if any — for these efforts,’’ said Hubbart, to whom Holmes gave his Pitts/Lee files.
Recently, Holmes worked pro bono to exonerate one of the “West Memphis Three,’’ Jessie Misskelley Jr. He and friends Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin were convicted as teenagers in the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Ark.
Misskelley got life plus two 20-year sentences. Holmes’ worked help free them in 2011.
Holmes believed that if an examiner stayed with it long enough, “he becomes a master at determining guilt or innocence...After 56 years of giving polygraph examinations, I believe I became the lie detector.’’
Holmes had been married since 1950 to Gloria Gjertsen Holmes, now of Conyers, Ga. Long separated, they remained close. Holmes’ sister, Virginia Sobek, of Conyers, also survives.